EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY SCORECARD 2016

Global governance

67 - Relations with Asian partners on energy and climate change

Grade: B+
Unity 4/5
Resources 3/5
Strategy 4/5
Impact 3/5
Total 14/20

European governments showed strong unity on climate change, working to push China and other Asian countries ahead of the Paris conference

In terms of Europe’s unity and effectiveness on climate change, 2015 was a good year. The COP21 Paris climate conference helped focus the policy of the EU and its member states on this issue, providing a clear deadline and goal to work towards. Climate change was high on the EU’s agenda throughout the year. Mogherini mentioned it during each of her visits to Asia, as did senior EU officials at the ASEAN–EU’s Senior Officials’ Meeting in July.

The Commission was central to EU efforts on this issue, as were EU delegations in Asia, which carried out local initiatives and outreach. The EU also worked actively with various Asian countries, maintaining pressure on Pakistan and Malaysia throughout the year and in the run-up to the conference.

Member states also participated in these efforts. France was most active, as host of the climate conference, and made numerous high-level visits to Asia, including – notably – China. Beijing, which will have a central role in implementing the Paris agreement, as the largest producer of carbon emissions globally, remained committed to the goals it endorsed in its November 2014 joint statement with the US, reasserting them during Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s official visit to Paris in July.

The EU and China also published a joint statement on climate following their summit, which even went beyond the previous year’s US–China statement, as the EU garnered agreement from China to aim for an “ambitious and legally binding agreement” at the Paris conference. Although this did not result in a more specific commitment at the conference, it was a major and welcome difference from the US’s negotiating stance on climate change. China’s engagement in the process was likely motivated by internal pressure for a more sustainable economic model as well as by external calls for increased climate engagement.