Geopolitics of Climate Change

Throughout recent history, governments have competed with each other to secure access to mineral resources, especially oil and gas. Energy trading relationships have considerably shaped international cooperation, as well as foreign and security policies. Since many of the world’s oil and gas reserves are located in fragile or politically unstable places, and are often at the center of countries' economies, the drive to substitute these for cleaner energy sources comes with geopolitical risks. Understanding these risks is an important step for a fair and peaceful transition away from fossil fuels.

The challenge

To achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement, virtually all countries around the world have to remove carbon and other GHGs from their energy systems and broader economies. This will affect patterns in resource demand in the future, which presents a significant risk for certain countries and an opportunity for others. For example, oil-exporting economies will have to deal with stranded assets, while mineral-exporting countries might benefit from a green transition. Another area where conflict risks need to be mitigated is the mushrooming extraction of raw materials.

Both the increased extraction of fossil fuels, minerals and other resources as well as shifting global demand patterns have wide-ranging consequences, including pollution, social disputes, and even conflict. Nations, corporations, and financial markets need to plan now to mitigate the risks posed to all countries by the energy transition away from fossil fuels.

It is an international priority to enforce international and national regulations that protect the environment, and eventually transform the way we produce and consume goods and services. Countries with fewer resources to develop in a carbon-neutral way must receive special attention and support. Climate diplomacy offers a range of tools and entry points to achieve this.

HIGHLIGHTS

Geopolitics of Decarbonisation_ Towards an Analytical Framework

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BRI Kazakhstan_Mistra

From Riches to Rags - Stranded Assets and the Governance Implications for the Fossil Fuel Sector

Decarbonisation

The Geopolitics of Decarbonisation: Reshaping European Foreign Relations

Under the Paris Agreement, governments have committed to radically cutting carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. This decarbonisation process has profound implications for both domestic and foreign policy, and is likely to have important geopolitical consequences. As a global power and leader on climate action, the EU has an important role to play in meeting these challenges.

Geopolitics of Decarbonisation_ Towards an Analytical Framework

Geopolitics of Decarbonisation: Towards an Analytical Framework

Geopolitics of Decarbonisation_ Towards an Analytical Framework

An increasing number of scholars and analysts point out that the necessary decarbonisation of the global economy will impact international affairs and geopolitics. But do we agree on what geopolitics of decarbonisation is (not)? This paper draws on the literature on both geopolitics and decarbonisation to help structure the discussion and identify pertinent questions about future trends.

BRI Kazakhstan_Mistra

The Belt and Road Initiative - The case of Kazakhstan

BRI Kazakhstan_Mistra

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a prime example of how decarbonisation processes interact with geopolitics. The successful implementation of the Paris Agreement depends on the emissions trajectories of the BRI partner countries and the infrastructure choices they make today. China’s support to energy, transportation and industrial projects might influence some of these choices, and these investments often underpin the geopolitical aspirations of China and its partners.

From Riches to Rags - Stranded Assets and the Governance Implications for the Fossil Fuel Sector

From Riches to Rags? – Stranded Assets and the Governance Implications for the Fossil Fuel Sector

From Riches to Rags - Stranded Assets and the Governance Implications for the Fossil Fuel Sector

"From Riches to Rags?" looks into the subject of stranded assets in the fossil fuel sector. Stranded assets are assets that lose value, or generate new liabilities, before they reach the end of their (planned) economic life. In this paper, assets primarily refer to fossil fuel resources (oil, gas and coal) that need to stay in the ground because otherwise the 2-degree target specified in the Paris Agreement would be jeopardised.