Rhein on Energy and Climate

Traditionally, one Commissioner has been responsible for all environmental issues, and another one for energy issues. This division of portfolios was perfectly adequate before climate change became the all-encompassing policy issue for both energy and environmental policies. In the recent past, the division of competences has not been propitious, leading to in-house fights between “climate freaks” and “energy technicians” on the proper policies to be pursued.
In the future, energy and climate will become ever more closely intertwined. We therefore need a holistic approach to achieve a smooth transition to a low- carbon society.
In such an organisational structure, the Commissioner in charge of energy and climate policy would bear the overall responsibility – domestically and internationally – for all aspects of energy demand and supply management.
The Commission would still need a Commissioner for Environment Policy, who would deal with all non-climate related environmental issues, like air and water quality, biodiversity, noise levels, water management etc.

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