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

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, is working on innovative approaches to climate foreign policy, and is exploring the existing and future scope for climate diplomacy action. In order to meet both the practical and strategic challenges, new ideas are being developed in an exchange with German and international players. adelphi is identifying various options to connect thematically to the agendas of international forums, and to embed the climate discourse firmly within them. Dialogue formats within the framework of the UN, G7, EU, as well as African and Asian regional organisations are being extended for this purpose. Thus, for example, the development of the European Climate Diplomacy Action Plan and the implementation of the EU Global Strategy are being supported through in-depth analyses, recommendations, workshops and expert consultations.

Through studies and policy papers, adelphi is analysing and discussing the geopolitical importance of global trends, such as decarbonisation, food security, urbanisation and migration, and is drafting proposals for foreign policy action plans. The study ‘Geopolitics of decarbonisation’ is examining the effects of the phasing out of fossil fuels on specific countries and regions, as well as on bilateral relationships. Energy exporters, often dependent on export revenues and facing increased upheaval, are in the focus. This often concerns fragile states that are, simultaneously, of great importance to the German and European energy supplies. The study develops proposals on how the transition processes should be adopted by foreign and climate policy in order to prevent possible destabilisations. The results are being introduced and discussed at national and international meetings.    

Networking with regional players is important for intensifying international climate action. Therefore, in this project, the exchange and the joint organisation of meetings with governments, partner organisations, and civil society is of great importance. Apart from this, adelphi is continuously making efforts towards focused knowledge building for the public and for diplomats. adelphi maintains and expands existing, successful public diplomacy instruments that ensure climate topics and complex foreign policy problems are easily accessible, thereby raising public awareness. The interactive knowledge platform Climate Diplomacy, a touring exhibition, and other multimedia learning opportunities are therefore important components of the project.

Publications of this project