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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The European Union at Copenhagen : actorness, leadership and the international climate change regime Mcilwain, John Robertson


The European Union has gained a reputation in recent years as a ʻgreenʼ leader, especially within the UNFCCC. That reputation perhaps amplified the perceived failure that occurred at the 15th Conference of Parties in December 2009 in Copenhagen. Why was Copenhagen such a disappointment? The post-modern character of the European Union—as a polity somewhere between a federal state and a international organization —has often made it difficult for the organization to take on a leadership role, nay operate, within the traditional international relations structure. The reasons for the EUʼs recent difficulty within the climate change regime may reside with two factors. First, an undeveloped sense of ʻactornessʼ on the part of the EU and, second, systemic problems within the regime itself. Here we analyze what happened at the Conference by looking at the development of the EUʼs role and polices within the climate change regime

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