New Journal Article: Local Energy Efficiency Policy Implementation in China

According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) estimate, China recently overtook the United States as the world's largest energy consumer. This fast-increasing growth in energy consumption has implications, not just domestically but internationally: for air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy scarcity issues. But China is beginning to rethink its “growth at any cost” model and is moving towards sustainable growth and energy security.

A new paper by Genia Kostka and William Hobbs, based on original DLP research and published in the journal China Quarterly, addresses how local Chinese leaders at a sub-national level are 'working politically' to bridge the requirements of the new national energy efficiency targets (as set out in the 11th Five Year Plan, 2006-2010) against local socioeconomic and political pressures – all within the context of increasing international scrutiny of China's consumption levels and their effect on climate change and pollution.

The paper moves beyond the mainstream focus on the ways in which governance practices and decision-making structures shape implementation outcomes. Instead, it highlights how local leaders work politically to align national priorities with dynamic local interests.

The findings of this research suggest that local leaders use 'bundling' strategies (combining policy measures) to link energy efficiency policies with local high-priority issues thus gaining the support of politically influential local interests. This method of framing shows that there is always ‘room for manoeuvre’ which gives local legitimacy and traction to national priorities that may conflict with entrenched interests.

Read the paper here:

Genia Kostka & William Hobbs (2012) “Local Energy Efficiency Policy Implementation in China: Bridging the Gap Between National Priorities and Local Interests”, The China Quarterly, 211, 765-785. 

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About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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