Date: 18-19 June 2009
Location: Lingnan University, Hong Kong, China
(Download registration form)
The Centre for Asian Pacific Studies (CAPS) and the Environmental Studies Programme (ESP) at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, are jointly organizing a conference on "China and Global Climate Change." The conference will address the problem of how to reconcile China's growing greenhouse gas emissions with the Chinese government's unwillingness to join binding international commitments to reduce those emissions.
Since the start of international negotiations on climate change in the 1980s, the Chinese government has refused to be bound by commitments to limit its pollution of the atmosphere. This refusal is based on the historical responsibility of the world's wealthy countries for past emissions and China's status as a developing country. President Hu Jintao recently reaffirmed that China will not commit to mandatory emissions-reduction targets before the world's wealthy countries take the lead in addressing global climate change. He has also called on affluent countries to pay for emissions limitations in China and other developing countries.
Alongside these Chinese concerns about justice and historical responsibility is the new reality that China has become the largest national source of pollution causing climate change. Without China's involvement, notably limitations in its future greenhouse gas emissions, international efforts to mitigate global warming substantially are unlikely to succeed. This comes against the backdrop of increasing concerns among atmospheric scientists that global warming is happening more quickly than predicted, that climate change will be more severe than anticipated, and that the poorest countries and people of the world will experience monumental suffering in coming decades as a consequence.
This conference seeks to assess how China's longstanding concerns about international fairness and justice can be squared against the pressing need for an effective international regime that limits greenhouse gas emissions – including those from China.
CONFERENCE THEMES AND QUESTIONS:
Major conference themes include (1) Practical Considerations, including the latest findings on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts related to China's role; (2) Ethical Considerations, including questions of fairness, justice and human rights related to climate change and China's role; and (3) Political Considerations, including issues related to the domestic and international politics of climate change, the international climate change negotiations, and the political significance in other countries of China's climate change diplomacy and policies.
We aim to address these and others questions related to China and global climate change:
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