Chime Youdon

Chime Youdon

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Title: China’s participation in climate change negotiation


Chime Youdon is a PhD candidate in Centre for European Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is currently working on her PhD thesis titled “The European Union and China in Climate Change Negotiations: From Copenhagen (2009) to Paris (2015). She has completed her MPhil dissertation, titled “The EU-China Strategic Partnership: Arms Embargo and Human Rights”. She has participated in many national and international conferences. Her areas of research interest are climate change, foreign policy, gender issues, human rights and the EU and China Strategic Interest and Tibet and China-related issues.


For China, the environment was a neglected issue for a long time while emissions continued to rise because of its rapid industrialization and urbanization. A modest shift has taken place in Beijing’s approach to environmental governance. China had moved from a state of ignorance and denial about the possibility of global climate change to a situation where the Chinese leadership recognises its growing importance. In reality, China is already the world’s largest Green House Gas emitter. China’s environmental problems are mounting. Water pollution and scarcity are burdening the economy. Rising levels of air pollution are endangering the health of millions of Chinese. As China’s pollution increases, so do the risks to its economy, health, stability and international reputation. While, China argued that since developed countries polluted the atmosphere as they become wealthy, so they ought to reduce their emission before they expect China to do so. In a way, China does not want to bind GHG emission targets until China becomes a wealthy and developed nation. However, under a plan submitted to the UN ahead of crucial climate change talks in Paris November 2015, China aimed to cut its greenhouse gas emission per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 60-65 percent from 2005 levels. However, the core question is: will China make a commitment to the reduction targets set at COP21? The total aggregate size of China and its growing assimilation with the rest of the world mean that what it does or does not do in the environmental sphere will increasingly impact the world. Thus, climate diplomacy has become an essential component of Chinese foreign policy with its growing ambition to become a major world power. Above all, the response to the existential threat posed by a global warming was subdued by the priority given to economic growth. The politics of climate change becomes no more than a means to the end of economic development and growth. In this backdrop, this research seeks to analyze the role and performance of China in climate change negotiations.