The Power Politics Behind China's Climate Pledge
Dali Yang talks to Matt Sheehan about Chinese President Xi Jinping and China’s climate pledge.
President Barack Obama had barely finished shaking Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hand to seal this week’s landmark climate agreement before the predictable responses poured in from Washington. Congressional Republican leaders called the agreement “job-crushing” and part of the president’s “war on coal” that was “creating havoc” around the U.S.
When Xi stepped from the rostrum, he faced no obstinate opposition party and virtually no public criticism of the agreement. That silence presents the image of a bureaucracy prepared to fall in line and spring into action, but “nothing could be further from the truth,” according to David Lampton, director of China studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and author of a recent book on Chinese political leadership…
…Professor Yang said aggressive anti-corruption moves have already begun to bear fruit: The Ministry of Environmental Protection and local governments are having greater success leveling sanctions against polluters, and critical media coverage of energy giants is finding greater expression in popular media.
“I won’t say it’s a transformation, but it’s certainly a way in which environmental regulation has begun to be applied with more vigor to the major state-owned enterprises,” Yang told The WorldPost…