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The European Union’s Strategic Turn in Climate Diplomacy: ‘Multiple Bilateralism’ with Major Emitters. College of Europe EU Diplomacy Paper 4/2021.

Schunz, Simon (2021) The European Union’s Strategic Turn in Climate Diplomacy: ‘Multiple Bilateralism’ with Major Emitters. College of Europe EU Diplomacy Paper 4/2021. [Working Paper]

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    Since the early 2010s, the climate diplomacy of the European Union (EU) has undergone considerable changes. Traditionally relying on a ‘leadership-by-example’ approach primarily concerned with the external projection of its domestic policies, the EU profoundly adapted its climate diplomacy strategy between the 2009 conference of the parties (COP) 15 in Copenhagen and the 2015 Paris COP 21. This redefined strategy was further consolidated in the aftermath of the Paris COP. Key features of the EU’s redesigned climate diplomacy are its focus on stronger – cooperative and/or confrontational – bilateral relations with major emitters and a greater flexibility in its positions and actions. To better understand and explain this strategic turn, the paper provides a comparative analysis of the EU’s climate diplomacy vis-à-vis the three major emitters China, the United States and India during the negotiations on the Copenhagen Accord (2005-2009), on the Paris Agreement (2010-2015) and on the implementation of the Paris Agreement (2016-2020). It argues that the EU has embraced a strategy of ‘multiple bilateralism’, which aims to develop parallel bilateral relationships within the broader context of a multilateral negotiation setting. The Union’s strategic turn can be explained by the opening of a policy window resulting from the interplay between the changing geopolitics of climate change and conducive institutional developments within the EU, which was exploited by EU policy entrepreneurs. This turn enabled the EU to co-create a negotiation environment that facilitated the convergence of major emitters’ positions in the global climate negotiations at Paris. Sustaining such an enabling environment thus represents a fundamental prerequisite for the successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > environmental policy (including international arena)
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Countries > India
    Countries > China
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > College of Europe (Brugge) > EU Diplomacy Paper
    Depositing User: Daniel Pennell
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 19 May 2021 09:10
    Number of Pages: 40
    Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 11:22

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