Summary of China’s Multifaceted Climate Record

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China’s rapid rise to an economic superpower has greatly increased its global environmental footprint. Yet the country’s elevated economic and political status has also given it considerable leverage in shaping global environmental protection efforts. The nonprofit organization Chinadialogue monitors the country’s environmental challenges and has experts from inside and outside China weigh in on ways to mitigate them. This report – published ahead of the 2018 Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland – discusses the extent to which China is following up its pro-climate political rhetoric with concrete actions and how China is addressing other environmental issues of global importance.

About the Authors

The authors write or edit for Chinadialogue, a nonprofit organization – founded by Isabel Hilton – that provides independent reports about China’s impact on the environment.



Rhetorically, China remains committed to its Paris Climate Accord pledge to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Yet Beijing’s policies often contradict the government’s stated objectives. In the first half of 2018, China’s electricity needs rose by 9.4%, which led Beijing to backtrack on an earlier pledge and resume construction of new coal-fired power plants. China has also fallen short on its stated commitment to invest in clean energy projects in developing countries as part of its South-South Climate Cooperation initiative. As a leading investor in the public energy sector in Africa, China would be in a position to nudge the continent toward a more climate-friendly future by investing more heavily in solar and wind energy. However, Chinese contractors have...

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