Conscious uncoupling: European energy and climate policy in a post-Brexit world

Brexit will mean unravelling a tangle of climate and energy policy. Robert Hodgson investigates the future of both after one of the EU’s leading proponents of energy market integration leaves the union

Night view of the EU from space. Photograph: Capitanoseye/Shutterstock

Brexit comes at a time of increasing integration of European energy markets, which has been driven by the UK. Photograph: Capitanoseye/Shutterstock

While Britain and European media were focusing on the difficulties of getting past preliminary Brexit talks and onto the nuts and bolts of future trade relations, not to mention fractious posturing within UK government ranks, a back-room deal in Brussels at the end of November produced what was arguably Brexit’s first tangible political compromise. At issue was the EU’s flagship climate policy instrument, the EU emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).

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