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Climate Change Diplomacy

Driving up ambition for action on climate change

Climate change shares central features with traditional diplomatic issues such as nuclear proliferation and terrorism. They have high degrees of uncertainty over the sensitivity, range, scale, speed.  The discontinuous nature of the threats and the effectiveness and reliability of response strategies remain highly uncertain.

However, climate change is distinct from traditional diplomatic concerns; firstly through the existence of tipping points in the climate system and the ‘lock-in’ of infrastructure which requires unprecedented scale and speed of transformation; and that both emissions and impacts are pervasive, but not distributed evenly. 

In order to dramatically transform economies in a limited timeframe, international cooperation and agreements are vital.  Only international binding agreements can convince business and investors that the world is on a credible low carbon trajectory, so that unraveling a low carbon impetus becomes perceived as a very low probability event.  Much higher degrees of trust and accountability will be required in order for countries to deliver ambitious mitigation efforts that ensure a below 2°C pathway. 

Thus building new trust in the multilateral climate regime - and multilateralism, more generally - is essential to take climate actions around the world to the next level of ambition.  In order to increase the ambition of actions around the world, investments as a result
of national bottom‐up dynamics will need to continue supporting change in the real economy and countries’ perceptions of climate being part of their national interest will need to increase as well.

E3G’s work on climate diplomacy swelled in the run up to Copenhagen, working with civil society organisations, European and non-European governments and think-tanks to provide political analysis and scenarios for Copenhagen.  Since Copenhagen, E3G has been conducting political economy analysis and undertaking political scenarios both ahead of the COPs but also in the run up to the 2015 agreement.  Our focus on identifying the political space available provides a solid framework to analyse the potential pathways and drivers to prioritise effort and identify high value opportunities. 

Our scenarios analysis identify and map key political drivers, including assessments of the political economy analysis of key countries, macro-economic, energy, technology and geo-political trends.  Our scenarios defines the functions required to get an ambitious outcome including defining what constitutes climate security, achieving core global public goods and delivering equity; identify benchmarks for success and outline core strategic intervention which can increase global ambition.

E3G’s climate diplomacy programme is helping to shape the strategic planning of governmental and non-governmental actors.  We aim to contribute towards delivering an ambitious and credible 2015 agreement compatible with a 2 degree outcome.  E3G’s climate diplomacy work engages a wide range of countries, but with a particular focus on Europe and China which are critical actors to securing an ambitious outcome on climate change.