Priorities for EU climate and energy diplomacy

20. 02. 2024

Input by E3G and Strategic Perspectives to the Foreign Affairs Council

On 18 March 2024, Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will adopt conclusions on climate and energy diplomacy. They are a unique opportunity to align the 27 European Union (EU) countries on the interpretation of the UAE consensus adopted at the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and set out what this means for the EU and its diplomacy. The European contribution to the success of COP28 was significant, notably with regard to the mitigation section, the work foreseen on a broader financial reform and the establishment of the Loss and Damage fund with initial contributions.

The FAC conclusions will be the first EU public statement post-COP28 and can reiterate the importance of the global decision to phase-out fossil fuels, the timeline to submit the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the need to advance on financial reforms in the run-up to the decisions taken on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance and how that relates to the urgency to scale up finance for adaptation and loss and damage.

It is the right moment to set a diplomatic vision for next two years, with COP29 in Baku, Azerbaijan, and COP30 in Belém, Brazil.

COP30 is critical to ensure the viability of the Paris Agreement, a linchpin of multilateral cooperation in times of geopolitical turmoil. The submission of the next round of NDCs well ahead of COP30 in Belém is a make-or-break moment for aligning global emissions with net-zero by 2050 and keeping a climate-safe scenario within reach.

The success of the UAE consensus will also be judged based on the ensuing decisions on climate finance at COP29 and the next round of NDCs.

In this paper, we also argue that these conclusions provide the right setting for giving initial guidance for the EU diplomatic priorities for 2024-2029. Amid geopolitical uncertainties and a wide range of expectations on EU financial support, the future European climate and energy diplomacy needs to be more focused, efficient and closer integrated with its own financial instruments, while leveraging its role as a key enabler of wider finance system reforms.