All Hands on Deck - A Realist Perspective on EU-China Climate Change Cooperation
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Over the past decades, the EU and China have increasingly cooperated on the topic of climate change. Numerous studies have been carried out that highlight institutionalization and mutual gains as factors contributing to this cooperation. Realism, however, an important theoretical tradition, has often been ignored, which limits our understanding of EU-China climate change cooperation. This thesis aimed to fill this gap, by adjusting Contingent and Offensive Realism, traditionally preoccupied with military power, to the topic of climate change. In doing so, this thesis identified new factors that contributed to the emergence and endurance of EU-China climate change cooperation. It found that uncertainty reducing communication strategies aided the emergence of EU-China climate change cooperation. Furthermore, it uncovered that endurance of said cooperation was due, at least in part, to (a) recognition of climate change as a common threat and (b) recognition of cooperation as necessary to reduce the common threat. Through its analysis, this thesis demonstrates the explanatory power of Realist theories for EU-China climate change cooperation, thereby warranting future applications of Realism on related topics.