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Global warming and resulting climate change present the world with major and potentially devastating challenges. China is among the countries that will suffer the effects of climate change. Although its per captia emissions of pollutants causing global warming remain relatively low compared to the world’s richest countries, China is now the second largest global polluter, and in coming decades it will overtake the United States as the world’s largest polluter of the global atmosphere. How China responds to this problem has profound implications for its people, its neighbors and the world. China has joined with other countries in debating this issue, and it has started to implement programs and policies to reduce its emissions of so-called greenhouse gases. However, its domestic actions have rarely been motivated by concerns about the global impacts of climate change, and its response has been to avoid international regulation while waiting for the developed countries to act. Given this response, short of radical change in politics and environment, it is unlikely that China will adequately restrain its greenhouse gas emissions, thus mirroring—to the detriment if all—the industrialization and growth of the world’s wealthy countries.


CPPS Working Paper Series No.147

Recommended Citation

Harris, P. G., & Yu, H. (2004). China's domestic and international policies on global warming: Explanations and assessment (CAPS Working Papers Series no.147). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: