Tseming Yang (Vermont Law School, USA; Sun-Yat-Sen University, China)
Climate change, Bali Action Plan, China’s Environmental Law System, Greenhouse Gas Emission, China’s National Climate Change Programme, Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism, Greenhouse Gas Mitigation, climate change regulatory implementation
With the growth of the developing world’s population and economies, limiting their contribution to the global growth of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions has increased greatly in significance. The parties to the UN Climate Change Convention acknowledged this reality in the Bali Action Plan, which engages the developing world, especially major GHG emitters, in discussions about binding emission limits. China is one of the key players in that context. However, beyond the imperative of involving them in binding commitments, little consideration has been given to whether such obligations could actually be effectively implemented. In fact, with respect to China, it is not all clear that existing governance structures are presently capable of ensuring that greenhouse gas emissions are curbed to a significant degree.
The essay explores the challenge of mitigating China’s greenhouse gas emissions. After reviewing China’s significance to the problem, the essay examines the National Climate Change Programme, China’s national strategy to address climate change, as well as some key initiatives to mitigate carbon emissions. It then turns to the Climate Plan’s shortcomings with respect to environmental sustainability and effectiveness as well as its uncertain prospects for effective implementation because of existing regulatory policies and institutional structures. Finally, the essay suggests options for addressing these issues, many of which are not unique to the China.
(2008) 20 Georgetown International Environmental Law Review 681