PhD studentship: Negotiating the European 2030 Energy Policy: is austerity an option?


Supervisors:  Professor Catherine Mitchell and Dr Matthew Lockwood

We are inviting applications for this EPSRC funded PhD studentship to commence as soon as possible. For eligible students the award will cover UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend (in 2013/14 this will be £13,726 for full-time students, pro rata for part-time students) and research costs for three years for students who meet the eligibility requirements outlined by EPSRC (see Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Students from outside of the EU would not be eligible for this award.

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding. Studentships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

Successful applicants will be based within Geography (Cornwall campus, near Falmouth) at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter.

European energy policy is the driver of Member States (MS) energy policies. The key European Union energy policy is the so-called 20-20-20 policy: to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20%; to provide 20% of energy from renewable energy; and a 20% improvement in European energy efficiency, and all by 2020. Discussions of a 2030 target are already underway with the green groups and ‘green’ countries arguing for 50-40-30. Other countries, such as the UK, have strong arguments against renewable energy and energy efficiency targets, primarily for austerity reasons.

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Energy is the most highly capitalized sector in Europe and changes to its policy are highly political. The negotiations and discussions behind the 2030 policy is no exception. There is a great deal of lobbying being undertaken at the moment – both by green groups and those which wish to keep the energy system (and its practices (ie technologies, business models, user preferences and interaction, infrastructure) the same. An intellectually rigorous examination of the negotiating process, and its links to the stated goals of UK and European energy policy should provide useful lessons for the increasingly demanding climate change mitigation process. UK, Poland and Denmark comparator countries provide arguments from three EC positions on future climate change policies – more or less covering all issues.

This project would: 1. Explore the various technological scenarios to meeting CO2 reduction targets, for Europe, Britain and 2 comparator countries, and who / what are the winner and losers of the various EC policies ie 50-40-30 versus for example 30-30-30. 2. Explore the negotiating position of UK and 2 comparator countries. 3. Assess what impacts an austerity energy policy (ie reduced expenditure on energy) would have directly on climate change emissions, and indirectly on the comparator country’s energy policy goals. 4. Make recommendations for the EU target levels. 

You must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a relevant subject. An understanding of the energy policy system and/or of European policy would help.

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The closing date for applications is midnight on 8th September 2013.

For full project details, instructions on how to apply and a link to the application form, click on the Apply link below.

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