The Newsletter 54 Summer 2010

What do Chinese negotiators think? Lessons from Copenhagen

Kerry Brown

The Climate Change Global Summit in Copenhagen in December 2009 provoked strong responses from commentators, activists, politicians and country leaders. There was a palpable sense of disappointment at the watered down accord issued at the end of so much effort and talk. Perhaps most remarkable, however, was that the world’s largest carbon emitter – China – was singled out as the biggest impediment to reaching a full agreement with specific targets. Much has been written about why China refused targets and what its objectives were. Less has been said about what the Copenhagen process shows about China’s negotiating behaviour. What happened in December was deeply revealing and understanding it might aid any future international negotiations involving China.

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