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Geopolitics of Decarbonisation: Towards an Analytical Framework

Geopolitics of Decarbonisation_ Towards an Analytical Framework

Geopolitics and decarbonisation are broad topics which have inspired much academic and policy thinking, but less attention has been paid to how exactly they interrelate. For one, decarbonisation processes are embedded in geopolitics. Most measures to reduce emissions depend on nation states and their governments. At the same time, resource geographies and their impact on international relations change in a decarbonising world. So, decarbonisation, in turn, has implications for geopolitics.

In this paper we suggest a way to structure the links between the two concepts, drawing on existing literature, in order to help define geopolitics of decarbonisation as a field of inquiry. The goal of the paper is not to create an entirely new framework. It is rather to clarify which questions constitute this emerging research agenda. This is done partly by asking where decarbonisation research already includes geopolitical thinking and which tools scholars of geopolitics give us to analyse the trends of decarbonisation.

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Based on the findings from the report "Geopolitics of Decarbonisation" this policy brief focuses on six fossil-fuel exporting countries – Azerbaijan, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Qatar – where fossil fuels have played an important role in external relations with the EU and analyses how they may be affected by the decarbonisation of Europe.