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Parallel Universe: EU Cross-forum Coherence on Climate in International Transport Fora


Following the Paris Agreement, the European Union (EU) prioritised climate negotiations in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), attempting to work in a way that was consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Examining the negotiations of ICAO CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, 2016) and the IMO Initial Strategy (2018), I demonstrate that the EU’s objectives and external action were in fact incoherent with its approach to the UNFCCC. This incoherence appeared to be the result of a limited appetite for climate action in ICAO/IMO. In the former, this situation was exacerbated by the forum’s technical nature, mismatched priorities and limited coordination between EU climate and transport spheres. In the latter, a lack of political interest at the EU and international levels also played a role.
Keywords: European Union; climate change; transport decarbonisation; policy coherence; international climate governance