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Determinants of Success and Failure of Green Parties in Europe Energy industry, Environmental policy

Author Dong-Hee Joe, Youngook Jang, Hyun Jean Lee, and Hyung Jun Yoon Series 21-09 Language Korean Date 2021.12.30

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The Green Transformation that has begun before the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue to be a major economic policy of governments around the globe. Major European countries, especially the United Kingdom and Germany, along with the European Union, are at the forefront of this transformation. However, electoral outcomes of political parties focused on climate change (i.e., Green Parties) differ significantly among these cases. Analyzing the reasons of their electoral success or failure can help understanding their role in climate-change policy. This, in turn, can teach how to make climate policy sustainable in Korea where political support for Green Parties is extremely low. We review the history of Green Parties in the UK, Germany and the EU and analyze the reasons for their success or failure. The related literature considers three major reasons for the extremely low electoral outcomes of Green Parties in Korea, namely the public’s attitude, electoral system and major traditional parties’ reactions. Following this, we focus on those three factors.
To the concerned readers in Korea, the UK’s case shows, above all, that a substantial presence of Green Parties in the legislature is not a necessary condition for an active climate policy by the government. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of concrete commitments through legislation and institutionalization and wide consensus, including that of businesses, that the additional costs in the short run will result in net economic gains in the long run. The EU’s case shows that creating a platform on which interested parties of various types can actively participate in the discussion and formation of climate policy and putting more focus on “just transition” can be good starting points for achieving this consensus. For Korean Green Parties' electoral prospect per se, the German case hints at the needs to extend the scope and improve the competence of themselves.

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