China in the Asia-Pacific Partnership: Consequences for UN Climate Change Mitigation Efforts?

International Environmental Agreements, Vol 9, No 3, 2009, pp. 301-317

This article discusses China’s motives for participation in the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), and whether this has or will have consequences for its participation and efforts in the UN track of international climate governance. In order to discuss these issues, it also provides an outline of key national priorities and explains the nature of China’s involvement in both the UN track and the APP. It suggests that the APP is a complement to the UN process, not a competitor, in the case of China. APP participation represents a win-win situation in terms of the transfer of technology and know-how for solving challenges related to energy security and greenhouse gas emissions. For the Chinese leadership this seems preferable to taking on UN commitments which it fears would impede economic development. The APP’s projects also seem to complement the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism project in China. This article argues that there is little indication that China would make less of an effort under the UN track.