"Chinese energy policy progress and challenges in the transition to low carbon development, 2006 – 2013”, an interview with Larissa Basso

1) Some IR scholars – like Adam Watson (1992) – talk about the role of innovation in changing international order’s status quo and building and consolidating new hegemonies. Do you believe that China is pacing towards global leadership in the development and production of low carbon technologies or do you think that the investments it makes are not properly in the sense of technological innovation, but just of an energetic matrix substitution based on technologies that already exist? Does the country have enough intellectual capital to make a technological revolution in the sustainable development area?

Due to the dynamics of global governance in the XXI Century, China is heading to global leadership, but this leadership will always be shared with other countries – in case of low carbon technologies, with USA, Germany, Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. So far, China’s contribution to low carbon development has been its ability to substantially decrease the prices of Western low carbon technologies due to gains of scale on production, but the Chinese are investing in innovation and could play an important role in the future. A revolution in low carbon technologies will be a shared one, undertaken by some countries simultaneously, with and without cooperation.

2) In the case of China becoming a leader in low carbon technology innovation, is it probable that this will put the country in the centre of an international order restructuring? If this leadership does not come from China, is it possible that the leading country will assume a hegemonic role?

Chinese role in the international order will be of a co-leader. In our view, the international order is being restructured around the triad USA, European Union and China.

3) Your article make considerations on the Chinese positioning in multilateral negotiations over climate and sustainable development issues, and how it is essential in these negotiations, since China is a “climate superpower”. Talking about the reverse relation, however, in which manner have UN and INGOs been interacting directly with, and reaching, Chinese civil society – even though the regime is an authoritarian one, I suppose it does not inhibit this relation completely?

Other countries developments (led by governments, corporations, NGOs and the scientific community) in the area of climate change and decarbonisation have greater influence on the Chinese civil society than the UN or INGOs, and this is likely to be intensified in the future. The strong interdependence between the Chinese economy and global markets is the greatest driver of the interchange between China and the world, and the Chinese regime, despite authoritarian, is not capable of blocking it and the influence that follows.

4) Is it important that an alternate view on China – other than Northern countries’ – is being published in southern countries like Brazil? Why?

Firstly, in our opinion the division of the world in North and South is an obsolete one, because the world is extremely complex nowadays. China, for example, is, in many dimensions (military power, technological development, space program and complex industrial base) closer to developed countries than to “developing” ones. In fact, the Chinese government restates China’s developing characteristics due to the political gains it aims to get from it – the claim has little sense from a scientific point of view.

Nevertheless, it is very important for us to study China and other emerging economies and to develop an alternate view on them, because this research (i) brings new insights to the debate, (ii) increases mutual knowledg” without the intermediation of American or European views, and (iii) enhances the interaction of scientific communities from both countries.

Read the article: 

BASSO, Larissa; VIOLA, Eduardo. Chinese energy policy progress and challenges in the transition to low carbon development, 2006-2013. Rev. bras. polít. int.,  Brasília ,  v. 57, n. spe,   2014 .   Available from <http://www.scielo.br/article_plus.php?pid=S0034-73292014000300174&tlng=en&lng=en>. access on  18  Oct.  2014.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/0034-7329201400211.

Eduardo Viola holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Sao Paulo (1982) and has Post-Doctoral training in international political economy at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Larissa Basso holds Bachelor of Laws (2003) and Master in International Law (2008) degrees from the University of Sao Paulo, and an MPhil in Environmental Policy (2010) from University of Cambridge

André Vicente Pintor  is member of the Program of Tutorial Education in International Relations at University of Brasília -PET-REL and of the International Relations Analysis Lab – LARI (andre.v.pintor@gmail.com )

1 Comentário em "Chinese energy policy progress and challenges in the transition to low carbon development, 2006 – 2013”, an interview with Larissa Basso

  1. Search on alternative energy is of paramount impotance for the future of humanity and the Republic of China is the largest industrial production in the world. Congratulations on the topic and article.