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SCHUNZ S. - The EU and the Global Politics of Climate Change and the Environment (25h)

The European Union is a major player in climate and environmental affairs, both through its internal action – which has recently been given a major boost through the European Commission’s ‘European Green Deal’ proposal - and via its participation in global climate and environmental politics. This course comprehensively examines the EU’s external climate and environmental policies, with the aim of understanding and explaining its role(s) as a global environmental player. It begins with an introduction to the rapidly evolving global climate and environmental politics that situates the EU’s quest for ‘sustainable development’ in the international context. EU discourse and action will then be assessed across various policy areas, starting with the arguably most emblematic contemporary global challenge: climate change. The course will specifically focus on investigating the EU’s role(s) in the global political efforts to contain climate change both through multilateral and bilateral diplomacy, examining in particular its participation in the main recent global summits, that is, the 2015 Paris and subsequent Conferences of the Parties. It will then examine EU action on major global environmental challenges related to areas such as biodiversity and biosafety, hazardous substances, the oceans and water as well as forestry. Specific attention will be paid to the actors, structures and processes at play in the design of global environmental policies, as well as to the EU’s actor capacity, strategies and effects in the studied areas. The course concludes by looking into the EU’s contribution to attempts to reform global climate and environmental governance, and by trying to explain the EU’s past and present role(s) in global climate and environmental politics as a basis for a critical discussion about the future.

Professor: Simon SCHUNZ

ECTS card 2020-2021