Summer School on Sustainable Development 2009: Decarbonizing Europe and the World. European Climate Policy — Internal and External Dimensions

Hurricane Katrina in the United States, bush fires in Australia, floods in South Asia. Natural disasters all around the world demon­strate in an alarming way, how a warming planet could look like within a compar­a­tively short period of time. Meanwhile, the economic and financial crisis confronts the world with its much more direct impacts to everyday life and tells inter­na­tional climate policy to step back on the agenda for a moment. Despite the current economic problems, the reduction of green­house gas emissions and the adaptation to a changing environment remain more urgent than ever before in order to prevent serious environ­mental, social and economic damages. The Kyoto Protocol is due to expire in 2012 and until today, the contracting states are far away from signing a follow-up agreement to combat climate change. Therefore much aspiration is put on the forth­coming Post-Kyoto Conference in Copen­hagen. After deciding on a legally binding climate policy in December 2008, the European Union is assumed to lead the Conference to a success and thus to complete the tenacious climate negoti­a­tions. Never­theless, several crucial questions remain open until today: Will Europe´s efforts be suffi­cient to bring other countries to agree on a post-Kyoto treaty? What are the condi­tions for devel­oping countries to accept emission reduc­tions? Which factors influence the EU´s ability to fulfill such a leadership function in the ongoing fight against global warming?

The 2nd Inter­na­tional Summer School on Sustainable Devel­opment discussed these questions by illumi­nating the internal and external dimen­sions of European climate policy. First of all, the academy addresses the social, political and economic aspects deter­mining European action in the field of climate policy. In a second step, it concen­trated on the inter­na­tional framework of climate policy, thereby analyzing the role of the major global actors in the post-Kyoto process and the ensuing challenges for the European Union.

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