The European Union: Forerunner in Environmental Politics Essay

The European Union: Forerunner in Environmental Politics Essay

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A. INTRODUCTION
The European Union’s environmental policy is vast and complicated. It applies to every country under the Union’s domain and its criteria must be met for any state wishing to seek membership. The European Union was not the original forerunner in environmental politics; in fact the United States “took on a leadership role in preparations for the 1972 United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment” (Kelemen). However, in the 1970s (1973 to be specific) as the US pulled away from being the environmental leader the EU emerged with it’s seven ‘Environmental Action Plans’ (EAP) (Pearce). The original aim of environmental policy was very traditional, focusing on protecting species and improving the quality of life but today the underlying aim of the policy “is to enhance natural capital, provide a resource-efficient economy and safeguard people’s health” (environment). I will first open with a brief history of the environmental policy, followed by its success and failures using concrete examples and conclude with alterations or alternatives to the policy in order to make it more successful across the European Union.
B. BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
Starting with the 1972 UN Convention, environmental politics became a virus that swept across the world. The EU was subjective to this wave and began the process with six Environmental Action Programs (EAP). The first program began in 1973 and had three major points: (1) the prevention, reduction and containment of environmental damage, (2) the conservation of an ecological equilibrium, and (3) the rational use of natural resources. This was a very traditional approach and would be expanded upon in the future but at the moment it was a start for the EU. The...


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...uctions of habitats required to provide the amount of energy needed to power a nation (i.e. Germany) far out ways the benefits. Another possibility is for the EU to limit the transition from one resource to another, and carefully monitor it so that the cost of power does not dramatically raise and can be provided to all.
E. CONCLUSION

“There is no escaping the fact that Europe and its environment also face some serious global challenges. These include an increase world population, growing middle classes with high consumptions rates, rapid economic growth in emerging economies, constantly rising energy demands and intensified global competition for resources. Most of these are outside [EU] influence, but the EU can nonetheless help other countries move towards more sustainable development by promoting more effective environmental governance globally.” (environment)

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