The Geopolitics of the Climate Transition: Security Threats, Power Struggles and a Test for Multilateralism

This new report from the BFPG sets out the geopolitical implications of the climate action transition, and how the winners and losers of climate change and the race to net-zero will shape international power and global governance over the coming decade. It finds:

• While the climate transition is essential to protecting our long-term resilience to the impacts of climate change, China’s dominance of both the resources and infrastructure for producing renewable energy poses significant challenges to the UK’s national security and the West’s broader resilience.

• The global energy crisis highlights the need to diversify our energy supply chains and to invest in the climate transition. However, the immediate challenges posed by the crisis threaten to temporarily set back current progress on climate action.

• Despite rhetorical commitments by both the United States and China to cooperate on climate change, President Xi’s absence at COP26 suggests significant limitations to the opportunities for Western cooperation with China on climate change, even as China increasingly looks to assume a climate leadership role.

• It is unlikely that developed nations will meet the US$100 billion climate finance target ahead of COP26, and securing bold commitments for climate financing in the developing world must be seen as a strategic necessity to the West.

• Despite the UK’s best efforts, the prospects of securing seismic commitments to climate action at COP26 are looking increasingly marginal, however, there is still ample scope for the conference to smooth the path for future cooperation.




Evie Aspinall

Evie is a Researcher at the British Foreign Policy Group.