Rethinking climate leadership: Annex I countries' expectations for China's leadership role in the post-Paris UN climate negotiations

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Abstract

Developed countries, defined in the global climate negotiations as the Annex I countries, have been expected to take the lead in tackling climate change. However, given the severity of climate change, reducing China’s emissions is critical. China is a developing country with world’s highest emissions and a leader in the renewable sector. Hence, outside expectations for China’s climate action have been growing. Through constructivist role theory, the article researched what external expectations there are for China’s potential climate leadership role. The leadership ex-pectations of developed countries were examined from the UN climate conference high-level segment statements from 2016 to 2018. Results of the discourse analysis explain the expecta-tions in six storylines: 1) all parties are placed on the same line, 2) the dichotomy of developing and developed countries is deconstructed, 3) the position of developing countries is highlighted, 4) China has a greater responsibility than non-Annex or a regular party, 5) China is recognized as a climate actor, and 6) China is excluded as a major player. The expectations recognize China’s structural climate leadership but acknowledging China as a global climate leader might pose a role conflict for the developed countries. The conclusion suggests that this acknowledgement would require developed countries to rethink their own climate leadership and assign the role with China
Original languageEnglish
Article number100544
JournalEnvironmental development
Volume35
Number of pages18
ISSN2211-4645
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5172 Global Politics
  • Climate leadership
  • UNFCCC
  • China
  • Role theory
  • Alter expectations
  • CONCEPTIONS
  • ENERGY
  • EUROPEAN UNIONS ROLES
  • FOLLOWERS
  • FOREIGN-POLICY
  • POLITICS
  • REGIME
  • COPENHAGEN
  • AGREEMENT

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