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European Union Foreign Policy and the Global Climate Regime

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Simon Schunz

Ever since the first international negotiations on climate change in the early 1990s, the European Union has aspired to play a leading role in global climate politics.
This book engages in a longitudinal analysis of the EU’s participation in and impact on the United Nations climate regime.
It provides not only comprehensive insights into the evolution of EU foreign climate policy, but also a thought-provoking audit of the potential and limits of the EU’s influence in a major domain of global affairs.
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Chapter 1. Analytical Framework: Studying the European Union’s Influence on the Global Climate Regime

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Studying the European Union’s influence on the Global Climate Regime

This chapter develops the analytical framework that guides the study. Three components of this framework are successively introduced: (i) the key concepts of influence attempts and influence; (ii) theoretical considerations derived from EU foreign policy studies and regime theory; (iii) the influence analysis methodology applied to the case study.

The central objective of this study is to investigate the EU’s impact on global climate politics. To do so, a concept has to be designed that is capable of linking an actor-centric perspective, focussed on the EU, to the analysis of global politics. By referring to EU activities in the global climate regime as foreign policy, i.e. an area of politics directed at the external environment with the objective of influencing that environment, influence was identified as suitable to serve as this hinge. The concept captures the relationship between a purposive actor and its surrounding at the global level, at which this actor potentially causes change.

Employing a sufficiently specified concept of influence has several advantages for the type of study envisaged. first, as “all politics is the exercise of influence” (Dahl/Stinebrickner 2003: 34), manifold definitions and conceptualizations exist. This makes it not only possible but even necessary to build the concept of influence in a manner “appropriate to the substance of the phenomenon” that is studied (Goertz 2006: 16). Second, several influence analysis methods have already been applied...

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