Book Review: Diarmuid Torney, European Climate Leadership in Question: Policies Toward China and India

Date01 April 2018
Published date01 April 2018
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews
Diarmuid Torney, European Climate Leadership in Question: Policies
Toward China and India (Cambridge, MA: Institute of Technology,
2015), xvii+285 pp, $64 (Hardcover), $32 (Paperback).
In climate negotiations, the EU, China and India have played prominent roles,
seemingly more so since the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on 1st June
2017. The EU has actively claimed leadership in the international climate regime
since 1992. Meanwhile, China and India are two of the major emitters in the
world, ranking at number 1 and number 4, respectively. Without the active partici-
pation of these three actors, climate governance could hardly be meaningful. If the
EU engages with China and India effectively on climate issues, it would not
only contribute to curbing global emissions, but also inject confidence in the
international community.
Existing literature on this theme has scrutinized the performance of EU climate
policies but falls short of applying case studies to examine the EU’s climate
foreign policies towards particular countries and their responses. Bäckstrand and
Elgström (2013) have elaborated upon how the EU modified its strategy at Durban
(2011) as compared to Copenhagen (2009) in order to increase the effectiveness
of its external engagement. However, their work does not scrutinize the responses
of the target countries with which the EU negotiated. Likewise, while Vogler
(2005) highlights the significance of coherence across different issues like trade,
agriculture and environment in EU’s efforts to play a leading role in environ-
mental governance, he too does not examine the response of other states to EU’s
claimed leadership. The existing corpus (Afionis, 2011; Geeraerts, 2011; Groen &
Oberthür, 2012; Scott & Rajamani, 2012) falls short of examining how the internal
factors within a country impact its stances on external engagement. Negotiating
parties are viewed as unitary actors without looking at the domestic fabric. Holzer
and Zhang (2008) take one step forward to uncover the nature of China’s climate
policymaking, arguing it is an outcome of a compromise between different interests
at the domestic level. However, a holistic assessment of the impact of different
domestic actors on its climate policy is missing. Given these gaps, this volume is
a welcome addition in that it examines whether the EU has succeeded in engaging
with China and India as a competent ‘climate leader’ and also seeks to iden tify
the reasons accounting for the different levels of effectiveness of its engagement
with the two countries. In short, the author meaningfully analyses the internal
International Studies
55(2) 194–212
2018 Jawaharlal Nehru University
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0020881718791848

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