The China Challenge By Thomas J. Christensen

1505 Words 7 Pages
In The China Challenge, Thomas J. Christensen adopts the context of an international system which demands that China bear more environmental responsibility than its willing to take, translating directly into a struggle to coordinate effective policy towards mitigating global climate change between the United States and China, the world’s two largest carbon emitters. However, the international status quo has changed dramatically since the publication of Christensen’s argument: with the US abandonment of the Paris climate accords, the prospect of a joint US-China crusade on climate change seems far less viable. At the same time, China now has the potential to become the world leader on climate issues, which is not so farfetched of an idea when one considers how China’s economic, …show more content…
Using what Harrison and Kostka describe as policy and interest bundling, business elites and politicians with different goals can be incentivized to cooperate due to broad areas of overlap between different policies. In fact, there are several reasons why the Chinese government would assign priority to environmental policies specifically because doing so would be of economic benefit. Christensen’s argument that “coal is king” rests on the assumption that coal’s abundance as a low-cost power source is the most important matrix that the Chinese government considers in pursuing economic policies, but he fails to discuss the alternatives that would make “good environmental stewardship” translate into “good economics”. In fact, policies aimed at improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energy capacity have huge economic potential. For example, the creation of millions of jobs in renewable energy industries and the exporting of these technologies into foreign markets (where China is already the global leader) are all attractive economic

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