chapter  34
27 Pages

China and India

Continuity and change in climate negotiations
WithLydia Powell

The inconsistency between China’s and India’s domestic effort to ramp up renewable energy capacity and their formal contributions articulated in multilateral agreements such as the Paris Agreement may be analyzed through the similar attributes of China and India, such as the size of their populations, and diverging attributes, such as the differences in the structure of economy and governance frameworks. Their insistence on upholding the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities in formal multilateral negotiating environments allows them to keep the door to the north–south distributional conflict open. This serves rather than determines China’s and India’s strategic interests as large developing economies that need room for maneuver in implementing low carbon policies. The ambitious domestic targets for renewable energy set by both countries serve interests that go beyond global environmental concerns. China, which is both a consumer and producer of renewable energy technologies, is leveraging manufacturing capabilities in low-carbon technologies for economic and social development. The effort is less a part of its environmental and foreign policy and more a part of its industrial policy. India, which is predominantly a consumer of renewable energy, is motivated more by environmental and foreign policy concerns.