The world is facing dual challenges of generating an economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and transitioning to a low-carbon economy to tackle climate change. Strongly interrelated global challenges will require an integrated and coordinated response by all countries to manage the risk and lay the foundation for building back better. As the world’s biggest emitter and the second-largest economy, China is a very important player in international collaboration and coordination in climate action. Against this backdrop, this paper looks into the increasingly crucial role that China is playing in global climate action, especially focusing on three aspects: China’s domestic and foreign policymaking for the energy transition; its role in promoting multilateralism and international collaboration on building a sustainable world; and how it could accelerate climate action and diplomacy through research, development and innovation. In the critical decade of the 2020s, China has a great opportunity to further transform and upgrade its energy and industrial structures, promote research, development and the application of green and low-carbon technologies and intensify international climate cooperation on climate change. China should aim to be at the forefront of raising climate ambition and accelerating climate action for a sustainable and more equitable world.

Danae Kyriakopoulou et al 2023 Prog. Energy 5 022001

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