University of Twente Student Theses


The role of the European Union prior to the United Nations climate conference in Paris 2015 : which role assumes the EU in the international preparation process and how is it´s effort to be valued?

Kuhlenkamp, Monique (2015) The role of the European Union prior to the United Nations climate conference in Paris 2015 : which role assumes the EU in the international preparation process and how is it´s effort to be valued?

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Abstract:Climate Change is one of the major threats to humankind. It endangers every creature on earth, causes rising sea levels, draughts, increases extreme weather events, air pollution and species extinction, just to mention a few of the destructive consequences of global warming. If scientific studies prove to be right, some regions will become inhabitable, others unfertile, third ones may disappear in the ocean. Regarding the continuous population growth, this may lead to disastrous situations with nations unable to supply their inhabitants with the basic needs. For a long time climate change and its impact had been replaced or marginalized. Governments feared economic disadvantages when fostering emission reductions and could either not afford it or were afraid of relative losses. Insecurity within the international climate regime about the compliance of other actors, the refusal of many developing and emerging countries to contribute to climate protection as well as scientific inaccuracy intensified the problem. One of the few actors that dealt with the problem of climate change almost from the time of it´s discovery was the European Union. As one of the major producers of greenhouse gases, historically as well as presently, the EU bears special responsibility and is expected, by many developing and emerging countries, to behave as a role model. In the past the Union had mostly been able to fulfill this expectation and developed to a leader within the rising international climate regime. After years of stagnation and small compromises 2015 may be a year of crucial importance to climate protection, as the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris (COP 21) is of central meaning to the future collaboration and the realisation of the two-degree target, meaning that global warming shall be limited to maximal two degrees. The conference´s main goal is to establish a new agreement which shall replace the Kyoto Protocol as a universal and legally binding convention and introduce a new era of common action against climate change. Due to it´s historically evolved leadership, it´s economic and political power as well as it´s responsibility for climate change it can be expected that many countries will orientate themselves on the European Union´s exertions and adapt to it their own efforts. Correspondingly, the role assumed by the EU, it´s endeavours to realise an ambitious agreement on climate protection and it´s own commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, will be one of the decisive factors in the realisation of a successful climate convention. This assignment deals with the valuation of efforts the Euopean Union invests in the preparation process for the UN Climate Conference in Paris 2015. Moreover, it tries to assess whether the Union once more assumes the role of leadership within the climate regime and, if so, what sort of leadership it may be. According to the Union´s endeavours of the last two decades the hypothesis of this assignment goes as follows: The European Union assumes a leading role in the preparation process to the UN Climate Conference 2015. In order to investigate the role of the European Union the work of Alexandra Lindenthal, ´Leadership im Klimaschutz´, will be employed as theoretical framework, on whose basis the present Union´s efforts can be assessed. Lindenthal generates a theory in which she distinguishes between four different types of leadership. These types can be measured by certain indicators, including the topics interests, resources, power, norms and form of communication, which can be employed in order to evaluate the efforts of the European Union during the preparation process for the UN Climate Conference in Paris, focusing on the commitments defined in the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies and the attitude the EU (or leading European nations) adopt during preliminary international conferences as the Climate Conferences in Geneva, Bonn or the G7 Summit 2015. Accordingly, the methodological approach to answer the research question is based upon a qualitative content analysis. Additionally, the assignment gives some background information to the European Union´s role in past Climate Conferences, international expectations as well as to the meaning and structure of the United Nations Climate Conference. On the one hand this knowledge will help the reader to fully understand the subject and to give the topic a broader frame. On the other it will allow to answer the question how the endeavours of the EU are to be valued, taking into account the needs and official goals of climate protection.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:89 political science
Programme:Management Society and Technology BSc (56654)
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