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This discussion paper analyses the crucial role of the European Union on climate change. Historically, the EU has taken a leadership role in tackling climate change, but it now faces multiple economic, political and institutional challenges. “Brexit,” the decision by UK voters to leave the EU, represents only one manifestation of this. At the same time, overcoming these complex challenges is of urgent importance, not only in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, but also because current policies appear to be insufficient to meet the landmark agreement’s objective of keeping the increase in average global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius, or below the more ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius target.

Against this backdrop, this discussion paper describes several options about how the EU might meet these challenges. It looks at ways the EU might use ambitious climate change policies to strengthen the European project itself and to increase its credibility on the international scene – thus reclaiming its leadership role on tackling climate change.

The discussion paper is part of the European Horizon 2020 programme, Coordination and Assessment of Research and Innovation in Support of climate Mitigation Actions (CARISMA), which focuses on EU climate and energy policies and mitigation technologies.

Download the discussion paper (PDF)