Challenges and Opportunities in Global Climate Diplomacy with Katja Biedenkopf

Amid increasing concerns on global climate change, Dr. Katja Biedenkopf, DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Leuven, discusses the politics of current global climate negotiations with AICGS President Dr. Jackson Janes. She points out that, despite the achievement of the recent Paris Agreement, more serious commitments from governments around the world are needed to counter the threat of substantial climate change. Dr. Biedenkopf observes that while the politics of climate change in Germany is coherent among established parties, substantial commitment on climate policy in the U.S. is obstructed by a fragmented state-by-state approach as well as a divided U.S. Congress. Despite political challenges, she says, the private sector can benefit enormously from development of green technologies, as the market has demonstrated in Germany. International partners outside of the transatlantic network can also aid the advancement of technological and policy innovation.

June 3, 2016
The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.

Katja Biedenkopf

University of Leuven, Belgium

Dr. Katja Biedenkopf was a Visiting Fellow and DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow from February through July 2016. She is Assistant Professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Her research centers on climate and environmental policy. Dr. Biedenkopf has conducted research on the external effects of European Union environmental policy on the United States, China, and South Korea, in particular in the areas of electronic waste, chemicals, and climate policy. She also has worked on questions regarding global environmental governance, the diffusion of greenhouse gas emissions trading, and policy entrepreneurship. Previously, Dr. Biedenkopf worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands; as a postdoctoral fellow at the Free University of Berlin, Germany; and as a doctoral research fellow at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Biedenkopf worked as EU Affairs Manager at the American Electronics Association, a Brussels-based trade association.

Dr. Biedenkopf’s research project at AICGS analyzes and compares the ways in which Germany, the United States, and the European Union engage in climate diplomacy. To push for the adoption of an international climate agreement in Paris in December 2015, Germany, the U.S., and the EU, among other nations, stepped up their outreach to various countries, trying to build momentum for the negotiation process. Their climate diplomacy strategies aimed at shaping debates and influencing the definition of countries’ national interests so as to influence their position in the negotiations. The project maps, analyzes, and compares these initiatives.