Emissions trading and climate diplomacy between Europe and China
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Over the past decade, the EU has been following a “policy of unconditional engagement” vis-à-vis the People’s Republic of China, pursuing its promotion of effective multilateralism. In the field of climate change, China has been an increasingly important member of the UNFCCC process and a key target of European engagement policies. Regardless of geographical distance, which restricts European ability to influence, Europe has employed a variety of instruments in its foreign environmental policy. Yet how do Chinese decision-makers perceive these efforts? The Paris COP21 Summit has been hailed as a major breakthrough by Europeans and Chinese alike. Drawing on two sets of interviews carried out in Beijing in 2012 and 2016 this brief looks at the dynamics of climate policy adoption in China. Emissions trading serves as a case study for domestic politics: the seven pilot systems were also result of a turf battle between the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance. The EU and Norway could plug into domestic policy making by providing large-scale capacity building. So, could this be a success story for climate policy promotion?