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Chinese Energy and Environmental Politics

ChinaFNI research on China focuses on the country's environmental, climate change and energy problems and policies, as well as its interests in the Arctic.

China's rapid economic growth in the past two decades has greatly raised the living standards of the Chinese population. However, rapid economic growth is creating environmental problems at national, regional and global levels. China's increasing greenhouse gas emissions is one example.

At the same time, China's emerging political and economic strength makes it a key partner in solving global environmental problems, and China is increasingly showing leadership in international discussions.

FNI research on China analyses the country's environmental, climate change and energy problems and policy, attempts to understand how environment-related bureaucracy and decision-making works, and analyses the role China will play in international cooperation on climate change and other environmental and energy issues.

More recently, FNI is also engaged in analysis of China's Arctic policies.

Selected ongoing projects:
 The AsiArctic Programme.
 Capacity to Govern Climate Mitigation in China and Russia.
 Designing Effective Emissions Trading: The Contribution of International Diffusion (ETS-DIFFUSION).
 Strategic Challenges in International Climate and Energy Policy (CICEP).

Important past projects:
 Conditions for Change in International Climate Policy: The Role of China, the EU and the US (2009-2013).
 Environmental Impact Assessment of a Norwegian-Chinese Free Trade Agreement (2010-2011).
 China's Climate Change Policy (2009).
 Key Actors and the Climate Regime: Lessons and Future Options. Domestic and International Developments in China’s Climate Change Policymaking (2004-2009).
 The Role of the UN in Global Environmental Governance: Potential for Increased Effectiveness? Performance of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in China (2002-2009).
 Building Capacity for the Clean Development Mechanism in China: CDM Policy Building Support (2004-2006).
 Blueprint for East Asian Energy Efficiency Cooperation (2005-2006).

Steinar Andresen (Research Professor) contact person
Gørild Heggelund (Senior Research Fellow)
Iselin Stensdal (Research Fellow)

Selected FNI publications, Chinese energy and environmental politics:


Lunde, Leiv, Jian Yang and Iselin Stensdal (eds), Asian Countries and the Arctic Future. Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 2016, 292 p.

Articles and reports

Heggelund, Goerild, 'Aspects that are important to consider in the design phase of the national ETS'. Environomist China Carbon Market Research Report 2016. Beijing, Environomist, 2016, pp. 23-27,

Peng Jingchao and Njord Wegge, 'China’s bilateral diplomacy in the Arctic'. Polar Geography, Vol 38, No 3, 2015, pp. 233-249.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'China: Every Day is a Winding Road'. In G. Bang, A. Underdal and S. Andresen (eds), The Domestic Politics of Global Climate Change. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar, 2015, pp. 49-70.

Cheng, Han and Per Ove Eikeland, China’s political economy of coal: Drivers and challenges to restructuring China’s energy system. FNI Report 10/2015. Lysaker, FNI, 2015, 36 p.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'Coming of age? Asian Arctic research, 2004-2013'. Polar Record, Vol 52, No 2, 2016, pp. 134-143.

Wettestad, Jørgen and Lars H.Gulbrandsen, The Evolution of Carbon Trading Systems: Waves, Design and Diffusion. FNI Report 9/2015. Lysaker, FNI, 2015, 40 p.

Stokke, Olav Schram, 'Can Asian Involvement Strengthen Arctic Governance?'. In Leiv Lunde, Yang Jian and Iselin Stensdal (eds), Asian Countries and the Arctic Future. Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 2016, pp. 51-60.

Moe, Arild, 'International Use of the Northern Sea Route - Trends and Prospects'. In Leiv Lunde, Yang Jian and Iselin Stensdal (eds), Asian Countries and the Arctic Future. Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 2016, pp. 107-120.

Wegge, Njord, 'Governance and Ownership of the Arctic Ocean: Living Resources and the Continental Shelf'. In Leiv Lunde, Yang Jian and Iselin Stensdal (eds), Asian Countries and the Arctic Future. Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 2016, pp. 143-154.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'Arctic Mining: Asian Interests and Opportunities'. In Leiv Lunde, Yang Jian and Iselin Stensdal (eds), Asian Countries and the Arctic Future. Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 2016, pp. 155-167.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'The Future of the Arctic and the Asian Countries: Concluding Remarks'. In Leiv Lunde, Yang Jian and Iselin Stensdal (eds), Asian Countries and the Arctic Future. Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 2016, pp. 265-280.

Gjeset, Emil, Between Fragmentation and Harmony. The Political Economy of Shale Gas in China. FNI Report 15/2014. Lysaker, FNI, 2014, 53 p.

Peng Jingchao and Njord Wegge, 'China and the Law of the Sea: Implications for Arctic Governance'. The Polar Journal, Vol 4, No 2, 2014, pp. 287-305.

Wegge, Njord, 'China in the Arctic. Interests, Actions and Challenges', Nordlit, No 32, 2014, pp. 83-98.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'Chinese Climate-Change Policy, 1988-2013: Moving On Up'. Asian Perspective, Vol 38, No 1, 2014, pp. 111-135.

Moe, Idun, Setting the Agenda. Chinese NGOs: Scope for Action on Climate Change. FNI Report 5/2013. Lysaker, FNI, 2013, 56 p.

Stensdal, Iselin, Asian Arctic Research 2005-2012: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger. FNI Report 3/2013. Lysaker, FNI, 2013, 39 p.

Bergsager, Henrik and Anna Korppoo, 'China’s State-Owned Enterprises as Climate Policy Actors: The Power and Steel Sectors'. TemaNord, No 527. Copenhagen, Nordic Council of Ministers, 2013, 69 p.

Jareid, Marie, To get green is glorious? Kinesiske statseide bedrifters samfunnsansvarsarbeid for bærekraftig utvikling ('To get green is glorious? An empirical analysis of how and why state-owned companies in China take measures to combat climate change and environmental issues through Corporate Social Responsibility'). FNI Report 12/2012. Lysaker, FNI, 2012, 98 p. In Norwegian.

Bergsager, Henrik, China, Russia and Central Asia: The energy dilemma. FNI Report 16/2012. Lysaker, FNI, 2012, 20 p.

Stensdal, Iselin, China’s Climate-Change Policy 1988-2011: From Zero to Hero? FNI Report 9/2012. Lysaker, FNI, 2012, 25 p.

Stensdal, Iselin, China’s Carbon-Intensity Target: Climate Actors and Policy Developments. FNI Report 3/2012. Lysaker, FNI, 2012, 34 p.

Fauchald, Ole Kristian and Haakon Vennemo, Environmental Impacts of a Free Trade Agreement between China and Norway. FNI Report 1/2012. Lysaker, FNI, 2012, 140 p.

Commentary articles

Stensdal, Iselin, 'Kina: Fra bremsekloss til klimapådriver?' ('China and climate: From laggard to front-runner?'). Norsk Klimastiftelse Rapport, No 4 2016, pp. 9-12. In Norwegian.

Eikeland, Per Ove, 'Kullfortellingen som tok en ny retning' ('New Direction in the Tale of Chinese Coal'). Norsk Klimastiftelse Rapport, No 4 2016, pp. 27-32. In Norwegian.

Heggelund, Gørild, 'Etablering av verdens største karbonmarked' ('The establishment of the world's largest carbon market'). Norsk Klimastiftelse Rapport, No 4 2016, pp. 53-57. In Norwegian.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'China’s GHG Mitigation: The Role of Local Governments', China Policy Institute Blog, 16.05.2016.

Stensdal, Iselin and Gørild Heggelund, 'New Climate Tune from China', Intasave, 21.12.2015.

Stensdal, Iselin and Gørild Heggelund, 'Nye klimatakter fra Kina' ('New climate measures from China'), Dagens Næringsliv, 29.11.2015. In Norwegian.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'China and the Arctic: Where’s the Great Power Competition?', China Policy Institute Blog, 13.03.2015.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'Kinas nye revolusjon' ('China's New Revolution'), Dagens Næringsliv, 20.01.2015. In Norwegian.

Moe, Arild, 'L’Arctique est sur l’agenda de la Chine, mais parmi de nombreux autres sujets' ('The Arctic is on China's Agenda, but One Amongst Many'), l'Humanité, 28.11.2014. In French.

Lunde, Leiv, 'The Nordic Embrace: Why the Nordic Countries Welcome Asia to the Arctic Table', Asia Policy, July 2014.

Lunde, Leiv, 'Klok utenrikspolitikk' ('Norwegian Government's Decision Not to Meet the Dalai Lama is Wise Foreign Policy'), Dagens Næringsliv, 11.05.2014. In Norwegian.

Stensdal, Iselin, 'Kan Kinas «krig mot forurensning» lykkes?' ('Can China's 'war on pollution' succeed?'), Energi og Klima, 14.03.2014. In Norwegian.

See summaries page for more/older research publications
FNI's focal points of research:

 Global environmental governance and law
 Climate change
 Law of the Sea and marine affairs
 Biodiversity and genetic resources
 Arctic and Russian politics
 European energy and environment
 Chinese energy and environment

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Recent relevant FNI News:

Book launch in Shanghai: Asian Countries and the Arctic Future (30.10.2015)

New book: Asian Countries and the Arctic Future (28.08.2015)

FNI Signs MoU with TERI and INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE to Promote Joint Research on Climate and Development in India, China and Globally (17.04.2015)

FNI Conference in Shanghai: Asian Countries and the Arctic Future (23.05.2014)

The China-Nordic Arctic Research Center (CNARC) Officially Launched (09.01.2014)

Recent media coverage:

'Kina og ratifiseringen av Parisavtalen 3.9.16' ('China and its ratification of the Paris agreement'), NRK Dagsnytt atten, 06.09.2016. In Norwegian.

'China's coal addiction lingers', Deutsche Welle, 11.12.2015.

'COP21: China's climate progress from Copenhagen to Paris', gbTimes, 10.12.2015.

'Korean Maritime Institute and FNI to promote Arctic research', No Cut News, 01.12.2015. In Korean.

'Lurer Kina oss trill rundt?' ('Coal: Is China duping us?'), Aftenposten, 23.11.2015. In Norwegian.

'Fem på fredag: Kullet krymper i Kina og verden' ('Coal shrinks in China and globally'), Energi og Klima, 20.11.2015. In Norwegian.

'Equally Subsidized, but Unequally Sustainable: Coal and Renewable Energy Discussion in China', IISD News, 21.09.2015.

'Forum Highlights Arctic Development', Shanghai Daily, 09.06.2015.

'TERI, FNI and INTASAVE-CARIBSAVE sign MOU to further global partnerships for Post-2015 Climate and Development Agenda', India Blooms, 16.04.2015.

'Kina trånar efter norsk polarolja' ('China Yearns for Norwegian Polar Oil'),, 14.11.2014. In Swedish.

'China's carbon plans: secrecy and oversupply darken outlook', Reuters, 18.08.2014.

'Nansen uten idealisme?' ('Nansen with no Idealism?'), Dagens Næringsliv, 20.05.2014. In Norwegian.

Fridtjof Nansen Institute
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