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German climate diplomacy in the context of the European Green Deal

The Paris Agreement has so far failed to generate the ambition and implementation momentum needed to meet the 1.5-degree target. International climate cooperation is increasingly hampered by multiple crises, escalating geopolitical tensions and waning confidence in the multilateral process among developing countries. Unmet commitments and slow progress in areas such as climate finance, including vital support for dealing with loss and damage, have led to considerable frustration among developing countries. The rivalry between China and the US further impedes the implementation of the Paris Agreement. 

Germany and the EU are strongly committed to the multilateral UNFCCC process and have launched ambitious national climate protection programmes. The European Union’s Green Deal is a comprehensive economic strategy, which, at its core, involves ambitious climate targets and according realignment of several policy areas. The Fit-for-55 legislative package provides for extensive policy reforms to this end. Climate protection efforts such as the Carbon Boundary Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) have effects internationally, both economically and politically. In order to avoid alienating partners and allow the Green Deal to have a positive impact internationally, it must be complemented by diplomatic efforts. The German government has given its international climate policy efforts a more coherent and strategic approach with the concept of climate foreign policy. However, Germany’s climate diplomacy is still not integrated in a manner that matches the dimensions of the tasks at hand. However, there remains a need for better integration of German climate diplomacy to match the dimension of the tasks ahead. Moreover, recent efforts by Germany and the EU to replace Russian gas have been perceived internationally as lacking coherence and credibility.

Against this background, the research project German Climate Diplomacy in the context of the European Green Deal analyses current developments and challenges in international climate cooperation as well as their implications, options and priorities for German and EU climate diplomacy. Relevant research questions include: How does the geopolitical landscape impact international climate policy and vice versa? Which competitive and cooperative dynamics shape international climate policy? How can international climate policy be shaped in such a way that it achieves positive outcomes amidst geopolitical tensions and eroding trust? What initiatives and partnerships are necessary to accelerate implementation globally? What are possible scenarios for cooperation within the UNFCCC and which contextual conditions, challenges and potential side effects need to be considered? The project identifies the opportunities and challenges arising from this context for German and EU foreign policy and the positive contributions Germany and the EU can make.


August 2023 – July 2024. The content of the project follows on from a previous project that ran from 2022 to 2023. Some of the publications from this previous project are listed here.


The project is funded by the European Climate Foundation (ECF).

Project Lead