The important role that climate leaders and leadership play at different levels of the European Union (EU) multilevel governance system is exemplified. Initially, climate leader states set the pace with ambitious policy measures that were adopted largely on an ad hoc basis. Since the mid-1980s, the EU has developed a multilevel climate governance system that has facilitated leadership and lesson-drawing at all governance levels including the local level. The EU has become a global climate policy leader by example although it had been set up as a ‘leaderless Europe’. The resulting ‘leadership without leader’ paradox cannot be sufficiently explained merely by reference to top-level EU climate policies. Local-level climate innovations and lesson-drawing have increasingly been encouraged by the EU’s multilevel climate governance system which has become more polycentric. The recognition of economic co-benefits of climate policy measures has helped to further the EU’s climate leadership role.
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Jänicke, M., & Wurzel, R. K. (2019). Leadership and lesson-drawing in the European Union’s multilevel climate governance system. Environmental politics, 28(1), 22-42. doi:10.1080/09644016.2019.1522019.
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- Politics and Governance of the Global Energy Transition