June 2012

Manoeuvres for a Low Carbon State: The Local Politics of Climate Change in China and India

Tom Harrison, Genia Kostka

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 lies in the inability to reach agreement internationally.

However, the current debate underplays the challenges of building the state capacity needed to ensure mitigation takes place.

Key points:

This paper argues that the implementation of mitigation strategies is far from straightforward. It requires careful balancing of competing priorities and deliberate strategies to bring different interest groups on board.

It analyses how this balancing act has been attempted in the promotion of energy efficiency measures in China and India. Each country has tailored its approach to the context of competing priorities and differing institutional capabilities.

This paper attempts to describe this differences: it refers to China’s approach as ‘state-signalling’ and India’s approach as a ‘market-plus’ approach. China’s approach is more explicitly statist than India’s. However, in both countries the state uses ‘bundling’ of policies and interests to build support for such policies.

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Manoeuvres for a Low Carbon State: The Local Politics of Climate Change in China and India

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