D5.3 Policy Brief

4i-TRACTION (2024): Lessons for procedural climate governance in the European Union. 4i-TRACTION Policy Brief.

Lessons for procedural climate governance in the European Union

Based on cross-cutting insights from 8 case studies this policy brief explores the EU's procedural governance in the climate transition, highlighting challenges and offering policy recommendations for future action.

Procedural climate governance plays a key role in reaching climate neutrality as it shapes the decision-making process of climate measures and facilitates the required transformative action. The 4i-TRACTION project has conducted eight case studies to examine the potential of procedural governance for transformative action in the context of climate neutrality. Each of the case studies focuses on a key function of procedural governance including planning, monitoring and evaluation, participation, expert advice, access to justice and decision-making. These studies assessed mechanisms based on their effectiveness, implementation quality, and resilience to changes, revealing significant insights into the procedural governance's potential and challenges in driving climate action. Following are the key findings:

  1. Procedural governance is a crucial aspect of the EU’s transition to a low-carbon society and has become an integral part of the EU climate governance architecture.
  2. The underlying legislation allows the governance mechanisms to carry out their functions, in principle. However, barriers exist to integrating the mechanisms in the policy process, and the legislation at times provides too much flexibility which could lower their potential for transformative change.
  3. Transformative change is further hindered by the ineffective implementation of the governance mechanisms. Obligations are not always implemented, and follow-up, budget, transparency, and independence issues can create limitations resulting in a discrepancy between design and implementation.
  4. Procedural governance mechanisms can be seen as having a relatively high degree of policy resilience – the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances – due to regular revisions of relevant legislation. This offers opportunities for more transformative action in the future.
  5. Setting precise obligations, clarifying the role of the mechanisms in the policy process and providing adequate resources could help address some of the identified shortcomings.

Read the full Policy Brief here.