Exploring the EU–India Leadership Dynamic on Climate Change

  • Vijeta Rattani


Vijeta Rattani argues that the issue of climate change has involved the interests of the European Union (EU) ever since the issue became a political one in the early 1990s. The EU has been an active entity in formulating rules and policies to address climate change, both domestically and internationally. Though successful in the Kyoto Protocol period, its role considerably weakened following the Copenhagen Summit in 2009. In the discussions for the Paris Agreement and subsequently, the EU did not show a willingness to claim leadership. Rattani argues that the US exit from the accord under President Trump has provided the EU with a unique opportunity to rise to the occasion, providing recommendations to help the bloc to do this. In the present circumstances, the EU is exploring cooperation with China to establish joint leadership on climate issues. India is significant to the EU for climate cooperation but not in terms of a leadership role.


European Union Climate change Kyoto protocol Paris Agreement Climate leadership India China 


  1. Act Alliance. (2017). EU Needs to Reconsider the Approach to Climate Finance. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from
  2. China Daily. (2017). China Can Take Lead, Climate Envoy Says. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
  3. Climate Alliance. (2016). Press Release: Local Authorities, Businesses, Civil Society and Trade Unions Call for EU Climate Leadership. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from
  4. Climate Home. (2014). Merkel Returns to Climate Politics with Call for EU Leadership. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from
  5. Council of European Union. (2017). Council Resolutions on Climate Finance. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from
  6. Council of the European Union. (2016). Council of the European Union: Outcome Proceedings of Proposal. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from
  7. Droege, S., & Rattani, V. (2018, January). International Climate Policy Leadership After COP 23. Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) Commentary.Google Scholar
  8. Euractiv. (2017). European Parliament Adopts Draft Reform of Carbon Market. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
  9. Europa. (2017a). The EU-China Summit. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from
  10. Europa. (2017b). Regulations for LULUCF. Retrieved November 23, 2017, from
  11. European Commission. (2016). Proposal for an Effort Sharing Regulation 2021–2030. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
  12. European Parliament. (2016). Outcomes of COP 22 Climate Change Conference. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
  13. France Diplomatie. (2017). One Planet Summit. Retrieved December 13, 2017, from
  14. German Watch. (2013). The End of EU Climate Leadership. Retrieved June 7, 2017, from
  15. Green Peace. (2017). Press Release: Canada, China, and the EU to Reinvigorate Climate Cooperation. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from
  16. Groen, L., Niemann, A., & Oberthür, S. (2012). The EU as a Global Leader? The Copenhagen and Cancún UN Climate Change Negotiations. Journal of Contemporary European Research, 8(2), 173–191.Google Scholar
  17. Hindustan Times. (2018). Davos 2018: Modi Warns Against Protectionism, Highlights India’s Virtues. Retrieved January 27, 2018, from
  18. Los Angeles Times. (2017). Trump Quits the Paris Climate Accord, Denouncing It as a Violation of U.S. Sovereignty. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from
  19. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC). (2017, November 16). Interview with Senior Indian Negotiator.Google Scholar
  20. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). (2016). EU-India Agenda for Action-2020. Retrieved November 4, 2017, from
  21. New York Times. (2016). Trump Has Called Climate Change a Chinese Hoax. Beijing Says It Is Anything But. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
  22. Oberthür, S., & Roche Kelly, C. (2008). EU Leadership in International Climate Policy: Achievements and Challenges. The International Spectator, 43(3), 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rattani, V. (2017a). Trump’s Executive Order Sounds Death Knell for Paris Climate Pact. Down to Earth.Google Scholar
  24. Rattani, V. (2017b). Industry Acquires Centre Stage at Climate Summit in France. Retrieved November 20, 2017, from
  25. REN. (2017). Renewables Global Futures Report-REN21. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from
  26. Schreurs, M., & Tiberghien, Y. (2007). Multi-level Reinforcement: Explaining European Union Leadership in Climate Change Mitigation. Global Environmental Politics, 7(4), 19–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. The Guardian. (2001). Bush Kills the Kyoto Deal. Retrieved June 2, 2017, from
  28. The Guardian. (2016). Europe’s Climate Change Goals Need Profound Lifestyle Changes. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from
  29. The Institute of European Studies (IES). (2016). The European Union in Crises: What Is the Future of International Climate Crises. Retrieved June 2, 2017, from
  30. UNFCCC. (2005). The Kyoto Protocol. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from
  31. UNFCCC. (2015a). Press Release: G7 Climate Risk Insurance Initiative – Stepping Up Protection for the Most Vulnerable. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from
  32. UNFCCC. (2015b). The Paris Agreement. Retrieved December 1, 2017, from
  33. UNFCCC. (2017). Bonn Summit Outcomes. Retrieved December 3, 2017, from
  34. White House. (2017). Press Release: President’s Executive Order. Retrieved June 15, 2017, from
  35. Yale Environment. (2016). With Trump, China Emerges as Global Leader in Climate Change. Retrieved June 12, 2017, from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vijeta Rattani
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Science and EnvironmentNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations