It is common knowledge that the European Union has led international climate negotiations. First, during the preparations of the UNFCCC (1992), the European Commission defended a stabilization target stipulating that by 2000 emissions should be at the levels of 1990. Later, on the road to the Kyoto Protocol (1997), the EU presented the most ambitious proposal for the reduction of GHG among all those presented by industrialized countries. Similarly, the EU resisted the different formulae to reduce the costs of abating emissions, such as flexibility mechanisms or certain sinks. Finally, the EU targets for 2020 are framing the post-2012 debate, as could be seen in the COPs held in Bali (2007) and Poznan´ (2008). This leadership has also involved diplomatic initiatives at key moments.

The member states and the EU itself were the first major emitters to ratify the Kyoto Protocol in May 2002. Similarly, after George W. Bush announced in March 2001 that the US would not ratify, it was the EU that embarked on an intense diplomatic offensive to avoid a cascade of renunciations. The decision of the Russian Federation to ratify Kyoto, allowing its entrance into force, has also been partially attributed to behind-the-scenes negotiations on the part of the European Union. The exercise of this leadership has been well studied: we know what the

leadership has consisted of, and what its strong and weak points have been (Jaeger et al. 1997; Grubb and Gupta 2000: 18; Andresen and Agrawala 2001; Gupta and Ringius 2001; Harris 2007: 22). However, surprisingly few studies have addressed the specific decision-making mechanism by which the EU’s foreign climate policy is formed. How are decisions being made on that matter and who is making them? This chapter conceives foreign climate policy as the interplay between “(1) domestic forces, institutions and actors involved in environmental decision making and the implementation of environmental policies,” on the one hand, and “(2) international forces, institutions and actors” (Harris 2007: 16), on the other. It is precisely the focus on this overlap that makes foreign policy analysis well suited to studying the responses to environmental changes. The chapter is divided into three parts. The first will identify the actors

that control the decision-making process by which EU foreign climate policy

preferred approach. The third section will review the impact on the EU policy process of the very existence of international negotiations and agreements. Finally, the last section will take stock of the discussion and draw some conclusions