European and Global Climate Policy

© Mark Garten, UN Photo
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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Kasturi Das, Harro van Asselt, Susanne Dröge, Michael Mehling

Making Trade Work for Climate: Options for Policymakers

in: Policy Brief, Climate Strategies, August 2018 (online)
Susanne Dröge

Climate and Security Revisited

Germany’s Priorities for the 2019/2020 UN Security Council Period

SWP Comment 2018/C 34, August 2018, 7 Pages
Kasturi Das, Harro van Asselt, Susanne Dröge, Michael Mehling

Making the International Trade System Work for Climate Change: Assessing the Options

in: Report, Climate Strategies, July 2018 (online)
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, 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
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)
Susanne Dröge, Felix Schenuit

EU Trade and Climate Policy Linkages

Potentials in Times of Repositioning

SWP Comment 2018/C 16, April 2018, 8 Pages
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SWP Comments

Paweł Tokarski, Serafina Funk
Non-euro Countries in the EU after Brexit

Between Fear of Losing of Political Influence and Euro Accession

Markus Kaim, Ronja Kempin
A European Security Council

Added Value for EU Foreign and Security Policy?