Politics, Foreign Policy and Regional Cooperation
Edited by Paul G. Harris
Chapter 9: Articulating a Consensus: The EUs Position on Climate Change
9. Articulating a consensus: the EU’s position on climate change Nuno S Lacasta, Suraje Dessai, Eva Kracht and Katharine Vincent* INTRODUCTION The issue of global climate change (GCC) ranks high on Europe’s political agenda and continues to be a key area of foreign policy for the European Union (EU). In fact, the EU and its member states have, for over a decade, claimed domestic and international leadership with regard to the GCC challenge (Gupta and Grubb 2000; see Chapter 15). The EU has historically supported both the 1992 United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), as well as its 1997 Kyoto Protocol. After the withdrawal of the United States (US) from the protocol in mid-2001, the EU ratiﬁed it in 2002 and actively pursued its entry into force. The aim of the FCCC is to ‘achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’. This is a simultaneously ambitious and ambiguous aim that began with unspeciﬁed targets (see Dessai et al. 2004). The ﬁrst legal instrument for implementing the FCCC was the Kyoto Protocol, adopted at the third conference of the parties to the convention (COP3) in 1997. This landmark international agreement commits developed countries and economies in transition to reduce their overall emissions of six greenhouse gases (GHGs) to at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels during the 2008–12 commitment period. In order to meet their commitments in an economically...
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