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Climate Change Diplomacy

by Dr. Wilhelm Hofmeister

The Way Forward for Asia and Europe

Although the problematic consequences of climate change are undeniable, international negotiations are characterized by strategies which are still primarily driven by national interests. How can this attitude be changed? How can agreements and commitments be achieved in international negotiations? While much research has been done on the causes and impacts of climate change, there is a lack of discussion on the way that international climate change diplomacy has been carried out. This gap shall be addressed in our publication.

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In order to contribute to the understanding of the current developments and initiatives on climate change diplomacy, this publication includes papers with perspectives from Europe and Asia. What is the strategic interest of key countries? How can they cooperate? What roles do alternative forms of cooperation play in the discussions? These and other questions will be addressed in this publication.

The first paper by Gang Chen provides an overview of the current stage of the negotiations and the possible agreement in 2015. Drawing on the lessons from past agreements, he provides an outlook on the new deal. Of particular interest is the role of Southeast Asia in this discussion. Jusen Asuka discusses the climate change policies in Japan. Having been one of the key countries in previous years, Japan has now taken a step back and reduced its commitments. He looks at the domestic reasons for this shift in policies and analyzes what can be expected from the country in the future.

Martin Frick and Sabrina Schulz analyze the climate change policies of Germany and the European Union. Particular attention is given to the aspect of climate risk and how this can be managed. Within the broader EU context, Germany can be seen as a key country. They argue that the recent developments of the Energiewende is not a purely domestic project, but has implications for the whole community.

The Polish perspective is discussed by Bartek Nowak. As the effects on the economy shape much of the public climate debate in the country, he argues that the behaviour of the country is rather predictable and unlikely to change too much. He provides a clear analysis of the Polish perspective, which is embedded in the wider EU environment.

Piotr Maciej Kaczyński’s paper looks at the EU’s climate change diplomacy and its unique role in the negotiations. Since climate change is an area of shared competence, this has concrete impacts on the relationship between the EU and its Member States in the negotiations, which is explained by Kaczyński. He highlights the strategy of the EU and its expectations for the new agreement.

John Vogler analyzes the internal and external dimension of the EU’s climate change policies. He describes the EU’s engagement with the international climate regime and the key factors that determine the external climate policy. He concludes that the position and success of the EU’s engagement will be determined by the respective political environment, but that the EU has the potential to shape this.

Zhu Xufeng elaborates on the participation of scientists in the global climate change agenda. He looks at the historic influence of researchers in the negotiations. Additionally, Zhu analyzes the different roles individual groups of scientists play and how they try to influence the discussions.

Coraline Goron takes a closer look at the EU-ASEAN relations in the climate change negotiations. She analyzes both top-down and bottom-up approaches for inter-regional cooperation. The different positions of these two regional bodies are discussed and possibilities for enhanced cooperation are drawn.

Neil Hirst explores the opportunities for bilateral climate change initiatives between Europe and Asia and their possible impact on the multilateral negotiations. He highlights existing forms of cooperation by the EU and its Member States that can contribute greatly to the $100 billion annual climate financing.

The final paper by Jackson Ewing looks at climate security. The connection between climate change and security in Europe and Asia is addressed within the broader framework of the United Nations Security Council. Drawing on past experiences, Ewing shows the different positions towards this concept in both regions.

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