European and Global Climate Policy

Closing Ceremony of COP21, Paris, © UN Photo/Mark Garten

Many states now regard climate change as one of the central global challenges of the twenty-first century. Climate policy seeks both to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to limit the magnitude of climate change (mitigation) and to initiate measures for coping with the consequences (adaptation). A scientific debate has also begun about the use of technologies to deliberately intervene in parts of the climate system (climate engineering).

In 2015 the 21st Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded the Paris Agreement for the period after 2020. 188 of the 196 parties have reported their voluntary “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) (as of December 2015). The new agreement provides for broad participation in climate protection from 2020. Under the treaty the national contributions (NDCs) will be updated every five years (starting 2023), and the parties have agreed to progress in their ambitions. For the first time, the new climate agreement attributes the same importance to adaptation as it does to mitigation of climate change, including its funding.

One priority of EU climate policy in coming years will be legislative implementation of the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 (compared to 1990), above all by revising the Emissions Trading Directive (European Union Emissions Trading System or EU ETS) and setting national targets in non-ETS sectors. Another will be for the EU and its partners to work to implement the key decisions of the Paris Agreement. This applies to the five-year review cycle for the NDCs, to international cooperation on carbon pricing, and also to the development of technologies for achieving the goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius (or 1.5°C) above the pre-industrialisation level.

Further Details


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Susanne Dröge, Vijeta Rattani

International Climate Policy Leadership after COP23

The EU Must Resume Its Leading Role, But Cannot Do So Alone

SWP Comments 2018/C 1, January 2018, 7 Pages
Oliver Geden, Andreas Löschel

Define limits for temperature overshoot targets

in: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 10, No 12, December 2017, pp. 881-882
Oliver Geden

Prioritise Greenhouse Gas Neutrality

EU and German Climate Policy Should Be More Ambitious and More Pragmatic

SWP Comments 2017/C 48, November 2017, 4 Pages
Pete Smith, Julio Friedmann, Giana Amador, Mercedes Bustamante, Annette Cowie, Noah Deich, Sabine Fuss, Oliver Geden, Mark G. Lawrence, Omar Masera, Jan Minx

Bridging the Gap – Carbon Dioxide Removal

in: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (ed.), The Emissions Gap Report 2017, Nairobi 2017, pp. 56-66
Michael Mehling, Kasturi Das, Susanne Dröge, Harro van Asselt, Cleo Verkuijl

How to Design Border Carbon Adjustments that Work for the Climate

in: Policy Brief, Climate Strategies, 2017 (online)
Glen P. Peters, Oliver Geden

Catalysing a political shift from low to negative carbon

in: Nature Climate Change, Vol. 7, September 2017, pp. 619-621
Paul N. Edwards, Oliver Geden

Dealing with Climate Change

Interview by Isabell Schrickel and Christoph Engemann, in: Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Vol. 40, Issue 2, June 2016, pp. 175-185
Susanne Dröge, Harro van Asselt, Kasturi Das, Michael Mehling

The trade system and climate action: Ways forward under the Paris agreement

in: South Carolina Journal of International Law and Business, Vol. 13, Issue 1, May 2017, pp. 195-276
M. Honegger, S. Münch, A. Hirsch, C. Beuttler, T. Peter, W. Burns, Oliver Geden, T. Goeschl, D. Gregorowius, D. Keith, M. Lederer, A. Michaelowa, J. Pasztor, S. Schäfer, S. Seneviratne, A. Stenke, A. Patt, I. Wallimann-Helmer

Climate change, negative emissions and solar radiation management: It is time for an open societal conversation

White Paper by Risk-Dialogue Foundation St.Gallen for the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, May 2017
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SWP Comments

Christian Opitz, Tobias Etzold
Seeking Renewed Relevance

Institutions of Nordic Cooperation in the Reform Process

Amal Jamal
The Rise of “Bad Civil Society” in Israel

Nationalist Civil Society Organizations and the Politics of Delegitimization

SWP Research Papers

Marianne Beisheim, Anne Ellersiek
Partnerships for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Transformative, Inclusive and Accountable?

Kirsten Westphal, Aurélie Bros, Tatiana Mitrova
German-Russian Gas Relations

A Special Relationship in Troubled Waters