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ZEI Discussion Paper C 234/2016

Rike Sohn: EU environmental policy and diplomacy from Copenhagen to Paris and beyond

ZEI Discussion Paper C 234/2016

The UN Climate Summit in Paris in December 2015 was a major success for EU climate diplomacy, being far away from the Copenhagen blow to the EU's self-image as a global climate leader in 2009. In the run-up to Paris, credibility in the EU’s role as a ‘leadiator’ in international climate negotiations could partly be rebuilt as the union was capable to establish internal policy coherence early on and build a strong alliance with developing countries and major emitters. This played a huge role in facilitating the Paris Agreement.

The paper analyses the last six years of the EU’s internal and external environmental policy. It provides insights into the making of the Paris Agreement, the EU’s role for building it and the issues that need to be discussed for its effective application. As the agreement itself is a piece of paper, everything will depend on its implementation efforts. Thus, the paper concludes with suggestions for the EU’s environmental policy towards implementing the agreement with a particular view until the first global stock-taking 2018 and the transition road to a sustainable carbon neutral economy in the long-run.

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