Changes in China’s climate justice perceptions: domestic and international consequences

Asia Europe Journal, published online 09.08.2023. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2017.08.006

China’s perceptions of climate justice have changed since 2007, affecting the country’s domestic climate policies and its actions internationally. This study takes 2007 as a starting point, as that was a milestone year in China: climate change was made a national priority issue. Examining China’s views as to what were perceived as ‘fair’ regarding climate actions around 2007, we compare these with more recent perceptions of what ‘climate justice’ entails for China’s climate responsibilities. We find that China’s perceptions have changed regarding what being a ‘responsible’ country entails. From seeing itself as a developing country that should focus on other pressing challenges, China now views itself as a leading developing country that must reduce carbon emissions as soon as possible, and also as a donor providing aid to less wealthy developing countries. With ongoing feedback between the international and domestic levels on climate change, the principle of unequal burden sharing has also been incorporated into how China now delegates its domestic climate and energy targets, demanding more of its developed provinces and areas.



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