Knowledge and insight in national environmental governance in China is widespread. However, increasingly it has been acknowledged that the major problems in guiding the Chinese economy and society towards sustainability are to be found at the local level. This book illuminates the fast-changing dynamics of local environmental politics in China, a topic only marginally addressed in the literature. In the course of building up an institutional framework for environmental governance over the last decade, local actors have generated a variety of policy innovations and experiments. In large measure these are creative responses to two main challenges associated with translating national environmental policies into local realities. The first such challenge is a ‘policy implementation gap’ stemming from the absence of the state capacity necessary to the implementation of environmental measures. The second challenge refers to the need for local non-state actors to engage in environmental management; oftentimes such a ‘participation gap’ contributes to implementation failures. In recent years, we have seen a multitude of initiatives within China at the provincial level and below designed to bridge both ‘gaps’. Hence, the central aim of this book is to assess these experiments and innovations in local environmental politics.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning.
1. Implementation and Participation in China’s Local Environmental Politics: Challenges and Innovations Genia Kostka and Arthur P.J. Mol
Part 1 - Challenging the Implementation Gap
2. Perverse Incentive Structure and Policy Implementation Gap in China’s Local Environmental Politics Ran Ran
3. Environmental Protection Bureau Leadership at the Provincial Level in China: Examining Diverging Career Backgrounds and Appointment Patterns Genia Kostka
4. Political Modernization in China’s Forest Governance? Payment Schemes for Forest Ecological Services in Liaoning Dan Liang and Arthur P.J. Mol
Part 2 - Challenging the Participation Gap
5. Environmental Activism in Provincial China Fengshi Wu
6. The Politics of Waste Incineration in Beijing: The Limits of a Top-Down Approach? Thomas Johnson