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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Michael Mehling, Harro van Asselt, Kasturi Das, Susanne Dröge

Beat protectionism and emissions at a stroke

in: Nature 559, 321-324, 16.07.2018 (online)
Oliver Geden

Politically informed advice for climate action

in: Nature Geoscience, Vol. 11, No. 6, pp. 380-383, June 2018
Oliver Geden, Vivian Scott, James Palmer

EU policy must wake up to carbon dioxide removal

in: Energy Post, 09.05.2018 (online)
Oliver Geden, Vivian Scott, James Palmer

Integrating carbon dioxide removal into EU climate policy: Prospects for a paradigm shift.

in: WIREs Climate Change, Volume 9, Issue 4, July/August 2018, e521
Susanne Dröge, Felix Schenuit

EU Trade and Climate Policy Linkages

Potentials in Times of Repositioning

SWP Comment 2018/C 16, April 2018, 8 Pages
Vivian Scott, Oliver Geden

The challenge of carbon dioxide removal for EU policy-making

in: Nature Energy, Vol. 3, No. 5, pp. 350-352, May 2018
Susanne Dröge, Harro van Asselt, Kasturi Das, Michael Mehling

Mobilising Trade Policy for Climate Action under the Paris Agreement

Options for the European Union

SWP Research Paper 2018/RP 01, February 2018, 34 Pages
Susanne Dröge, Vijeta Rattani

International Climate Policy Leadership after COP23

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

SWP Comment 2018/C 01, 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 Comment 2017/C 48, November 2017, 4 Pages
Displaying results 1 to 10 out of 44
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SWP Comments

Evita Schmieg
Power in the International Trading System

Trump Administration Risks Destroying World Trade Order

Bettina Rudloff
Yes, He Can: Trump Provokes a Trade War

A Clever EU Will Refrain from Further Tariffs but Hold Firm on WTO Rules

SWP Research Papers

Peter Lintl (ed.)
Actors in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Interests, Narratives and the Reciprocal Effects of the Occupation

Uwe Halbach
Chechnya’s Status within the Russian Federation

Ramzan Kadyrov’s Private State and Vladimir Putin’s Federal “Power Vertical”