Possibility of Ratification by 2018: High
As the largest greenhouse gas emitting country, China has promised to ratify the Paris Agreement before the G20 Hangzhou Summit in September 2016. Zhang Gaoli, Chinese Vice Premier and the special envoy of President Xi Jinping, announced this plan right after China’s signing of the Agreement on April 22nd, which was “great news” according to Ban Ki-Moon.
We have reasons to be positive about China’s ratification of the Paris Agreement. First, given the clear message from the top political leader, China’s central government at least tries to minimize domestic pressure against ratification. And given the high consensus among political leaders, China’s legislative body—the National People’s Congress, along with its Standing Committee, is less likely to veto the Agreement and its domestic legalization. Moreover, as the chair of G20 Summit this year, China is willing to demonstrate its leading role in promoting ratification and implementation of the Agreement, as a mechanism to promote trade and collaboration among developing and developed countries. Furthermore, many of the targets in the Agreement are also included in its 13th five-year plan (2016-2020), which lays emphasis on national economic restructuring and sustainable development in response to problems like economic slowdown, environmental degradation and pollution.
In short, China is likely to fulfill its commitment by fall. Let’s wait and see in September.