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date: 23 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

China has recently become the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and the focus of growing international attention as a result. One of the most noteworthy features of China’s response to climate change is the fact that it is being overseen by an authoritarian government that has a greater capacity to implement potentially difficult reforms. Indeed, China appears to be developing a form of “environmental authoritarianism” that stands in marked contrast to the approach taken in much of the West. This chapter traces the emergence of this policy approach, exploring both its domestic origins and international impact. Whether China’s ruling elites will be able to successfully manage rising domestic and international expectations about environmental management remains to be seen. In the meantime it provides an important and illuminating comparative model.

Keywords: China, climate change, environmental authoritarianism, elites, environmental management

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