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According to an IEA estimate, China recently overtook the United States as the world's largest energy consumer. This growth in energy consumption has implications, not just domestically but internationally. 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, addresses how Chinese leaders at a sub-national level are 'working politically' to bridge the requirements of the national energy efficiency targets against local interests ? all in the context of increasing international scrutiny of China's consumption levels and their effect on climate change.
Debates about how to respond to climate change have largely focused on the difficulties in agreeing on national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The general assumption is that the main obstacle to emissions reduction is the inability to reach agreement internationally. However, the current debate underplays the challenges of building the state capacity needed to ensure mitigation takes place.