1st Edition

The European Union in International Climate Change Negotiations

By Stavros Afionis Copyright 2017
    200 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The EU has been portrayed as a leader in international climate change negotiations. Its role in the development of the climate change regime, as well as the adoption of novel policy instruments such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in 2005, are frequently put forward as indicative of a determination to push the international climate agenda forward. However, there are numerous instances where the EU has failed to achieve its climate change objectives (e.g. the 2009 Copenhagen Conference of the Parties). It is therefore important to examine the reasons behind these failures.

    This book explores in detail the involvement of the EU in international climate talks from the late 1980s to the present, focusing in particular on the negotiations leading up to Copenhagen. This conference witnessed the demise of the top-down approach in climate change policy and dealt a serious blow to the EU’s leadership ambitions. This book explores the extent to which negotiation theory could help with better comprehending the obstacles that prevented the EU from getting more out of the climate negotiation process. It is argued that looking at the role played by problematic strategic planning could prove highly instructive in light of the Paris Agreement.

    This broad historical perspective of the EU’s negotiations in international climate policy is an important resource to scholars of environmental and European politics, policy, law and governance.


    1. Climate change: From science to policy
    2. The development of Europe’s climate policy (1986-1992)
    3. Momentum Gathers: From Rio to Geneva
    4. The AGBM Process – Phase 2
    5. From Collapse to Revival
    6. Waiting for Russia
    7. The Protocol Enters into Force
    8. Heading towards success
    9. The demise of the top-down approach
    10. The EU as a negotiator in the climate regime



    Stavros Afionis is a Teaching Fellow in Environmental Politics at the School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations & Environment (SPIRE), Keele University, UK. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) of the School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds, UK. His doctoral research examined the role played by the European Union in international climate change negotiations. His research interests focus on environmental politics and, in particular, international climate change negotiations and global biofuel policies. He is an associate editor for Environmental Policy and Governance and a member of the UK ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (CCCEP).

    "Stavros Afionis has written a well-researched and closely argued account of EU international climate policy. Notably, it provides a corrective to the narrative of successful EU climate leadership by pointing out the missteps and failures of EU negotiators as they attempted, over two decades, to respond to the warnings issued by the scientific community. A change of approach after 2009 appears to have paid dividends in the 2015 Paris Agreement. The book is theoretically grounded in the international cooperation literature and provides a reflection on the meaning of success and failure. Students of EU policy will find it an invaluable source of reference on the evolution of the Union’s climate policy." – John Vogler, Professorial Fellow in International Relations, Keele University, UK