Chapter 12 A Trump effect on European Union climate ambitions? The European Council and Council of the EU’s responses to US climate contestation
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Previously a driving force behind the negotiations of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the United States of America under former President Donald J. Trump dismantled not only domestic but also international climate governance and withdrew his country from the Paris Agreement. President Trump’s open and radical contestation of international climate politics raises the question of how the European Union, as another key actor in international climate politics and promoter of high climate ambition, reacted to the renewed contestation of the norm of ambitious global climate action. This chapter focuses on the European Council and Council of the EU’s responses to this external contestation. We qualitatively analyze and compare meeting documents from the pre-Trump (2014-2016) and the Trump period (2017-2019), tracing how the EU countered President Trump’s climate-skeptic positions and signalled its strong commitment to the norm of ambitious global climate action. Our analysis shows that the EU countered President Trump’s climate-skeptic positions and signalled its strong commitment to the norm of ambitious global climate action. Those rhetorical actions aimed at limiting the potential contagious effect of the US climate contestation on the EU internally and other international actors.

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