China’s great power climate responsibility and the Arctic

In a new text “China’s great power climate responsibility and the Arctic” for Arctic Relations blog, Sanna Kopra tells about her current research on the role China plays and wants to play in international climate politics, in relation to Arctic especially – the region where climate change progresses twice as fast as in other regions of the world:

In my ongoing project, I study how notions of great power (climate) responsibility direct China’s policies and practices in the Arctic region, among other topics.

For China, climate change is no doubt an important driver for engaging in Arctic affairs.For example, the melting of Arctic ice caps will increase haze pollution in Eastern China, cause flooding in many of its coastal mega-cities including Shanghai, Tianjin, and Hong Kong; and alter numerous natural global processes that may interrupt Chinese agricultural production.

Published in 2018, China’s Arctic white paper stresses the importance of scientific research on Arctic climate change and its global ramifications. Specifically, China is interested in learning more about the domestic (security) implications of Arctic climate change. When it comes to great power climate responsibility, however, China’s Arctic white paper is silent: it does not introduce any additional climate mitigation commitments or propose ambitious initiatives to address the problem – actions that would demonstrate a leadership role in international climate politics.

Read more about Sanna Kopra’s work on Arctic Relations blog.