21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy

21st Century Diplomacy

For too long, foreign policymakers have largely left climate issues to energy or environment ministries. A new essay series by adelphi and the Wilson Center seeks to change that.


As some of the world’s top diplomats gathered virtually for the UN General Assembly, adelphi and the Wilson Center launched a new project to help foreign policy actors prepare for a new global context amid a changing climate. 21st Century Diplomacy: Foreign Policy Is Climate Policy is a series of essays, interviews, and op-eds on some of the major climate and foreign policy issues facing the world today:

  • Climate Superpowers
  • Climate Change and Financial Stability
  • Geopolitics of Decarbonization
  • Geoengineering: Intervention in the Atmosphere
  • Climate Change, Mobility, and Displacement
  • Climate Change, Equity, and Democracy
  • and New Modes of Multilateralism.

The motivation is simple: to date, foreign policy responses to climate change have mainly focused on the security implications of climate change, international treaty negotiations, and the promotion of renewable energy. However, the implications of climate change for foreign policy are much broader, which is why the project team seeks to provide fresh input to drive transformative change. Because foreign policy is climate policy.

Global Outlook, Global Team

The diverse, high-level group of contributors includes Wolfgang Ischinger, Helga Maria Schmid, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Wang Huiyao, Oliver Morton, Selwin Hart, and Vanessa Nakate, among others. Readers can find all the contributions on the 21st Century Diplomacy website as well as in select publications such as Project Syndicate and Der Tagesspiegel.

At the official European launch event on October 2nd, adelphi Managing Director Alexander Carius will introduce the project and moderate a discussion on Climate Superpowers between:

  • Dr. Hinrich Thölken, Ambassador, Director Climate and Energy Policy and Digital Transformation at the German Federal Foreign Office;
  • Sharon E. Burke, Senior Advisor, International Security Program and Resource Security Program at New America; and
  • Dr. Wang Huiyao, President of the Center for China and Globalization.

Register for this public event.

Making an Impact

This project is directed not at the energy and climate community but at the foreign policy community more generally. In this regard it fits with adelphi’s mission to improve global governance through research, dialogue, and consultation. For if we are to meet the climate challenge, we must mobilize all levels and arms of government.

The essay series is part of the Climate Diplomacy project, which is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Contact person: Noah Gordon