China is an integral actor in any movement that will stabilize the global climate at conditions suited to sustainable development for its own population and for people living around the world. Assessments of China’s climatic-system consequences, impact, and responsibilities need to take into account the strengths, weaknesses, and potential of subnational governments, non-governmental organizations, transnational non-state connections, and the urban populace in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. A multitude of recent local initiatives that have engaged subnational China in actions that mitigate emissions can be enhanced by powerful framings that appeal to citizen concerns about air pollution and health conditions.
China Confronts Climate Change offers the first fully comprehensive account of China’s response to climate change, based on engagement with the global climate governance literature and current debates over responsibility along with specific insights into the Chinese context. Responsible implementation of any overarching climate agreement depends on expanding China’s subnational contributions. To remain fully informed about GHG-emissions mitigation, China watchers and climate-change monitors need to pay close attention to bottom-up developments.
The book provides a valuable contemporary resource for students, scholars, and policy leaders at all levels of governance who are concerned with climate change, environmental politics, and sustainable urban development.
"China Confronts Climate Change digs beneath the surface of what many have perceived as China’s indifference to its huge greenhouse gas emissions — and finds a reality that is more complex. Indeed, Peter Koehn demonstrates that China is doing a great deal to limit its emissions, but often with initiatives at the city and provincial scale or by non-governmental organizations that go unrecognized. He further explains that the actions being taken are often done not just as a matter of climate change policy but also to address domestic priorities such as public health protection and economic transformation. Across the world, it is increasingly recognized that success in combatting climate change will require much more than national government mandates. Koehn paints a compelling picture of how a bottom-up strategy built on the engagement of Mayors, Governors, corporate executives, and community leaders might play out in China." – Dan Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University
"In the post-Paris Summit era, the world needs urgent actions on the ground to tackle climate change. These actions must come from bottom-up as well as top-down, and China is indispensable to drive those actions. China Confronts Climate Change provides a refreshing look at the non-state actors and subnational and transnational efforts and what a "bottom-up" approach can offer in addressing climate change challenges." – Zhihong Zhang, Senior Program Coordinator, Climate Investment Funds, The World Bank Group
"China Confronts Climate Change provides a unique perspective on how bottom-up initiatives are emerging as central to the potential for China to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It provides an important analysis for those concerned with China’s role in responding to climate change and new insights into how cities are at the forefront of this challenge." – Harriet Bulkeley, Professor of Geography, Durham University
"Challenging a state-centric, top-down perspective on global environmental governance, Koehn offers a refreshing multilevel governance perspective on China’s confrontation with climate change. This book provides a timely and provocative account of how subnational and transnational actors, such as local governments, citizens, NGOs, and the Chinese diaspora, are shaping the future of environmental sustainability in China and the rest of the world." – Hongying Wang, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo and Basillie School of International Affairs
"With its huge population, large economy, and heavy dependence on fossil fuels, no country will have more impact on the global climate than China. Peter Koehn offers us a multi-level governance perspective, introducing not only recent national climate policies and programs, but also the many climate mitigation activities being taken by provinces and cities, city networks, local and transnational non-governmental organizations, and individuals. This book provides a highly accessible and informative overview of the many dimensions of China’s evolving responses to climate change." – Miranda Schreurs, Director, Environmental Policy Research Centre (FFU) Freie Universität Berlin
"If one did not already realise, the foreword to this significant book highlights that China is currently responsible for one third of the the world’s greenhouse gas output and 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities live within its boundaries. In the wake of Paris, actions in China assuming even greater importance. The traditional approach is centralised and top-down, but these policies may not be implemented on the ground. Hence the importance of this book and what it reports in terms of grassroots initiatives within China’s regions to address climate change." – Peter H. Koehn, Network Review
Introduction and Overview 1. China’s Position in Climate Futures: Contributions, Consequences, and Responsibilities 2. Framework for Analysis of Contemporary Climate-change Governance 3. China’s National Climate Change Context: Top-Down Governance, Policies, and Constraints 4. Bottom-up Opportunities, Initiatives, and Constraints 5. Subnational Framing of Climate-stabilization Initiatives 6. Current Collaborations and Promising Opportunities: Internal and Transnational 7. The Local Power of Diaspora Connections 8. Conclusion: Bottoms UP?