We have just released the newest episode of our podcast, “Environmental Insights: Discussions on Policy and Practice from the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.” In this latest episode, I engage in a conversation with Jos Delbeke, currently a professor at the European University Institute in Florence and at the KU Leuven in Belgium.
Professor Delbeke is probably best known for his long service at the European Commission, including as Director-General of the Commission’s DG Climate Action from its creation in 2010 until 2018. Even before that, he was very heavily involved in the development and implementation of the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), and for several years was the European Commission’s chief negotiator at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conferences of the Parties.
In this new episode of our monthly podcast, Jos Delbeke recounts the evolution of carbon pricing in Europe and around the world, and comments on the current state of international climate change negotiations. You can listen to the interview here.
Recalling his early days working on climate policy in Europe, Delbeke says that “emissions trading was an alien idea at that time … As an economist, I followed very much how the United States was developing the sulfur experiment.”
Delbeke maintains that the EU-ETS has been very successful. “The latest statistics show that between 2005 when we started, and today … the emissions reduction is 29%, and that is for all the installations in Europe, all big installations, and the energy and the manufacturing industry. So, 29% down in less than 15 years, I think is quite remarkable when we compare it to emissions from transport that are roughly 20% up,” he states.
Delbeke believes that the emerging Chinese ETS could be transformative in the global effort to combat global warming. “Once the Chinese have their act together, I think that may serve as a source of inspiration for a lot of other nations,” he says.
Delbeke’s interview is the fifth episode in the Environmental Insights series. Previous episodes have featured conversations with:
- Gina McCarthy, former Administrator of the S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Nick Stern of the London School of Economics discussing his career, British politics, and efforts to combat climate change
- Andrei Marcu, founder and executive director of the European Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable Transition
- Paul Watkinson, Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) within the