The Territorial Agenda of the European Union: Progress for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation?
Fischer, Thomas B., Sykes, Olivier, The Town Planning Review
The Territorial Agenda of the European Union (Territorial Agenda) document agreed by EU Member States at Leipzig in May 2007 aims at strengthening territorial cohesion in Europe and supporting the growth and jobs and sustainable development objectives of the EU's Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies. It seeks to foster and reconcile sustainable economic growth and job creation, as well as social and ecological development in all EU regions. In light of these aspirations, this article assesses: whether the Territorial Agenda document can be considered to represent progress for climate change mitigation and adaptation when its policy goals are set against the climate change dimensions of its predecessor document, the European Spatial Development Perspective; the evidence and impacts of climate change in Europe; and the EU's wider evolving policy response to climate change. It concludes that the Territorial Agenda can be seen to indicate some progress in the treatment of climate change, even if the territorial cohesion thinking and spatial model that underpin the document continue to be viewed, it seems, primarily as prerequisites for achieving a European social model which aims to couple sustainable economic growth with the achievement of social and economic cohesion.
The 'Territorial Agenda of the European Union: Towards a More Competitive and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions' (Territorial Agenda) was agreed by EU Member States at Leipzig, Germany, in May 2007 as a non-binding statement of principles intended to inform sustainable territorial development across the EU. The Territorial Agenda builds on the earlier European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) document, adopted in 1999 (CEC, 1999), and can in many respects be seen as a successor to this document (Faludi, 2007a). The Territorial Agenda aims at strengthening territorial cohesion in Europe and supporting the economic, jobs and sustainable development objectives of the EU's Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies. Its stated goal is to contribute to and reconcile 'sustainable economic growth and job creation as well as social and ecological development in all EU regions' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 23). The document acknowledges that Europe is facing 'major new territorial challenges today and that these include the regionally diverse impacts of climate change on the EU territory and its neighbours' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 25). An emphasis on climate change is also to be found in the background document, which was produced to provide an evidence-base for the process of preparing the Territorial Agenda (the Territorial States and Perspectives of the European Union, TSPEU). In the foreword to this document, the German Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Wolfgang Tiefensee, notes that 'climate change is identified as the first challenge to the regions and cities of Europe' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007b, 3). The TSPEU states that 'the impacts of climate change are of increasing importance for European regional economies and their need to adapt' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007b, 21-22), and the term 'climate change' appears 26 times across the document's 80 pages (in comparison with the term 'competitiveness', which is mentioned 25 times).
In light of the stated aspirations of the Territorial Agenda, this article assesses whether its policy orientations can be considered to represent progress for climate change mitigation and adaptation when these are set against: the evidence and impacts of climate change in Europe; the climate change dimensions of the earlier ESDP; and the EU's wider evolving policy response to climate change.
The article is structured as follows. The following section outlines the approach and measures adopted in relation to climate change in the ESDP. Attention is given to debates surrounding the spatial development model and priorities espoused by the ESDP and the European spatial planning agenda of the 1990s and early 2000s. A particular emphasis is placed on arguments surrounding the relative emphasis that the latter placed on securing territorial and EU competitiveness, social and economic cohesion, and environmental sustainability.
The following section outlines the current relevance and timeliness of the topic of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the European governance context for acting on these policy goals. Documents such as the European Commission's green paper on 'Adapting to Climate Change in Europe: Options for EU Action' (which makes reference to spatial planning) and the Commission Communication on 'Europe's climate change opportunity' of January 2008 are relevant here in setting the wider context of EU climate change policy within which the Territorial Agenda's treatment of climate change mitigation and adaptation is situated.
Subsequently, the Territorial Agenda document of 2007 is introduced and discussed. Both the climate change policy rhetoric of the document, and the potential substantive implications of the principle and spatial model of territorial cohesion (a term which has been used for over a decade now, without having received a consistent definition) which underpin the Territorial Agenda, are considered in terms of climate change impacts (the main focus being on transport-related energy use).
Finally, some conclusions are drawn on whether the Territorial Agenda and the territorial cohesion model it promotes can be considered to represent progress for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Debating the balance between the ecological, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development in European spatial development policy
The process of collective reflection on spatial development issues in Europe by European Community Member States dates back to the late 1980s. Different Member States contributed in different ways and to differing degrees to the emergence of this intergovernmental cooperation, which from 1993 was increasingly directed to the production of a document to provide an overarching statement of principles to inform spatial development in Europe. This document - the Schéma de développement de l'éspace communautaire (SDEC) - came to be known in English as the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP), and was finally agreed in 1999 at Potsdam in Germany. Faludi and Waterhout (2002) provide an account of the making of the ESDP in which they detail the complex process of producing the document and emphasise the intricacies of transnational policy-making and the gradual emergence of an 'epistemic community' of European spatial planners. The rest of this section seeks to provide a baseline against which to compare the treatment of climate change in the Territorial Agenda by considering its treatment in the ESDP.
Following the publication of the ESDP in 1999 (CEC, 1999), different views emerged on its environmental credentials. The document was criticised in some quarters for focusing too heavily on economic competitiveness and GDP (gross domestic product) growth, to the detriment of environmental and social issues (Jensen and Richardson, 2004). Generally speaking, and in keeping with the 1999 Amsterdam Treaty on European Union, the ESDP's main focus was on economic competitiveness and GDP growth, as well as on social justice (Roberts, 2003). The ESDP explicitly introduced a spatial model of polycentricity for Europe which, though subsequently subject to a range of different interpretations, has proved to be one its most enduring influences on spatial planning thinking and practice (Baudelle and Castagnède, 2002; Meijers et al., 2007; Shaw and Sykes, 2004; Waterhout, 2002). Yet Richardson and Jensen (2000; 2001) also identified contested spatial logics for Europe within the ESDP and emerging transnational spatial visions, and suggested that economic concerns and the competitiveness agenda had been privileged at the expense of social and environmental concerns (see also Jensen and Jorgensen, 2000).
The emerging policy field of European spatial planning, it was argued, was promulgating a 'spatially homogenising' discourse of 'frictionless mobility' (Jensen and Richardson, 2004, 31), and a vision of a competitiveness-oriented 'monotopia' (Jensen and Richardson, 2004) for Europe. This vision was seen to privilege territorial competitiveness, and as being intimately related to fundamental questions about the nature, values and ultimate purposes of the European project, surrounding issues such as competitiveness versus environmental sustainability, and social and spatial equity, and 'reimagining European territorial identity' (Jensen, 2002, 105-19). In particular, its approach to environmental issues (including climate change) was seen as reflecting a wider tendency in EU approaches to environmental protection and integration towards an 'ecological modernisation' approach (Jensen and Richardson, 2004), which looked mainly towards technological innovation and institutional reform to address environmental problems, in a manner similar to the thinking articulated by Joseph Huber's works in the early 1980s (see Mol and Sonnenfeld, 2000, for a summary of these).
The ESDP discussed climate change and referred to the greenhouse effect, and stated that 'spatial development policy can make an important contribution to climate protection through energy-saving from traffic-reducing settlement structures and locations' (CEC, 1999, 31). Mention was also made of CO2-neutral energy sources and sustainable forest management, and an overarching sustainability 'magic triangle' (see Figure 1) was presented as the basis for achieving a reconciliation of the spatial policy objectives of economic (GDP) growth, social equity and environmental protection. Several commentators, however, subsequently criticised this approach, claiming that it was 'riven by internal contradictions' (Jensen and Richardson, 2004, 226).
The ESDP was also criticised for promoting a vision of European territorial development that would result in increased hyper-mobility and associated substantial negative environmental consequences, including energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In particular, the road network suggested by the trans-European transport networks (or TEN-Ts) was subject to some fierce criticism from environmentalists. For some there seemed to be an obvious incompatibility between this and the ESDP's promotion of energy-saving from traffic-reducing settlement structures and locations. Though this kind of contradiction between transport and spatial planning policies was not unique to the ESDP (see, for example, Vickerman, 2004), for some it seemed to be at odds with the integrated spatial development policy approach that the document was ostensibly seeking to promote.
Other less critical voices, however, pointed out how a sustainability discourse had actually 'successfully penetrated' the ESDP and suggested that the document demonstrated 'great concern about ecologically sensitive areas, which in the densely populated EU are often being threatened by urban development' (Waterhout, 2007, 37-59). The ESDP was also credited with contributing to a revival in strategic spatial planning in many European countries and regions (see Town and Country Planning Association, 2006; Sykes and Shaw, 2005). Equally, it was argued that although the ESDP (like many other spatial strategies) did contain manifest contradictions between the different dimensions of sustainability it sought to promote, it did not originate these. Rather, the ESDP served as reminder of the great problems and the value choices that arise when attempting to blend and balance the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development. In order to respond to the territorial manifestation of these, the ESDP also promoted the use of territorial impact assessment (TIA) as a means of taking into account the territorial impacts of different policy and development choices and assessing the spatial impacts of largescale projects and investments. To date, this technique has mainly been developed within the context of the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) evaluation studies.1
The emergence of the policy field of European spatial development policy was therefore characterised by debates about the focus of, and values furthered, by documents such as the ESDP. As indicated above, one of the areas of debate surrounded the environmental credentials of the spatial development principles promoted by the document. In the ten years since the agreement of the ESDP, climate change has risen up policy agendas in many countries and regions of the world. The successor documents to the ESDP, such as the Territorial Agenda, have been prepared against this backdrop. The following section therefore provides an overview of the mounting evidence in relation to climate change and the context for mitigation and adaptation actions in response to it in Europe, before the article turns its attention to the treatment of climate change in the Territorial Agenda.
Climate change: the evidence and context for mitigation and adaptation actions in Europe
Climate change has occupied an exposed position in the media globally in recent years. This is the result of a number of factors: for example, recurring extreme weather events and the growing degree of scientific evidence and consensus that human activity is changing the climate. In 2007, for example, the UK witnessed the wettest May, June and July since records began more than 240 years ago, and Greece experienced the hottest summer for a century. Although the links between such events and the wider phenomenon of global warming are complex and contested in some quarters, they have drawn attention to the need to prepare for, and adapt to, the effects of climate change in the face of what the UK government has called the 'compelling scientific consensus that human activity is changing the world's climate' (DCLG, 2007, 8). Interest and concern about the implications of climate change have also been fuelled by increasing scientific evidence on the likelihood of global climate change provided, for example, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UK government's Stern Review on the economics of climate change (Stern, 2007). A joint report by the European Environmental Agency, the European Commission and the World Health Organization (2008, 11) has recently assessed the impacts of climate change in Europe, using an indicator-based analysis to 'identify the sectors and regions most vulnerable to climate change with a need for adaptation'.
One way of interpreting the current rise of climate change as a topic and theme of policy-makers' and academic attention draws on Anthony Downs's (1972) five-stage 'issue-attention cycle' of public and policy-makers' interest. Using this, it appears that, in relation to the issue of climate change, we are now clearly past Stage 1 of the cycle (the 'pre-problem stage'), and arguably within Stage 2 ('alarmed discovery and euphoric enthusiasm', which occurs when a dramatic series of events means that the public suddenly becomes 'alarmed about the evils of a particular problem'; Downs, 1972, 39). We thus appear currently to be at a particularly crucial point in relation to societal awareness of, and potential response to, climate change that might constitute what Kingdon (1995) describes as a window of opportunity for action. What is undeniable is that the currently available scientific evidence is quite compelling and overwhelming in identifying climate change as a serious global threat that demands an urgent and comprehensive global response, including technological advances, behavioural changes, and sensible policies, plans, programmes and project-making at all levels in all sectors. The findings of the Stern Review, for example, suggest that in a business-as-usual scenario, by the middle of the century the effects of climate change could have led to a 20 per cent reduction in global consumption or GDP (Stern, 2007). Other, non-economic impacts are also identified: for example, an estimated extinction of 40 per cent in all species globally if a 2°C global temperature rise occurs. Mitigation measures for stabilising CO2 emissions at around 500 to 550 parts per million (ppm, which implies a cut in CO2 emissions of 25 per cent by 2050) are estimated to cost 'only' around 1 per cent of global GDP. An analysis of the impacts of climate change on specific parts of the globe has also been conducted; an issue addressed too by the European Commission green paper on 'Adapting to Climate Change in Europe' (CEC, 2007a). The latter document drew on an IPCC special report on emissions scenarios, which was subsequently cited by the European Commission Joint Research Centre's PESETA study (CEC, 2007b), to present maps showing the costs of putting, or not putting, adaptation measures for expected sea-level rises into place (CEC, 2007, 7-8). These were compared for two scenarios: higher versus lower potential sea-level rise. The findings indicated that the damage caused is predicted to be many times higher in the absence of adequate adaptation measures.
As the relative costs of expected damage and those associated with enacting adequate mitigation and adaptation measures become more apparent, it might therefore appear plausible to assume that policy-makers and populations would become more prepared to act now. The European Environment Agency, European Commission and World Health Organization report mentioned above (2008, 15) argues that 'adaptation involves all levels of decision-making, from municipalities to international organisations', and that 'it is a cross-sectoral and transboundary issue that requires comprehensive integrated approaches'. The development of effective adaptation responses is therefore a complex process which will require sustained collaboration between different scales and agencies of governance.
The possibility also exists that - as has been the case with numerous other social and environmental problems - the realisation of the costs of significant progress in tackling the problem of climate change, even if much smaller than the potential damage, may lead to a gradual decline of intense public, and subsequently policymakers', interest.
Climate change as a political issue may thus begin to move into Stage 3 of Downs's cycle: 'realising the cost of significant progress'. This occurs when there is a 'gradually spreading realisation that the cost of "solving" the problem is very high indeed', and that 'really doing so would not only take a great deal of money but would also require major sacrifices by large groups in the population' (Downs, 1972, 39-40). Despite the Stern Review's findings that 'the costs of damage from future climate change vastly outweigh the costs of tackling it now, and the earlier we start the cheaper it will be' (Brown, 2008, 3), the experience of previous cycles of interest in ecological issues suggests that a sustained focus by politicians and populations on the issue of climate change cannot be taken for granted. The issue of climate change fatigue among the public and stakeholders has recently been debated in some quarters, with a mixed picture emerging from different polls and surveys (see, for example, Society Guardian, 2008). The findings of a recent Ipsos MORI poll in the UK suggest that a majority of the British public doubt the causes of climate change, and that many people indicate that they do not want to restrict their lifestyles, with only a small minority believing that they need to make significant and radical changes such as driving and flying less (Society Guardian, 2008). In contrast, a recent Guardian/ICM poll suggested that concern about climate change is still high among the UK population, in comparison with concern related to the economy (Porritt, 2008, 5).
Given the mixed evidence that is currently available on the sustainability of societal interest in, and commitment to addressing, climate change, and Downs's propositions regarding the trajectory of environmental issues as matters of public and policy-maker attention, a persuasive case might be mounted that the current period is a window of opportunity for concerted societal and political action to address the challenges posed by anthropogenic climate change. Spatial planning is one of the policy sectors through which societies can pursue such a response, including mitigation and adaptation measures, and the potential contribution of spatial planning to meeting the challenges posed by climate change has been much discussed among planning academics and practitioners in recent years (see, for example, Fleischhauer and Bornefeld, 2006; Wilson, 2006; Blakely, 2007; Donaghy, 2007; While, 2008). Informed by this, the following section reflects on how far the challenges posed by climate change are taken into account by European spatial planning, and specifically the extent to which the Territorial Agenda provides an adequate framework for mitigating and adapting to the territorial dimensions of these. The manner in which climate change is dealt with in the Territorial Agenda is considered, as is the issue of whether this can be considered to indicate progress in the handling of climate change when compared with the way that European spatial planning addressed this issue in the early 2000s.
The Territorial Agenda for the European Union
In 2007, EU ministers for spatial planning and development met at Leipzig to agree two documents intended to act as statements of principle to guide territorial and urban development in the EU: the Territorial Agenda of the European Union and the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, c). This section considers whether the policy orientations of the new territorial and urban development agendas can be seen to represent progress in terms of how they address the issue of climate change.
An initial observation is that the main Territorial Agenda document is much thinner than the ESDP, consisting of 11 pages compared to the earlier document, which was over 80 pages in length.2 However, it is based on the earlier, more voluminous European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) informed background document, the 'Territorial State and Perspectives of the European Union' (TSPEU) (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007b), which sought to apply an evidence-based approach to the analysis of territorial trends in Europe and the formulation of appropriate policy orientations in response to these (Faludi and Waterhout, 2006). Other background maps and information were also used in the reflections leading up to the agreement of the document, including those produced by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, which organised the Leipzig meeting (German Presidency of the European Union, 2007). A number of these aimed to contribute to the development of a basic understanding of the potential changes to Europe's climate in coming decades and to reflect on what adaptation measures might be needed. For example, maps were included on changes in temperatures and precipitation across Europe by the end of the twenty-first century (see German Presidency of the European Union, 2007, 30-31).
Other background maps produced to support the dialogue surrounding the agreement and implementation of the Territorial Agenda also give an impression of the issues that adaptation measures will need to address. These include natural hazards, all of which can be associated with global climate change. Issues covered included a 'high probability of winter storms', a 'high or very high forest fire potential', a 'risk of avalanches' and 'flood endangered settlement areas' (considering flood potential and share of artificial areas) (see German Presidency of the European Union, 2007, 23).
The final Territorial Agenda document is structured around four main parts. Part I introduces the 'future task' of strengthening territorial cohesion in Europe. Here, and in keeping with the objectives set out in the original (2000) and renewed (2005) EU Lisbon strategy for jobs and growth, and the 2001 Gothenburg EU Sustainable Development Strategy (renewed in 2006), the focus is on contributing to a Europe that is culturally, socially, environmentally and economically sustainable, and on promoting territorial solidarity.
Part II identifies 'new challenges' for the EU, with a focus on 'strengthening regional identities', and 'making better use of territorial diversity'. The first of six 'major new territorial challenges' is identified as being the 'regionally diverse impacts of climate change on the EU territory and its neighbours, particularly with regard to sustainable development', with the second being 'rising energy prices, energy inefficiency and different territorial opportunities for new forms of energy supply' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 25). Here, it is highlighted that: 'every region and city may, through their engagement, contribute to saving energy and to its decentralised supply and to mitigating climate change, for example, by supporting the development of low or zero-emission settlements, developing potential new renewable sources of energy supply and promoting energy efficiency, particularly of the building stock', and argued that: 'Our cities and regions need to become more resilient in the context of climate change' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 26). The Leipzig Charter of Sustainable European Cities, adopted at the same meeting as the Territorial Agenda, also states that a 'well designed and planned urban development can provide a low carbon way of accommodating growth, improv[ing] environmental quality and reduc[ing] carbon emissions' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 13). The Leipzig Charter also calls for the development of efficient and affordable public transport in deprived neighbourhoods, and for transport planning and traffic management in such areas to aim to reduce the negative impacts of transport on the environment, while securing better integration of these neighbourhoods into cities and regions.
In Part III of the Territorial Agenda, six 'territorial priorities for the development of the EU' are identified, namely:
1. the strengthening of polycentric development and innovation through networking of city regions and cities;
2. the promotion of new forms of partnership and territorial governance between rural and urban areas;
3. the promotion of regional clusters of competition and innovation in Europe;3
4. the strengthening and extension of trans-European networks;
5. the promotion of trans-European risk management, encompassing the impacts of climate change; and
6. the strengthening of ecological structures and cultural resources.
Section IV of the Territorial Agenda deals with the implementation of the six territorial priorities. It asks European institutions for support, expresses a commitment by the 27 ministers to pursue spatial planning that takes into account the priorities of the Territorial Agenda, and outlines joint activities that European ministers will pursue to promote its implementation. Of relevance to this article, the ministers state that as a first step in their joint activities promoting the implementation of the Territorial Agenda, and following on from the spring European Council meeting of 2007, they commit themselves to contributing to a 'sustainable and integrated climate and energy policy in the EU' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 10). More recently, the EU ministers also agreed a joint statement as a contribution to the discussions surrounding the green paper on 'Adapting to Climate Change in Europe' at their meeting in the Azores in November 2007 (European Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007d). This restates that climate change is one of the most important new challenges facing the European territory, and re-emphasises the Territorial Agenda's message that cities and regions need to become more resilient in the context of climate change. The role of spatial planning and development in taking into account and contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation measures is also stressed, and the ministers commit themselves to highlighting the importance of the territorial dimensions of climate change at the national and European levels.
Therefore, it is clear that within the Territorial Agenda process and document, climate change is portrayed as a challenge that will have various impacts. As noted above, climate change as a term is referred to in the TSPEU (the main background document to the agenda) 26 times. In contrast, the ESDP only mentioned climate change once, with the 'greenhouse effect' being mentioned five times. The policy rhetoric being articulated in the new Territorial Agenda certainly therefore appears to indicate an increase in the attention that is being paid to the issue of climate change, as compared to the treatment of the issue in the earlier document. Returning to the ideas of Downs (1972) and Kingdon (1995) discussed earlier, the apparent rise of climate change as an issue of concern on the European territorial/spatial policy agenda can be seen as an instance of a particular policy problem moving through a cycle in which the issues to which policy-makers pay attention evolve over time. When a particular point in such a cycle is reached, a Kingdonian window of opportunity may open for concerted policy responses to be developed which address a particular socioeconomic or environmental ill. When thinking about the treatment of climate change in the Territorial Agenda in these terms, it is interesting to note Faludi's (2007a, 10) assessment that during the Territorial Agenda process, climate change is a topic that has received 'ever-increasing levels of emphasis, due among other things to the volume of media attention given to the topic, with the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth discussed during at least one of the meetings'.
Having considered the treatment of climate change in the Territorial Agenda and its policy orientations, the article now reflects on the possible climate change implications of the document and the territorial cohesion model that underpins it.
Reflecting on the climate change implications of the Territorial Agenda and the territorial cohesion objective
As noted above, the Territorial Agenda's policy goals are firmly rooted in the concept of territorial cohesion, which the EU Reform (or Lisbon) Treaty, signed by Member States in 2007, makes into an objective of the EU alongside economic and social cohesion as a shared competence of the EU and its Member States. Despite the stalling of the ratification process following the rejection of the treaty by voters in Eire in June 2008,4 the European Commission produced a green paper on 'Territorial Cohesion: Turning Diversity into Strength' in October 2008, and launched a debate designed to contribute towards a (more) common interpretation of the concept (CEC, 2008a).
The concept of territorial cohesion
Territorial cohesion has been defined as 'a goal of spatial equity that tends to favour development-in-place over selective migration to locations of greater opportunity' (Carbonell, 2007). Commentators such as Faludi (2007b, x) have suggested that this model can be compared and contrasted with the US model of economic and social development, where selective migration to locations of greater opportunity plays a greater role. An important assumption, which underpins the notion of territorial cohesion, is articulated in the third EU Report on Economic and Social Cohesion, which argues that 'people should not be disadvantaged by wherever they happen to live or work in the Union' (CEC, 2004, 27). It is of particular importance, therefore, that in line with established EU policy, the Territorial Agenda still places great emphasis on solidarity between European territories, particularly through the instrument of EU Structural Fund support to disadvantaged regions; in 2007, cohesion funds totalled ?45.5 billion, representing roughly 36 per cent of the EU budget. This demonstrates the continued importance that is attached to addressing issues of territorial equality of opportunity in Europe.
An increasingly important goal of EU regional policy is also to seek to ensure that the diverse potential (or 'territorial capital') of different territories in Europe is mobilised in the interests of enhancing the competitiveness of Europe's regions and nations and the EU as a whole. As Tatzberger (2003, 18) notes, as well as focusing on the territorial dimensions of policies and better tailoring these to the specific needs of different territories, territorial cohesion also represents an evolution of cohesion policy away from a purely redistributive logic of making transfer payments to poorer areas to reduce regional economic development disparities, to an emphasis on the 'optimal use of potentials of territorial units throughout Europe'. It therefore reflects the idea of the 'European model of society understood to foster competitiveness whilst keeping in mind concerns for social welfare, good governance and sustainability' (Tatzberger, 2008, 106). The diverse interpretations and interests that are subsumed within the territorial cohesion concept are stressed by Waterhout (2007), who identifies four main 'storylines' that underpin it: 'Europe in balance', 'coherent European policy', 'competitive Europe' and 'green and clean Europe'. For Waterhout, writing in 2007 (p.50), the last of these can be seen as being 'in the background', and currently, the 'Europe in balance' storyline - with its focus on addressing regional development disparities and fostering spatial equality of opportunity - is the most influential. He also alludes to the possibility that the 'competitive Europe' storyline, with its emphasis on territories making the most of their territorial capital to 'autodevelop' themselves, might in time come to challenge this dominance.
It is clear, therefore, that the territorial cohesion concept is subject to different interpretations, and might be invoked by different interests in support of different values. As the EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Danuta Hübner, has acknowledged, the concept is 'subject to a variety of different definitions and systems of implementation' (Hübner, 2008, 7). This reality was recognised by the launch of a consultation process on the meaning of the concept and the manner of its implementation following the publication of the green paper on territorial cohesion in October 2008 (CEC, 2008a). The European Commission is currently (March 2009) analysing the responses to this. Rather like the concept of sustainable development, territorial cohesion can therefore be seen as being composed of different dimensions, one of which is an environmental storyline (green and clean Europe). The question, as attempts are made to implement the Territorial Agenda and work towards 'one common interpretation' of territorial cohesion (Hübner, 2008, 7), is how far balance between the dimensions is strived towards and achieved.
The emphasis on different dimensions of territorial cohesion and development in Europe can be traced across the different spheres of the territorial policy field, such as the generation of evidence to substantiate the policy prescriptions of documents such as the Territorial Agenda. In light of this, it is interesting to note, given the concerns of this article, that the first ESPON programme (which ran from 2002 to 2006 and informed the Territorial Agenda and TSPEU) seems to have been less focused on environmental issues than on economic and social issues. The growing emphasis on the territorial dimensions of climate change is, however, reflected by new ESPON 2013 programme, in which a specific call for work on climate change and territorial effects on regions and local economies was launched in summer 2008. Furthermore, in 2006 the ESPON atlas (Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning et al., 2006) - which provides a 'synoptic and comprehensive overview of the findings of the ESPON projects' - already featured maps showing potential future CO2 emissions for inter-urban traffic in 2030 (based on qualitative predictions) for three European development scenarios: business as usual, cohesion and competitiveness. However, an assumption in this exercise was that in the cohesion scenario, policies would not focus on global competitiveness. Given current EU policy intentions (e.g., the over-arching 'Lisbon strategy', which aims to make the EU into the world's most competitive knowledge- based economy), this is very hard to imagine. In any case, overall, both cohesion and competitiveness scenarios show much higher CO2 emissions than a business-asusual scenario. It is clear, therefore, that the interpretation and emphasis that is given through territorial policy-making and investment decisions to territorial cohesion and its different constituent elements is likely to be a significant factor in how far the territorial policy agenda contributes to the EU's response to the challenges posed by climate change. It is also necessary to think more specifically about the climate change implications of the spatial development model promoted by the Territorial Agenda, and the territorial cohesion concept that underpins it. Some of the potential substantive implications of the spatial dimensions of these for climate change mitigation, focusing mainly on mobility and transport, are considered below.
Potential climate change implications of the territorial cohesion agenda and spatial model
In scalar terms, territorial cohesion is commonly held to have three main dimensions: European, national and transnational, and regional. The framing of these dimensions is important, as it allows for a first reflection and discussion of the potential substantive climate change mitigation 'credentials' of the Territorial Agenda.
The European dimension of the currently dominant 'Europe in balance' (Waterhout, 2007) interpretation of territorial cohesion is concerned with reducing disparities between different parts of the European territory and the promotion of more balanced development. In the Territorial Agenda, this is reflected in the promotion of the enlargement of economic growth zones (or European integration zones) 'beyond the economic core area of the EU' territory (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 29). This area was defined in the ESDP as the area between the metropolises of London, Paris, Milan, Munich and Hamburg, and referred to as the 'pentagon' (other definitions and appellations of this area include the 'blue banana' (Brunet and Boyer, 1989) and the 'central nucleus'). The pentagon covers the southeast of England, the Netherlands, Belgium, northeastern France, Luxembourg, northern Italy, western Austria, Switzerland and western Germany. There have been a number of attempts and initiatives to identify other potential European integration zones beyond this area (see, for example, Spatial Vision Group, 2000). Though it may be argued that this spatial outworking of the territorial cohesion concept and agenda can be seen to respond to the social and equity-focused 'Europe in balance' and economically-orientated 'competitive Europe' dimensions of territorial cohesion, its relationship with the environmentally-inspired 'green and clean Europe' storyline (Waterhout, 2007) appears more equivocal. In particular, regarding transport efficiency (translated into a minimisation of climate change-relevant energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions), if no other concrete transport policies are introduced in parallel, the climate change mitigation credentials of a spatialisation of the European dimension of territorial cohesion which results in the creation of additional growth zones across Europe is more than doubtful.
If one considers, for example, the USA, which has several existing economic zones of international importance (e.g. east coast, south of Great Lakes, south, west coast; Mehlbye, 2000), there are indications that this kind of spatial structure appears to come with some substantial additional air and other traffic between these zones. Although Europe is different from the USA in that it is developing a substantial high-speed train network - which has some considerable CO2 reduction potential (see http://www. railteam.co.uk/) - low-cost air traffic, in particular, is, currently at least, working in the opposite direction.
Introducing adequate additional transport policies to accompany the Territorial Agenda's aim of promoting the development of growth zones outside the EU core will therefore be crucially important; without them, climate change mitigation will be very unlikely. This will involve establishing links between policy sectors such as transport and regional policy to identify how the impacts of the increased mobility and accessibility likely to result from this aspect of the Territorial Agenda's policy orientations can be mitigated. It should be noted here, though, that the horizontal coordination of EU policy sectors to moderate territorially manifested incompatibilities has proved to be something of a struggle in the past.
There are many other potential implications of the European dimension that may - directly or indirectly - have an impact on climate change mitigation, including, for example, the increased urban sprawl that is frequently observed in core economic regions. Urban sprawl is mentioned once in the Territorial Agenda, and once in the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities, which argues for compact settlement structures achieved by spatial and urban planning to aid the efficient use of resources and prevent urban sprawl 'by strong control of land supply and of speculative development' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007c, 13). In the Territorial Agenda there appears, however, to be little working through of the potential impacts that the pursuit of some of its identified 'priorities for territorial development' may have on the phenomenon of urban sprawl.
In summary, regarding the European dimension of territorial cohesion, as it stands, the Territorial Agenda seems to be targeting mainly the economic and social dimensions of development, and is (currently at least) neglecting to fully consider in an integrated manner the possible environmental and climate change implications of some of the policy orientations it promotes.
The national/transnational dimension of territorial cohesion is reflected in the Territorial Agenda's aim of supporting the development of networks of competitive regions composed of networks of core cities, city regions and their surrounding towns and rural areas, and interdependent regional centres and medium-sized towns in more remote rural areas (priorities 1, 2 and 3 in particular). Classifications of European cities and urban areas (such as that developed by the ESPON 1.1.1 project, which characterised urban areas as 'global nodes', 'European engines', 'metropolitan European growth areas' (MEGAs) or smaller 'functional urban areas'; ESPON 1.1.1, 2004; ESPON, 2006, 29) might provide an indication of the areas that might constitute such a network of cities and city regions. Potential and currently weak MEGAs are also identified and, following the rationale of the first three 'priorities for territorial development' articulated by the Territorial Agenda, it would seem logical to seek to strengthen such urban areas. It is somewhat difficult to comment on the implications for climate change mitigation of pursuing and achieving such an objective. Overall, though it seems plausible to surmise that the impacts would mirror those associated with the European/transnational dimension discussed earlier, and that positive outcomes would be highly unlikely, as additional growth areas would imply additional economic and transport activities.
At the regional scale, the Territorial Agenda continues the European spatial planning tradition of encouraging polycentric development at the intra-regional and city-regional/intra-urban level, although the document does not provide a concrete model of what a polycentric region should or may look like. There has been a substantial body of work in recent years on polycentric regional development and polycentric urban regions (PURs) (Kloostermann and Musterd, 2001; Davoudi, 2003, 2005; ESPON 1.1.1, 2004; Meijers and Romein, 2003). In Europe, it appears that a polycentric region could be equated with what some authors have termed a 'transport-efficient' or 'sustainable' spatial structure (see Newman and Kenworthy, 1999; Rothengatter and Sieber, 1993). Figure 2 shows such a possible region comprising a core city and minor towns, as well as important public transport infrastructure ingredients, such as regional railways, trams and bus lines (Fischer, 2001). This type of model has been criticised by some as being rationalistic and simplistic, and not able to adequately reflect human behaviour.
Kloostermann and Musterd (2001, 626) also point out that in the case of PURs, 'interurban polycentricity usually lacks the historical hub-and-spoke type of infrastructure that can be found in individual cities', and that 'public transport tends to be more developed at the level of individual cities, whereas motorways constitute the main links between the different components of the polycentric urban region'. They cite Hall (1993, 888), who has suggested that PURs may therefore, as a result, encourage cross-commuting by car (Kloostermann and Musterd, 2001, 626). Similarly, Dielemen et al. (2002, 509-10) cite a number of studies that conclude that 'travel distances for work trips are shorter in polycentric cities than in their monocentric counterparts'. Yet they also refer to work which has suggested that the development of more polycentric urban systems, for example, as a result of the deconcentration of employment has 'caused a shift from using public transport to solo driving by car'. Bolotte (1991, cited in Dielemen et al., 2002, 210), however, has suggested that such a modal shift could be attenuated by sufficient investment in new public transport infrastructure.
It seems, therefore, that a polycentric settlement structure is only one of many factors influencing commuting distance and modal choice. Issues such as workplace/ residential balance, the distribution of retail structures, and the availability of alternatives to private motorised transport are also influential. Dielemen et al. (2002, 209) have also pointed to the influence of personal, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes, stating that:
Apart from urban form and design, personal attributes and circumstances have an impact on modal choice and distances travelled. People with higher incomes are more likely to own and use a private car than low-income households. Families with children use cars more often than one-person households. The purpose of a trip - work, shopping and leisure - also influences travel mode and distance.
Therefore, gauging the climate change mitigation credentials of the polycentric region as a spatial model (in terms of transport efficiency and the potential for minimisation of climate change-relevant transport-related energy consumption) is a complex matter. It is clear that key contextual aspects need to be considered, including: transport choice, the extent and mix of transport networks and modes, the economic composition and occupational structures of cities and regions, and societal and cultural factors such as lifestyles.
The points raised above hint at a final dimension which needs to be considered in reflecting on the probable climate change mitigation impacts of the Territorial Agenda: the infrastructural logic to which it appears to subscribe. In this respect, it is important to note that the Territorial Agenda seems to accept that the achievement of territorial cohesion requires the facilitation of mobility and accessibility in all EU regions, particularly in the more remote areas of the EU (see priorities for territorial development 1 and 4, EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 27-29).
The first territorial priority for the development of the EU introduced earlier can be seen as being highly controversial, at least from a climate change mitigation viewpoint, in recommending that 'infrastructure networks within and between regions in Europe ... need to be extended and updated on a continuous basis' (emphasis added) (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 28). Here, the underlying transport planner-based or transport engineer-based assumption - which, in light of the work of Hart (1993) on transport investment and disadvantaged regions, as well as some more recent evidence provided by ESPON (2006, 39), is debatable - appears to be that 'mobility and accessibility are key prerequisites for economic development in all regions of the EU' (EU Ministers for Spatial Planning and Development, 2007a, 29).
The apparent importance attached to networks of viable regional airports under Priority 4 (strengthening and extension of trans-European networks) also needs to be set against the contribution of aviation to greenhouse gas emissions and mixed evidence regarding the impacts that airport expansion and increased accessibility by air can have on national and regional economies. The UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP, 2002, 37), for example, has examined the environmental impacts of civil aircraft in flight, and concluded that 'short-haul passenger flights, such as UK domestic and European journeys, make a disproportionately large contribution to the global environmental impacts of air transport', and that 'these impacts are very much larger than those from rail transport over the same point-topoint journey'. Other research has investigated the impacts that proposed airport expansion in the UK will have on regional economies, and concluded that, other than for London, increased air travel will result in negative impacts on regional economies (Friends of the Earth, 2005).
Overall, what emerges from the discussions above is that, as might have been expected, different priorities, interests and dimensions, or storylines (Waterhout, 2007) of territorial cohesion are represented in the Territorial Agenda, and that the relationships and potential contradictions between these do not yet appear to be fully resolved. In particular - and in this the Territorial Agenda is by no means remarkable amongst spatial development