China as a New Climate-Responsible Donor?

Lina Li and Daria Ivleva 2019: China as a New Climate-Responsible Donor?. Berlin: adelphi.

As an emerging key international donor, China is at a crossroads and is actively shaping its new role in the global development landscape. Could China become a new climate responsible donor? This policy brief draws the linkage between the development cooperation agenda of China and its impacts on the global green transformation towards a safe climate future.

China is rapidly evolving into one of the world’s largest overseas investors and is now increasingly investing in the renewable energy sector. However, China’s development finance portfolio as well as its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are still heavily focused on fossil fuel-based projects. The brief outlines several institutional developments that warrant special attention, namely the Chinese and China-led multilateral development banks as well as China’s new development cooperation agency. Against this backdrop, avenues towards greener Chinese investments abroad are presented.

Enhancing green investments overseas, particularly in BRI countries, would provide strong support to China’s overall foreign policy goals. European actors, in turn, should analyse the potential impacts of China-supported projects in other countries in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and in promoting climate-compatible options. In this regard, engaging with the new China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) as a key agent of Chinese external aid strategy provides a new entry point for climate diplomacy.