Advertisement

Common but Differentiated Responsibility in International Climate Negotiations: The EU and Its Contesters

  • Franziska PetriEmail author
  • Katja Biedenkopf
Chapter
Part of the Norm Research in International Relations book series (NOREINRE)

Abstract

In the negotiations of a follow-up agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol, the European Union (EU) was a vocal proponent of revisiting the ways in which the organizing principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) was enshrined. The chapter analyzes the ways in which the EU promoted its distinct interpretation of CBDR and how other Parties to the UNFCCC contested the EU’s interpretation during the four-year climate negotiations that culminated in the adoption of the 2015 Paris Agreement. We performed a qualitative content analysis of the Earth Negotiations Bulletins (ENB) on the climate negotiation meetings between 2011 and 2015, thereby identifying not only the main contesters of the EU’s norm understanding but also the main themes of contestation over time. The analysis revealed that the EU pursued a firm, yet compromise-building approach to promote its own (re)interpretation of CBDR. Faced with hard contestation by developing countries, the EU engaged in a less hardline discourse than some of the other developed countries. This bridge-building positioning positively affected the EU’s perceived legitimacy in the global effort to combat climate change.

Notes

Acknowledgement

The research benefitted from funding from the University of Leuven Special Research Fund: C1 Project CONNECTIVITY

References

  1. Bäckstrand, K., & Elgström, O. (2013). The EU’s role in climate change negotiations: From leader to ‘leadiator’. Journal of European Public Policy, 20(10), 1369–1386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biedenkopf, K., & Walker, H. (2016). Playing to one’s strengths: The implicit division of labor in US and EU climate diplomacy. Johns Hopkins University: AICGS Policy Report 64.Google Scholar
  3. Brunnée, J., & Streck, C. (2013). The UNFCCC as a negotiation forum: Towards common but more differentiated responsibilities. Climate Policy, 13(5), 589–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Castro, P., Hörnlein, L., & Michaelowa, K. (2014). Constructed peer groups and path dependence in international organizations: The case of the international climate change negotiations. Global Environmental Change, 25(March 2014), 109–120.Google Scholar
  5. Council of the European Union. (2015a). Council conclusions on climate diplomacy. Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Brussels, 20 July 2015.Google Scholar
  6. Council of the European Union. (2015b). EU position for the UN climate change conference in Paris: Council conclusions. Brussels, 18 September 2015.Google Scholar
  7. Delreux, T. (2014). EU Actorness, cohesiveness and effectiveness in environmental affairs. Journal of European Public Policy, 21(7), 1017–1032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Delreux, T. (2018). Multilateral environmental agreements: A key instrument of global environmental governance. In C. Adelle, K. Biedenkopf, & D. Torney (Eds.), European Union external environmental policy. Rules, regulation and governance beyond borders. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  9. Depledge, J. (2009). The road less travelled: Difficulties in moving between annexes in the climate change regime. Climate Policy, 9(3), 273–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Falkner, R. (2016). The Paris agreement and the new logis of international climate politics. International Affairs, 92(5), 1107–1125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Global Carbon Atlas. (2017). Overview of global CO2 emissions. Available at: http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/en/CO2-emissions. Last accessed on 28 June 2019.
  12. Groen, L., & Niemann, A. (2013). The European Union at the Copenhagen climate negotiations: A case of contested EU Actorness and effectiveness. International Relations, 27(3), 308–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB). Available at: http://enb.iisd.org/. Last accessed on 28 June 2019.
  14. Jackson, K., & Bazeley, P. (2019). Qualitative data analysis with NVivo (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  15. Kilian, B., & Elgström, O. (2010). Still a green leader? The European Union’s role in international climate negotiations. Cooperation and Conflict, 45(3), 255–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kverndokk, S., & Rose, A. (2008). Equity and justice in global warming policy. International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, 2, 135–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mayring, P. (2014). Qualitative content analysis: theoretical foundation, basic procedures and software solution. Available at: https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-395173. Last accessed on 28 June 2019.
  18. Oberthür, S., & Groen, L. (2018). Explaining goal achievement in international negotiations: The EU and the Paris agreement on climate change. Journal of European Public Policy, 25(5), 708–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Parker, C. F., Karlsson, C., & Hjerpe, M. (2017). Assessing the European Union’s global climate change leadership: From Copenhagen to the Paris agreement. Journal of European Integration, 39(2), 239–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pauw, P., Bauer, S., Richerzhagen, C., Brandi, C., & Schmole, H. (2014). Different perspectives on differentiated responsibilities. A state-of-the-art review of the notion of common but differentiated responsibilities. Bonn: German Development Institute Discussion Paper 6/2014.Google Scholar
  21. Rajamani, L. (2013). Differentiation in the emerging climate regime. Theoretical Inquiries in Law, 14(1), 151–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sands, P., & Peel, J. (2012). Principles of international environmental law (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schunz, S. (2015). The European Union’s climate change diplomacy. In J. A. Koops & G. Macaj (Eds.), The European Union as a diplomatic actor (pp. 178–200). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  24. Torney, D. (2015). European climate leadership in question: Policies toward China and India. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Torney, D., & Cross, M. A. K. D. (2018). Environmental and climate diplomacy: Building coalitions through persuasion. In C. Adelle, K. Biedenkopf, & D. Torney (Eds.), European Union external environmental policy, rules, regulation and governance beyond borders. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  26. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (2012). Report of the Conference of the Parties on its Seventeenth Session, held in Durban from 28 November to 11 December 2011. Decisions Adopted by the Conference of the Parties. FCCC/CP/2011/9/Add.1. Available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/cop17/eng/09a01.pdf#page=2. Last accessed on 28 June 2019.
  27. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). (2015). Paris Agreement. Available at: https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement. Last accessed on 28 June 2019.
  28. van Schaik, L., & Schunz, S. (2012). Explaining EU activism and impact in global climate politics: Is the Union a norm- or interest-driven actor? Journal of Common Market Studies, 50(1), 169–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Voigt, C. (2014). Equity in the 2015 climate agreement. Lessons from differential treatment in multilateral environmental agreements. Climate Law, 4(1–2), 50–69.Google Scholar
  30. Voigt, C., & Ferreira, F. (2016). Differentiation in the Paris agreement. Climate Law, 6(1–2), 58–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Walker, H., & Biedenkopf, K. (2018). The historical evolution of EU Climate leadership and four scenarios for its future. In S. Minas & V. Ntousas (Eds.), EU climate diplomacy: Politics, law and negotiations. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Wiener, A. (2014). A theory of contestation. Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leuven International and European Studies, Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Leuven International and European Studies, KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations