Climate Diplomacy
Sustainable Transformation
Global Issues
Daria Ivleva and Dennis Tänzler, adelphi

An increasing number of scholars and analysts point out that the necessary decarbonisation of the global economy will impact international affairs and geopolitics. But do we agree on what geopolitics of decarbonisation is (not)? This paper draws on the literature on both geopolitics and decarbonisation to help structure the discussion and identify pertinent questions about future trends.

Geopolitics and decarbonisation are broad topics which have inspired much academic and policy thinking, but less attention has been paid to how exactly they interrelate. For one, decarbonisation processes are embedded in geopolitics. Most measures to reduce emissions depend on nation states and their governments. At the same time, resource geographies and their impact on international relations change in a decarbonising world. So, decarbonisation, in turn, has implications for geopolitics.

In this paper we suggest a way to structure the links between the two concepts, drawing on existing literature, in order to help define geopolitics of decarbonisation as a field of inquiry. The goal of the paper is not to create an entirely new framework. It is rather to clarify which questions constitute this emerging research agenda. This is done partly by asking where decarbonisation research already includes geopolitical thinking and which tools scholars of geopolitics give us to analyse the trends of decarbonisation.

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