Chinese and Russian policies on climate change: implications for U.S. national security policy
Sechrist, David T.
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Since the conclusion of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol negotiations, the Chinese government has been steadily increasing measures for the reduction of its greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Meanwhile, the Russian government has been extremely hesitant to even acknowledge humanity's role in climate change. This thesis investigates why China and Russia have chosen to take such divergent paths regarding climate change after compliance obligations were established at Kyoto. The factors considered include shifts in national public opinion regarding climate change, economics, demographics, expected future effects of global warming, resources, and the Kyoto Protocol itself. The case studies of Chinese and Russian climate change policies and programs highlight three significant factors in the divergence: 1) the Kyoto Protocol, which set the initial policy baselines for both countries; 2) geography and demography, which forced China to take actions to combat climate change since it is half the size of Russia but has roughly ten times as many people; and 3) the lengthy and continuous leadership of Russia's current president--Vladimir Putin--who has held the position of either president or prime minister since 1999 and has taken virtually no action to combat climate change.
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