Camilla Bausch – cross-border climate policy cooperation

Photo: Aaron Best, Ecologic Institute

“I probably founded my first environmental NGO at the age of seven,” says Camilla Bausch with a laugh. Her interest in the environment runs through her biography: She has worked on energy and climate policy for 19 years at Ecologic Institute, which she now also heads. Back in the 1990s, when energy law was still a “real niche topic,” she found it for herself and earned her Ph.D. in law on the EU’s electricity market.

She then made a detour into the private sector at the Boston Consulting Group, with the goal of learning more about dynamics and thinking in the business sector: “In order to achieve fundamental improvements in the environmental field, the whole of society must participate, including business and industry.” Bausch therefore advocates a transdisciplinary approach to climate policy, which she also promotes as spokesperson for the Ecological Research Network (Ecornet), among other things.

The decision to join Ecologic Institute was an “act of conviction”: “From the very beginning, we at Ecologic Institute were aware that the major environmental challenges had to be solved through cross-border cooperation.” International cooperation appealed to Camilla Bausch from an early age, and she spent time abroad in the USA, Belgium and Russia.

Painful failure on US climate bill

She also follows the current developments surrounding the US legislative package, the Inflation Reduction Act, with great interest. Not least because through her work for Democratic Congressman Edward J. Markey in the wake of the Waxman-Markey Clean Energy Bill in 2008/09, she personally experienced how difficult it is to pass climate legislation in the US – and how painful when it fails.

She now sees a breakthrough in the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a $370 billion package on climate protection: “According to calculations, the US could reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 42 percent by 2030. That is already a huge step forward.” And an important signal to the international community, despite financial incentives for fossil infrastructures: With the return to the Paris Agreement and the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, the US is once again proving to be a partner with whom the EU can discuss climate policy.

At the European level, Bausch sees the Green Deal as an ambitious program that needs to be stabilized and monitored over time. To ensure that this succeeds, Bausch is working with the Think Sustainable Europe network to improve knowledge transfer, exchange and analysis of European climate policy.

True to its guiding principle “Europe grows together through cooperation,” the network includes leading environmental policy think tanks from twelve European countries: “It is important to also understand the dynamics in the individual countries and what opportunities, risks, concerns, and hopes exist there.” There it is again, the plea for cross-border approaches to solutions that runs through Bausch’s work. Marlene Resch


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