Évolutions, limites et perspectives
Edited By Michel Catala, Stanislas Jeannesson and Anne-Sophie Lamblin Gourdin
Thomas Hoerber - The formation of a European environmental conscience
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Thomas HOERBER, ESSCA Angers
The formation of a European environmental conscience
The main argument of this article is that a European environmental conscience has developed through successive steps of European integration in energy policy. This environmental conscience is not particular to Europe. In the 1960s–70s, the whole world was slowly beginning to realise that environment degradation was not sustainable. However, a European environmental conscience was reflected in the European institutions, which have been developing in parallel to such growing environmental concerns. The Commission, for example, incorporated both energy and environmental policies into the EU policy canon and hence built an institutional framework, which could answer to the growing environmental conscience of the European peoples, for which national policy answers were evidently not sufficient. With phenomena such as acid rain, it became clear that pollution did not stop at national boundaries. Acid rain was one of the first environmental issues with a European dimension, in this case between Great Britain and Sweden, i.e. pollution caused in one country are causing environment degradation in another country.
Similar conclusions had been drawn even earlier for the energy sector. Energy shortage in Europe was common to all nation states and it was a concern too big to be solved by any single one of them. The European integration process, therefore, was founded on energy communities, such as the ECSC and Euratom. They were meant to pool the scarce energy resource available in Europe, such...
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