Climate protection cannot be separated from the battle for hegemony taking place between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Within the context of this high-intensity geopolitical conflict, climate protection has taken on a well-defined geopolitical dimension. The Franco-German tandem should encourage the European Union to confront this reality, in order to pursue a climate realpolitik that combines cooperation and competition.
Global warming poses a challenge to the planet as a whole. In fact, that goes without saying-greenhouse gases don’t stop at borders. Climate protection thus concerns the global community. And because international cooperation is vital to curbing climate change, it is frequently claimed that international cooperation on climate change should be separated from other political conflicts. But this is not the case now; a new geopolitical order is being established in the world. The United States and the People’s Republic of China have long been engaged in a competition for hegemony, the effects of which are felt in every field and sector. As a result, the European Union in general, and France and Germany in particular, must pursue a climate policy towards China that factors in the geopolitical dimension. China has been on this path for some time; the pandemic has not made the situation any less complex. While Beijing has been growing at a brisk and brazen pace, the economy in Europe has stalled. And yet, a strong economy is what’s needed to take the green transformation forward-and ultimately, to protect the climate.
China’s stranglehold on the climate industry’s value chain
For Beijing, protecting the climate means dominating the green technologies of tomorrow. This has been a key part of the “Made in China 2025” strategy, which focuses on making China the global leader in technology. The results are undeniable-the Middle Kingdom produces three-quarters of the world’s photovoltaic panels, controls over a third of the world’s wind turbine market and dominates the global production of electric car batteries. These markets, which will continue to grow in importance as climate protection efforts intensify, are the drivers of future prosperity. If Europe fails to establish itself in these sectors, it will be at a loss to assert itself economically…