Securitization of climate change in China: Implications for global climate governance

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the traditional resistance to consider climate change as a national security issue, the security impact of climate change has been increasingly recognized by official discourses in China over the past few years. The Chinese perception on climate change has shifted from a development issue to a security topic; and two driving forces are behind the emergence of the climate security discourse: The shift of China’s economy towards a “New Normal” and the commitments China made in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Meanwhile, two modalities of discourse that characterize the Chinese context are also discerned. One that involves national security has a rather fixed procedure about how security can be spoken of and by whom; the other is more relevant for issues like climate change and air pollution. In both cases, even if the language of security is used with regard to climate issues, they are handled as normal politics and governmental actions are legitimized by the use of security language. Although China has taken on more climate responsibilities, it seems unprepared for global climate leadership because security considerations not only determine the country’s participation but also limit its international commitments in global climate governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-116
Number of pages20
JournalChina Quarterly of International Strategic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • China
  • Climate change
  • Development
  • Global governance
  • Securitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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