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The EU’s Negotiating Behaviour Across the International Regime Complex on Climate Change: The Case of the International Maritime Organization’s Climate Change Strategy for Shipping

European Union
International Relations
Negotiation
Climate Change
Joseph Earsom
Université catholique de Louvain
Joseph Earsom
Université catholique de Louvain
Tom Delreux
Université catholique de Louvain

Abstract

The EU regularly participates in a number of international fora related to climate change, each with its own norms, functional scope and membership (e.g. UNFCCC, G20, Montreal Protocol, International Maritime Organization [IMO]). Collectively, these fora make up the international regime complex on climate change. Although considerable attention has been paid to the EU’s role within the UNFCCC, there has been significantly less focus on if and how the EU’s negotiation behaviour are linked across the fora of the broader regime complex. Our paper extends the scope of study of the EU’s climate diplomacy to the entirety of the regime complex. It addresses the following research question: How is the EU’s negotiation behaviour linked across the different fora of the international regime complex on climate change? We investigate (1) whether the EU links the negotiations in the different fora in its climate diplomacy; (2) which linkages the EU then employs; and (3) why the EU does so (or not). Pulling from work on international relations, and issue linkages, negotiations, and regime complexes, we conceptualise expected ideal type negotiating behaviours: coalition-building, forum shopping, issue linkage, and siloing/separation. We then develop several hypotheses relating to variables that might prompt different negotiating behaviours. Finally, the paper uses the case study of the IMO’s highly-anticipated 2018 adoption of the Climate Change Strategy for Shipping to explore the validity of our ideal types and test our hypotheses. Using documents, reports from media and observers, and semi-structured interviews with EU officials involved in the events, we aim to (1) provide insight into actor behaviour within regime complexes; (2) better understand the EU’s as an international climate actor in an increasingly complicated multilateral environment, and (3) present findings on the negotiation process of the IMO Strategy and the EU’s role within that process.