Foreign policy responses to climate change: addressing risks, seizing opportunities

Weltkugel, Globus, Asien, Afrika, Africa, Globe, World, Blue Marble, Earth, NASA

The aim of the Paris Agreement - to limit global warming to 1.5°- 2°C - is an important milestone for international climate governance. Implementing the agreement, achieving national climate targets whilst promoting ambitious climate action should, therefore, remain a strategic priority of foreign policy. At the same time, a central task of foreign policy is to minimise systemic risks to prosperity, stability and security caused by increasing extreme weather events, sea level rise, and other climate change impacts.

In the project ‘Foreign policy responses to climate change: confronting risks, seizing opportunities’, adelphi, in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, developed innovative approaches and new ideas for climate foreign policy in an exchange with German and international players. In order to meet both the practical and strategic challenges, adelphi identified options for connecting the issue to the agendas of different international fora, working to embed the climate discourse firmly within the framework of the UN, G7, and EU, as well as African and Asian regional organisations. For example, it supported developing the European Climate Diplomacy Action Plan and the implementation of the EU Global Strategy through in-depth analyses, recommendations, workshops and expert consultations.

Through studies and policy papers, adelphi analysed and discussed the geopolitical importance of global trends, such as decarbonisation, food security, urbanisation and migration, and drafted proposals for foreign policy action. The study ‘Geopolitics of decarbonisation’ examines the effects of the phasing out of fossil fuels on specific countries and regions, as well as on bilateral relationships. It focuses on energy exporters, countries that are often dependent on export revenues. These are often fragile and, simultaneously, of great importance to German and European energy supplies. The study develops proposals on how foreign and climate policy needs to engage with such transition processes  in order to prevent possible destabilisations. The study's results were presented and discussed at national and international meetings.    

Networking with regional players is important for intensifying international climate action. Therefore, this project put significant efforts into facilitating exchanges with governments, partner organisations, and civil society.To further raise public awareness, adelphi continued its work on knowledge building for the public and for diplomats, maintaining and expanding successful public diplomacy instruments that ensure climate topics and complex foreign policy problems are easily accessible. The interactive knowledge platform Climate Diplomacy, a touring exhibition, and other multimedia learning opportunities were therefore important components of the project.

Publications of this project