Anthropocene Geopolitics and Foreign Policy: Exploring the link in the EU case

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Scholarly literature has recently developed the notions of Anthropocene geopolitics and planetary security. How these relate to and whether they inform states’ foreign policy, however, remains a largely underdeveloped issue. This article goes some way toward addressing this gap both theoretically and empirically. Theoretically, it unpacks how traditional and Anthropocene geopolitics diverge in their approach toward the security repercussions of climate change and teases out the emanating foreign policy implications. These revolve around different levels of climate ambition, divergent approaches to fossil energy geopolitics, and differing weighting of planetary security versus mainstream geopolitical threats. Against this theoretical background, this article empirically zooms in on the EU case to explore which geopolitical mindset guides EU’s pursuit of climate change concerns and their incorporation in the EU foreign policy design. The analysis finds that, despite its comprehensive foreign climate policy initiatives, the EU remains fixed to a traditional geopolitical mindset and a foreign policy that underappreciates planetary security threats. This article subsequently operationalizes a foreign policy design informed by the Anthropocene geopolitics approach and sketches what it would entail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-101
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jun 2020


  • energy demand
  • fossil divestment
  • geopolitics
  • planetary security
  • renewables
  • trade diplomacy


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