This episode examines China’s role in the global climate change agenda and Xi Jinping’s commitment at the September 2020 UN General Assembly for China to become carbon-neutral by 2060. Mr. Sandalow argues that this new commitment provides an opportunity for China to present itself as a global leader on climate change policy, in contrast to the United States. Although China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gasses, Mr. Sandalow notes that China has invested heavily in renewable energy infrastructure and technology. He views China’s strength at long-term planning as a benefit in implementing effective strategies to combat climate change. Mr. Sandalow also evaluates the progress China has made since signing the Paris Accords, how technological innovation will help China achieve its climate goals, and the potential impact of a Trump re-election or a Biden presidency on US-China cooperation to address climate change.
Mr. David Sandalow is the Inaugural Fellow at the Center on Global Energy Policy and Co-Director of the Energy and Environment Concentration at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. He founded and directs the Center’s US-China Program and is author of the Guide to Chinese Climate Policy.