China’s dramatic economic growth this century has made it not only the second largest economy in the world, but also the biggest energy producer and consumer and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As reflected in the reactions to China’s recently announced pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, China’s impact on energy markets and on climate change is profound. Even as China is quickly evolving into a superpower alongside the United States, it still faces many challenges of a typical developing country, such as widespread energy poverty and a per capita income that classifies it as “middle-income.” Should we consider China a developing country or a superpower? What are the implications of China’s development status for energy use, global greenhouse gas emissions and prospects for climate action?

The Center on Global Energy Policy hosted a panel of international experts for a discussion on these issues.


  • Sarah Ladislaw, Senior Vice President and Director and Senior Fellow of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Ranjit Lamech, Regional Director -- Infrastructure, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank
  • Shang-Jin Wei, NT Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy at Columbia Business School and former Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank


  • Philippe Benoit, Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and Lead of the Energy for Development Research Initiative, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA