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 simply announce a new set of carbon emissions goals instead of advocating for concrete policy change. This decision will not help the US combat climate change as the goals you have set are unenforceable. Lobbyists, NGOs, scientists, and the international community are sick of toothless political statements and view your attempt at domestic leadership on climate change as a failure.

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 fair job. You did not make any meaningful progress with regards to domestic energy policy. That being said, 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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