China’s Climate- and Energy-security Dilemma: Shaping a New Path of Economic Growth

Karl Hallding, Guoyi Han, Marie Olsson

Abstract


China is undergoing modernization at a scale and speed the world has never witnessed. As climate change increasingly dominates the global agenda, China faces the challenge of shaping a new growth path in a climate-constrained world. The paper argues that China’s current climate and energy policy is, at best, a “repackaging” of existing energy and environmental strategies with co-benefits for the mitigation of climate change. Nevertheless, even though policies are not climate-change driven, the quick (rhetorical) endorsement of low-carbon development and the strong momentum of green technologies indicate that political ambitions are in favour of finding a more sustainable development pathway. A new growth path would, however, require a fundamental shift, with development and energy strategies being set within climate security constraints. The eventual success of this new path remains uncertain.

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