Chapter 12: The Environment and International Relations


As the US president, you will travel to a potential ally in the fight on climate change and attempt to negotiate a bilateral agreement with another head of state. This approach has a greater likelihood of success but will have limited returns as the broader international community will not be involved.


You have decided to engage another key carbon emissions actor directly. Since there are only two countries in this agreement, the other actor's interests will be particularly influential. That being said, there is a high likelihood that the other actor will agree to some form of commitment to combatting climate change. While multilateral agreements will be necessary to resolve climate change in the long run, bilateral agreements can pave the way for larger international agreements later on.

Which country will you engage with?

IndiaIndia is the world's fourth largest carbon emitter. Its emissions will only grow in the years to come as the country develops. For example, India is projected to increase its carbon dioxide output by 1.7% annually. When it comes to national climate change policy, the Indian government prefers adaptation to mitigation, as they strongly believe that their low emissions rate per capita absolves them of overwhelming responsibility to combat climate change.
ChinaChina is the world's largest carbon emitter. The Asian giant will continue to lead the world in emissions output for the foreseeable future as it is projected to increase its carbon dioxide output by 2.7% annually. The Chinese Communist Party is dependent upon economic growth for regime stability, so they will likely be hesitant to accept an agreement that threatens their economic progress. However, China has shown some willingness to confront climate change. For example, in June of 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced Chinese plans to use renewable energy for 20% of its primary energy supply.
JapanJapan is the world's fifth largest carbon emitter. The developed country is likely to agree to a comprehensive climate change agreement, but that pact would have limited effect on future global emissions as Japan is not projected to be a key emitter in years to come as China, India, and Brazil develop.