What does China want from COP28?

Tracing the trajectory of climate engagement between China and the US can give us a clearer idea of what might limit or propel the level of ambition it displays at COP. Its leadership regime increasingly sees environmental sustainability as part of its legitimacy.

Xie Zhenhua
China climate envoy Xie Zhenhua is set to retire in December at the end of this year's COP28 climate talks in Dubai. Photo: IISD

A review of China’s trajectory of climate policies over the past three years is essential to understanding China’s position at COP28. First, the dual carbon pledge made by President Xi Jinping in September 2020 marked a major milestone in China’s climate policy. Subsequent developments, at both the domestic and international levels, demonstrated the dynamism of China’s climate politics.

These policies also highlight the challenges and opportunities Beijing faces in the lead-up to COP28. These developments happen to be underappreciated, as they occurred when Covid-19 travel restrictions disrupted in-person exchanges.

Domestic climate politics

China’s climate diplomacy

China and COP28


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