Chapter

Chinese responsibility for climate change

Paul G. Harris

in China's responsibility for climate change

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9781847428134
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301844 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847428134.003.0010
Chinese responsibility for climate change

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This chapter returns to some of the major themes of the book in a final attempt to answer the underlying question at hand: is China responsible for climate change? Not surprisingly, the answer must always be prefaced by ‘it depends’. It depends on whether people are looking only at the Chinese state or also at the Chinese people. Arguably, the responsibility of the former is less from the perspective of the past and greater from a future perspective. Some still argue, as the Chinese government does, that its ‘responsibility’ remains very low because the country's per-capita emissions have been low historically and remain low relative to most developed countries. That said, one cannot deny that China's GHG emissions are affecting the global climate in profound ways, and even its per-capita emissions now exceed the global average.

Keywords: China; climate change; Chinese state; Chinese people; historical responsibility; per-capita emissions; GHG emissions; global climate

Chapter.  4503 words. 

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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