Connecting countries to climate technology solutions
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Russian Spanish Yoruba

China in the international politics of climate change: a foreign policy analysis

Publication date:
I. Bjørkum
Type of publication:
Relevant for:
CTCN Keyword Matches:

Expected to become the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases within a few decades, China is key to the the success of global efforts to combat climate change. This report looks into the developments in China's political response to the threat of climate change from the late 1980s until 2004.Three explanatory models are used to identify the factors that have influenced Chinese foreign policymaking on climate change in the past, and how these factors are likely to influence its future policy. The overall finding is that economic interests and the primacy of economic growth seem to be most prominent consideration in guiding the direction of the country's climate change policy.The paper also makes a number of predictions for China's future climate change policies. Given the expected increase in energy demand and the limited capacity to substitute coal with other sources of energy, it is not likely that China will accept binding emission reduction targets in the near future. However, increasing recognition and priority of local pollution problems and ambitious energy efficiency goals provide promising avenues for a further decrease in carbon intensity. [adapted from author]