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MAPPING CHINA’S CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION POLICY: STRUCTURES, PROCESSES AND PERFORMANCE IN THE LIGHT OF THE POLICY NETWORK THEORY

Moorooven,MarieNatacha (SOGANG UNIVERSITY-GRADUATE SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES)

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China has the most coal-dependent economy on Earth and is now the leading emitter of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), overtaking the United States as the world’s largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter. Given its huge emissions of GHG, China’s role on the International Climate Change agenda has gained increased a...
China has the most coal-dependent economy on Earth and is now the leading emitter of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), overtaking the United States as the world’s largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter. Given its huge emissions of GHG, China’s role on the International Climate Change agenda has gained increased attention. Although many studies have addressed the functioning, performance and implications of existing climate change mitigation policies and actions in China, there is insufficient literature that elucidates how the national Climate Change Mitigation (CCM) policies have been formulated and molded. The objective of this research is to explore China’s CCM policy in the light of the policy network theory. It emphasizes the panoply of government, business, and civil society actors that have created networks to address environmental circumstances and subsequently influence the policy outcomes and implementations. Within an esoteric Chinese context, three cases are selected to demonstrate functional and interactive features of the specific policy network settings in formulating different policy arrangements while influencing the outcomes. The three cases are namely: the regulatory evolution of China’s climate change policy making; China’s involvement in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project, and China’s ambitious voluntary action in adopting the Top-1000 Energy-Consuming Enterprises Program. The analysis of the policy process uses both primary data from interviews, and secondary data from relevant literature. The study finds that the Chinese central government still prevails in climate change policy formulation; per contra, elaborated action networks that pertain to numerous actors at different levels have emerged in parallel with diverse policy arrangements related to climate change mitigation. The progressive freedom of climate change policy network has enabled its proactive engagement in positively furthering mitigation results. To conclude, the research indicates that the policy network approach provides a commendable tool for mapping China’s climate change policy formulation process. The implication of diverse types of state and non-state actors has molded stronger relations and influenced the policy outcomes and implementations. Furthermore, through the case analysis, the study challenges the ‘fragmented authoritarianism model’ which, once-influential, is now remotely adequate in accommodating progress and changes of policy making processes in contemporary China.