Politics, Foreign Policy and Regional Cooperation
Edited by Paul G. Harris
Chapter 3: The Indispensable Awkward Partner: The United Kingdom in European Climate Policy
3. The indispensable awkward partner: the United Kingdom in European climate policy Loren R Cass INTRODUCTION The United Kingdom’s (UK) role in the development of a common European response to global climate change (GCC) presents a fascinating case study of the ability of individual member states to pursue their national preferences within the context of the broader European environmental foreign policy process. During the 1970s and 1980s, European states and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) denounced the UK as the ‘Dirty Man’ of Europe. British governments consistently dragged their feet as their European partners sought to press ahead with international environmental negotiations and the formulation of a common European environmental policy. Though it balked at international environmental commitments, the UK emerged as an overachiever in fulﬁlling many of those same commitments. It also signiﬁcantly altered its strategic approach to environmental policy in the 1990s and emerged as a leader in shaping European and international environmental law. This chapter is structured around an analysis of the UK’s role in shaping European foreign policy in the GCC negotiations. Global climate change provides an issue that spans a period of reform in British environmental policy and provides insight into the shifting nature of British environmental foreign policy (EFP) as well as the shifts in its relations with the European Union (EU) on environmental issues. The British, along with the Germans (see Chapter 2), provided the vast majority of CO2 emissions reductions for the EU as a whole. Without the British reductions, it would...
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