Chapter 12: The Environment and International Relations


China 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. That being said, 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 percent of its primary energy supply.


As the president of the United States crafting national and international strategies for dealing with climate change, you have made a series of decisions. Let's analyze the implications of each of your choices.

First, you decided to subsidize renewable energy. This was a great decision as you have made the transition to low-cost renewable energy alternatives easier. Over time, the wind and nuclear energy industries will use your subsidies to innovate and drive down their costs. As renewable energy costs decrease, more and more businesses will spurn fossil fuels for renewables to fuel their industrial efforts. This will help the US meet its future emission reduction goals.

Second, you chose to pursue a bilateral agreement with China. The Chinese Communist Party acknowledged the growing threat of climate change but had some economic growth concerns. Ultimately, the Chinese government agreed to binding long-term standards for emissions on the condition that the US provides technological and financial assistance over the next twenty years. This is a monumental agreement as China will be a crucial component of the solution to climate change in the years to come. As a result, your bilateral agreement is relatively strong and influential as the world's two leading carbon emitters have taken a binding stand to prevent devastating climate change.

Overall, you have done a great job. You made solid progress with regards to domestic energy policy. Furthermore, you crafted a solid agreement with the world's leading emitter to ramp up its climate change response. Hopefully, your efforts will result in cooperation with the broader international community later on.

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