A new Working Paper by Louise van Schaik for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) examines the behaviour of the European Union (EU) in the international climate talks and explores how the EU could act as a positive force for creating consensus around collective action in the future. This paper applies theory from the field of international relations to try and understand the role of the European Union (EU) in the Durban climate talks. In particular, it analyses the role of the EU’s alliance with groups of developing countries in facilitating an agreement on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.
The paper concludes that both realist and normative elements will be needed. In the former category, options include conditions before emissions targets are accepted, conditionality with respect to carbon finance, new standards for carbon content and energy efficiency and various trade-related measures. On the normative side, emphasising the importance of climate science, encouraging an open process, supporting a possible opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as proposed by Palau and discussing non-legally binding commitments might all be possibilities. A differentiated strategy of climate diplomacy will be needed for different groups of countries, especially to sustain the trust and the coalitions built up during the negotiations. Such climate diplomacy should take an inclusive view of international relations so as to include the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations as well as other fora and linkages with economic, political and security issues.
van Schaik, L. The EU and the progressive alliance negotiating in Durban: saving the climate? Overseas Development Institute, London, UK (2012) 40 pp. ISBN 978-1-907288-83-8 [ODI Working Paper 354]