Chinese Policies on Climate Change and Environment Protection
Kim, Yoon Jung
In September 2006, a group of Chinese scientists sent an alarming message to the Chinese public: the western desert inside China is encroaching on the Dunhuang, an ancient pass and cultural city on the Silk Road in Gansu province, and could submerge the precious Crescent Lake nearby in about 30 years—and the whole city in 50 years—should no major action be taken in the near future. That climate change is a great concern and a difficult issue was acknowledged more slowly in China than in the West. Only recently has climate change policy become a priority of the Asian giant. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Chinese government enforced some climate-related measures. However, these measures have proven relatively ineffective. This article begins in sections I and II with a brief description of serious climate change challenges facing China. Section III reviews the history of Chinese efforts to cope with these changes in the 1980s-1990s. The majority of the paper, however, is given to exploration and discussion of ongoing Chinese commitments and policies to mitigate climate change. This discussion is covered in section IV, where the paper restates guidelines and principles that the country has articulated toward climate change, followed by details about policies on the legislative, economic, industrial and technological fronts. The paper also addresses China’s responses to global cooperation on climate change before concluding with some key observations.