top of page

Issue Brief II : China's Evolving Climate Governance: From Reluctance to Leadership; By Hitesh Yanamandra

Guided by Dr. LV Krishnan, Former Director- Safety Research Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam.

Preliminary Review by: Madhumitha R.

Image Courtesy: LinkedIn

Issue Brief: 2 /2024

C3S launched its Issue Brief initiative. An issue brief is a summary of the knowledge surrounding an issue or a problem. It summarizes the issue by giving clear, concise, and complete information describing all facets of a particular issue including a detailed illustration in the form of images, data, and facts. It also includes recommendations for action and predictions on the future course of an issue.


This paper analyzes China's transition from resisting binding climate commitments to emerging as a leader in international climate negotiations and domestic policy action over the 2000-2020 period. It examines China's evolving positioning at UN climate summits, domestic emission reduction policies and governance mechanisms, and challenges around enforcement and oversight. Initially prioritizing economic growth, China adopted a defensive stance until shifting towards voluntary pledges by the late 2000s, driven by its renewables industry emergence. Since 2015, China has championed progressive goals like carbon neutrality to assert climate leadership credentials alongside its rising economic influence. Domestically, renewable energy investments, industrial restructuring, controls on non-renewables and reforestation delivered significant emissions reductions. New climate laws, environmental policies and carbon markets enhanced regulatory capacities. However, data transparency issues, fragmented provincial governance models and uneven local enforcement undermine progress. The research identifies key gaps including the need for robust monitoring systems, targeted regional approaches considering economic disparities, accelerated clean technology deployment, and governance reforms to ensure accountability in implementation. Addressing these gaps through policy refinements and institutional strengthening is crucial for China to realize its aspiring identity as a credible climate leader.

Author's Email ID:

Read the full Issue Brief at this link:

C3S Issue Brief II - Hitesh Yanamandra
Download PDF • 713KB

(Mr Hitesh Yanamandra is an intern at C3S. The view expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the view of C3S.)
68 views0 comments


bottom of page