25 Sep 2020, 16:18
  • Sven
    Sven Egenter heads the Clean Energy Wire as Editor in Chief and Executive Director.
  • Julian
    Julian Wettengel is a staff Correspondent for the Clean Energy Wire.

Disentangle the EU energy transition: Clean Energy Wire goes Europe

Photo shows EU flags. Source: European Union.
Photo: European Union.
The EU has set out to drive the energy transition. The European "Green Deal" stands at the centre of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's policy plans, while other major regional blocs across the globe show little willingness to take decisive action. EU member states' national energy systems are becoming increasingly interlinked, and thus national decisions (or lack thereof) have implications well beyond their own borders. That is why Clean Energy Wire has decided to "go Europe". As trusted guides to the German energy transition, the team will widen its scope and increasingly support journalists from around the world to deliver top-notch reporting on European climate and energy policy. On the menu: For starters, a series of pandemic-friendly web events – in cooperation with our partners at the European Climate Foundation and Ecologic Institute – on key issues such as raising the 2030 climate target; a timeline of reporting events and developments; and soon also an expert database to help you find the right interview partners throughout the continent.

For more than five years, we at the Clean Energy Wire have worked tirelessly to support journalists from across the globe in reporting on the energy transition in Germany. The “Energiewende” has served as a case study for the necessary steps to move to a climate-neutral economy.

Colleagues and partner institutions have also long been pushing us to look beyond Germany. The support requests we get frequently seek ideas or contacts on energy policy and business topics on a European or even global level. Our recent user survey showed again: For many fellow journalists (and other readers), extending our offering to a European level could be a significant help.

The case for looking beyond borders has never been stronger: Germany’s climate and energy policy is firmly rooted within that of the EU. With the presentation of the new European Commission’s Green Deal policy programme in 2019, climate action has become a number one priority for the union, with the goal of becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The reporting about European policy may look complete for an inside circle of experts. But media and broader public (and many domestic politicians, officials and business representatives) in member states and the rest of the world often have little understanding of how Brussels operates and how the interplay with domestic energy and climate policies work. EU (and other transnational) proceedings remain opaque, difficult to research and are often hampered by language barriers. Fewer and fewer media can afford correspondents in Brussels, let alone in every EU country.

Clean Energy Wire now wants to provide an offer to journalists that makes research of transnational, cross-border or EU-level stories easier, and increases access to institutions, players and experts needed for strong energy transition stories.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has made in-person meetings and journalists study tours all but impossible, we start with a series of web events over the coming months – deep dives on key issues, providing up-to-date insights on top European climate and energy events such as leaders’ meetings, as well as providing the basics on how European decision-making works. Finally, we will host informal talks with colleagues to exchange experiences, tips and tricks or just a bit of gossip out of the capitals.

For the first round of web events, we will team up with the European Climate Foundation and Ecologic Institute, our trusted partners with whom we already ran a successful journalist research tour on the inner workings of the European Union in December 2019.

With the help of our network of energy transition journalists, we aim to make reporting on European energy and climate policy easier. To this end, we flag key reporting events and developments with a timeline, including concise background information necessary to jump-start coverage. We are working to include energy and climate experts, relevant institutions and researchers from across the continent in our database to ease the hunt for the right person to speak to.

Hopefully, this is only the start to a journey to become the reporter’s guides to the European energy transition.


Web event series starts in October

Our first events will take place in October. We’ll be looking at plans to raise the EU’s 2030 climate target and the climate-friendliness of coronavirus crisis recovery spending.

13 October: Setting the bar for others to follow? – Talks on raising EU 2030 climate target enter crucial phase

Ahead of the meeting of EU heads of state and government – the European Council – on 15-16 October and the Environment Council one week later, Clean Energy Wire invites experts to lay out the current state of discussions on raising the EU’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target. They will supply background journalists need to report on this defining issue of the German EU Council presidency. Is the divide between those who focus on economic concerns and those who call for more ambition too wide, or is an agreement among member states within reach? What happens once governments find a compromise? Does the European Parliament – often calling for more ambition than the Council or the Commission – get a say?

27th October: Deep dive: How green are the EU’s coronavirus recovery plans?

We will take a closer look at the proposed 750-billion-euro recovery plan “Next Generation EU” and the 1074.3-billion-euro long-term EU budget for 2021-2027, which European Union leaders decided in July. Where do negotiations with the European Parliament stand and what share of the money is earmarked for climate-friendly spending?


This is just to get started, of course. Over the coming months we will also be looking at other issues of key importance for journalists covering European energy and climate. CLEW will provide the basics on how Europe functions:

The interplay between European and national climate policy

How is EU energy and climate policy made?

The European Green Deal as a driver for global energy transitions


And we will take a more in-depth look and highlight some of the most talked-about topics of 2020/21:

Deep dive: Making the most of Europe's renewables potential

Europe's role in driving global climate ambition in 2021

Deep dive: Options and effects of a carbon border tax

Deep dive: Decarbonising industry: Can the EU take the lead on technology?

Deep dive: Instruments and measures for the EU to reach its new 2030 target

Deep Dive: Making a living the climate-friendly way: Green jobs in Europe

Deep Dive: Feeding 450 million citizens in a climate- and biodiversity-friendly way

Deep Dive: Financing the energy transition - the role of big finance

Deep Dive: European efforts to decarbonise passenger transport

Journalism for the energy transition

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