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Evaluating Policies for Sustainable Energy Investments: towards an integrated approach on national and international stage

Final Report Summary - EPSEI (Evaluating Policies for Sustainable Energy Investments: towards an integrated approach on national and international stage)

1) Energy consumption and energy demand are predicted to grow steadily over the next few decades. The international community confronts two great challenges at once: providing secure and cheap energy supplies to meet ever-expanding needs and responding to climate change. There are a variety of national strategies to answer these needs. The impacts of the diverse national strategies on the greenhouse effect are multilevel; they range from the most state-centred to large-scale ones. The nature of the dual problems provides the basis for a review of the diverse approaches based on hierarchies of principles that entail diagonal regulatory strategies on climate change and energy security. These principles should mark the policy priorities to be followed and make it possible to more effectively integrate public laws with differing objectives, such as economic development and the environment. The globalization discourse has fragmented the traditional framework in which the policy-making role of the nation-state is inserted into the international legal system. The coexistence of national, regional and international decision-making levels can be seen to lead to sets of policies which fail to maintain internal consistency. Accordingly, studies on energy issues and studies on environmental risks need to be held together by means of a methodological integration that is able to encompass the multiscalar effect.

2) The delocalization of production appears to be the sole response to the increasing competitive pressure exerted by low-cost producers on European firms. While this delocalization has resulted in loss of employment for European citizens within the EU, it may have a corrosive impact on the core societal values both in EU and in the host country. Both public opinion and policy makers fear that international trade, in particular a further liberalization thereof, may undermine or jeopardize policies and measures on a wide variety of issues, for example, the protection the environment and the sustainable development, good governance, cultural rights, labour rights, public health, social welfare, national security, food safety, access to knowledge, consumer interests and animal welfare. There is a general consensus that these non-trade concerns, which cover very different societal aspirations and fears, must be addressed in EU external policy and in particular measures relating to international trade and foreign direct investment. There is also the expectation that the EU should act in all the international arenas to defend and keep these values at the highest level of protection. However, many of the trade measures introduced by developed countries to address non-trade concerns have been met by developing countries with cautious distrust if not with resistance or dissent. Developing countries, including China, often doubt the authenticity of such concerns that can be inspired by protectionist aims, rather than genuine non-trade concerns. Moreover, developing countries see these measures as an attempt by developed countries to impose their social, ethical or cultural values and preferences on exporting developing countries.

Given the different and sometimes opposing interests of developing and industrialized countries, one may question whether international economic law may become a fairer system. If all the countries negotiated in international fora having always in mind the general common interests of the humanity as a whole, this would be the case. Unfortunately this is not the case: this is the reason why this project is timely and necessary. Amongst the new emerging economies, China is already playing a key role in drawing new rules of the game and it is important to evaluate, without prejudice and by taking into consideration its special context, China’s behavior internally and externally to understand which direction the world is being driven in by China.

3) a) Overview of what technology transfer is and how it works.
b) The way international agreements on climate change address the issue of technology transfer.
c) The focus from the international arena to Chinese reality; analysis of the Chinese framework for technology transfer and identifies the main reasons underlying the recent technological development in the energy field.
d) Recent US-China case on wind subsidies and tries to draw some policy suggestions on possible channels to enhance technology transfer as well as indigenous technological development in a way which is consistent with international trade rules.