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China's Challenge in Climate Change

King's College London, Room S-1.04, Srand Campus
27/01/2016 (16:00-18:00)
Dr Sam Beatson (

Dr Yuka Kobayashi, School of Oriental and African Studies


China is the world’s number one emitter of greenhouse gases, but under the Kyoto Protocol, was classified as a non-Annex 1 country. This allowed the country to have no emissions caps under the Kyoto Regime, but things have changed under the new Paris Agreement. The new structure abolishes the ‘firewall’ between developed countries and developing countries, which hampered the success of the Kyoto Protocol. At the same time, Beijing is signalling that it is a responsible power, submitting its nationally determined targets before India and vocal in its support for a legally binding commitment in the lead-up to Paris. The Sino-US and Sino-French Agreements were also seminal in bringing about the agreement in Paris which attests to the importance of China in climate change. However, being primarily reliant on coal for its energy, the country has serious challenges in climate change mitigation. This paper explores how the rising power, China, has positioned itself in the global governance regime of climate change. China’s impact on climate change is first assessed, subsequently the domestic and international factors that shape China’s participation in the UN Framework Convention in Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be examined.

Key words: global governance, climate change, energy, China.

About the speaker

Dr Yuka Kobayashi (LL.B Kyoto, MPhil, DPhil Oxon) is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in China and International Politics at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Prior to joining SOAS, she was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include International Relations of China and East Asia, International Law (International Economic Law, Environmental Law, and Human Rights Law).

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