About the Publication


Report ,


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.

With the European Green Deal, launched by the European Commission in 2019, now at the heart of EU politics and its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more pressing to consider what the EU foreign policy community should take into consideration when developing and implementing the deal’s external dimensions.

This report, supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and prepared by the Berlin-based think tank adelphi and the Institute for European Studies at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), provides insights on these dimensions of the European Green Deal, and on how EU external relations can evolve to accelerate and shape the transition to a decarbonised world. The report’s findings are based on six case studies – Azerbaijan, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Qatar.

This report contributes to the emerging literature on the geopolitical implications of decarbonisation and energy transition processes, with a specific focus on the EU’s foreign policies and external relations. The detailed case studies represent a broad cross-section of fossil fuel-exporting countries, and consider the complex interaction of the multiple factors at play in decarbonisation processes. Specifically, these case studies explore each country’s economic exposure to decarbonisation, their potential to diversify and develop a low-carbon economy, and their external relations with the EU.


Topics: Climate Diplomacy; Energy; Sustainable Transformation; Decarbonization

Authors of this publication

Dennis Tänzler , Emily Wright , Sebastian Oberthür ,