Climate Change Politics in an Authoritarian State: The Ambivalent Case of China

Miranda A. Schreurs

in The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199566600
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Climate Change Politics in an Authoritarian State: The Ambivalent Case of China

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  • Public Policy
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This article begins with an overview of China's energy mix and the country's growing contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. It considers how China's leaders have used China's status as the world's second largest economy to demand greater voice in the international climate negotiations, but also exploited its status as a transition economy with millions who still live at various levels of poverty to resist international demands that China take on binding climate mitigation goals. This article then discusses steps that have been taken in China to strengthen institutional capacity and plans, laws, and programs that have been introduced to combat climate change, develop renewable energies, and improve energy efficiency. It also considers the extent to which Chinese authorities are permitting critical voices, and specifically environmental groups, to form and be active. Furthermore, this article considers whether China is developing a new form of environmental authoritarianism.

Keywords: climate change politics; authoritarian state; global greenhouse gas emission; energy mix; environmental authoritarianism

Article.  6630 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Policy ; Comparative Politics

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