Under the Paris Agreement, governments have committed to radically cutting carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. This decarbonisation process has profound implications for both domestic and foreign policy, and is likely to have important geopolitical consequences. As a global power and leader on climate action, the EU has an important role to play in meeting these challenges.
The 2015 Paris Agreement has focused global attention on the need for countries to address climate change risks. But not all countries are equal, in terms of either their ambition or ability to achieve economies which are low-carbon and aligned with greenhouse gas emission trajectories which scientists say are necessary to limit warming to 2ºC. The associated transition in national energy systems and broader economies to a low-carbon world will present risks, but also opportunities.
International cooperation in support of a global energy transition is on the rise. Initiatives and fora for multilateral cooperation are complemented by growing bilateral engagement to foster international lesson-drawing and exchange. Despite these promising developments, investment towards achieving SDG7 on clean and affordable energy is insufficient. This IASS Policy Brief discusses how international cooperation can support a global energy transition.
For researchers looking into global security dynamics, it is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook climate change as a threat multiplier in conflict situations. While climate change may not directly cause conflict, it may be inextricably woven into pre-existing conflicts of power, ethnicity, and economic interest. Understading the role of climate-related impacts on security is therefore crucial for global peace.
The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is an independent monitoring tool of countries' climate protection performances. It compares climate protection efforts and progresses made by individual countries. Up until now, no country has made it to one of the top three categories.
Current trends depict an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation. Renewables have moved to the centre of the global energy landscape. Technological advances and falling costs have made renewables grow faster than any other energy source. Many renewable technologies are now cost-competitive with fossil fuels in the power sector, even before taking into account their contributions to the battles against air pollution and climate change. These trends are creating an irreversible momentum for a global energy transformation leading to shifts that will affect almost all countries and will have wide-ranging geopolitical consequences.
This report published by IRENA's Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Energy & Industry, and the German Federal Foreign Office looks into these developments from a foreign policy perspective.
The Global Fossil Project Tracker (GFPT) is a resource for researchers, communities, activists, and students who would like to learn more about fossil fuel industry infrastructure around the world. It serves as a surveillance system for planned and existing projects, enabling users to track locations, status, size, history, ownership, and industry trends. The tracker was designed and produced by CoalSwarm.
This new report by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in collaboration with the Clingendael Institute and other Dutch research institutes points to pressure on security and migration arising from too little, too much or polluted water. Many integrated solutions are possible to divert this trend towards a sustainable and climate-resilient world.
Working with over 30 partners, the World Resources Institute (WRI) has recently launched the Resource Watch. The platform provides a wide array of data sets on various sustainability topics, ranging from food security to urban climate challenges.
"From Riches to Rags?" looks into the subject of stranded assets in the fossil fuel sector. Stranded assets are assets that lose value, or generate new liabilities, before they reach the end of their (planned) economic life. In this paper, assets primarily refer to fossil fuel resources (oil, gas and coal) that need to stay in the ground because otherwise the 2-degree target specified in the Paris Agreement would be jeopardised.
It is undoubtedly a challenge for climate policy actors to identify reliable evidence to support sound decision-making processes for tackling climate issues effectively. Still, differentiating between fact and fiction, well-designed and invalid science, evidence- or interest-based arguments is precisely what determines the quality of climate policies.
At the Paris Climate Conference held in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the Paris Agreement – the first universal, legally binding global climate deal. The signatory parties committed themselves to a global action plan that aims to keep global warming to well below 2°C and to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
The European Union has long played a leadership role in climate diplomacy. One challenging development for future EU climate diplomacy is the centrality of technology in contemporary global interventions to deal with climate change and promote sustainable energy. Challenges and opportunities in this field of action were central to a workshop hosted by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) in partnership with the Transnational Law Institute (TLI) of the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, and Fondation Jean-Jaurès.
A low-emission transition will require profound changes in terms of infrastructure, business models as well as individual habits. In order to support this process adelphi, WiseEuropa and the Institute for Sustainable Development launched a Polish-German discussion on the benefits of a low-emission economy for local development. The discussion paper draws on this exchange, and offers a basis for further reflection about selected benefits based on evidence from Germany and Poland.
In this report, Luca Bergamaschi, Nick Mabey, Jonathan Gaventa and Camilla Born from E3G explore practical actions that EU foreign policy institutions could undertake to manage climate risk and an orderly global transition. Read on for a summary of the report here.