IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Environmental Security and its Implications for China’s Foreign Relations


  • Junko Mochizuki

    (Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • ZhongXiang Zhang

    (East-West Center)


China’s emerging standing in the world demands a major rethinking of its diplomatic strategies. Given its population size, geographical scale, economic power and military presence, China is poised to play a larger political role in the twenty-first century, and is thus perceived by the international community to have greater capacities, capabilities and responsibilities. At the same time, environmental stresses caused by China’s energy and resources demands have become increasingly evident in recent years, urging China to cultivate delicate diplomatic relations with its neighbors and strategic partners. Tensions have been seen in areas such as transboundary air pollution, cross-border water resources management and resources exploitation, and more recently in global issues such as climate change. As the Chinese leadership begins to embrace the identity of a responsible developing country, it is becoming apparent that while unabated resources demands and environmental deterioration may pose a great threat to environmental security, a shared sense of urgency could foster enhanced cooperation. For China to move beyond existing and probable diplomatic tensions, a greater attention to domestic and regional environmental security will no doubt be necessary. This article explores such interrelations among domestic, regional and global environmental securities and China’s diplomacy, and suggests possible means by which China could contribute to strengthening global environmental security.

Suggested Citation

  • Junko Mochizuki & ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Environmental Security and its Implications for China’s Foreign Relations," Working Papers 2011.30, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2011.30

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zhang, Zhong-Xiang, 2007. "China is moving away the pattern of "develop first and then treat the pollution"," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 3547-3549, July.
    2. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "Assessing China’s Energy Conservation and Carbon Intensity: How Will the Future Differ from the Past?," Working Papers 2010.92, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    3. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2010. "The U.S. proposed carbon tariffs, WTO scrutiny and China’s responses," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 203-225, August.
    4. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2010. "China in the transition to a low-carbon economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6638-6653, November.
    5. Piet Buys & Uwe Deichmann & Craig Meisner & Thao Ton That & David Wheeler, 2009. "Country stakes in climate change negotiations: two dimensions of vulnerability," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(3), pages 288-305, May.
    6. Karl Hallding & Guoyi Han & Marie Olsson, 2009. "China’s Climate- and Energy-security Dilemma: Shaping a New Path of Economic Growth," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 38(3), pages 119-134.
    7. -H. Peh, Kelvin S. & Eyal, Jonathan, 2010. "Unveiling China's impact on African environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4729-4730, August.
    8. Ellen Bruzelius Backer, 2007. "The Mekong River Commission: Does It Work, and How Does the Mekong Basin’s Geography Influence Its Effectiveness?," Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 26(4), pages 32-56.
    9. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2000. "Can China afford to commit itself an emissions cap? An economic and political analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 587-614, December.
    10. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2009. "Multilateral trade measures in a post-2012 climate change regime? What can be taken from the Montreal Protocol and the WTO?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5105-5112, December.
    11. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2008. "Asian energy and environmental policy: Promoting growth while preserving the environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 3905-3924, October.
    12. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Assessing China’s carbon intensity pledge for 2020: stringency and credibility issues and their implications," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 13(3), pages 219-235, September.
    13. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2010. "Is it fair to treat China as a Christmas tree to hang everybody's complaints? Putting its own energy saving into perspective," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(Supplemen), pages 47-56, September.
    14. Zhongxiang Zhang, 2007. "China's Hunt for Oil in Africa in Perspective," Energy & Environment, , vol. 18(1), pages 87-92, January.
    15. Zhongxiang Zhang, 2011. "In what format and under what timeframe would China take on climate commitments? A roadmap to 2050," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 245-259, September.
    16. Haakon Vennemo & Kristin Aunan & Henrik Lindhjem & Hans Martin Seip, 2009. "Environmental Pollution in China: Status and Trends," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(2), pages 209-230, Summer.
    17. ZhongXiang Zhang, 2011. "Energy and Environmental Policy in China," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13559.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2011. "China's energy security, the Malacca dilemma and responses," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7612-7615.

    More about this item


    Acid Rain; Climate Change; Energy; Environmental Security; Transboundary Air Pollution; Water Resource Management; Asia;

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • P28 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Natural Resources; Environment

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2011.30. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (barbara racah). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.