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Title: Urban climate governance in China : policy networks, partnerships, and trends in participation
Author: Westman, L. K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 0514
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis situates China in the global shift from government to governance that has occurred in international environmental politics over the past decades. The thesis explores how this shift is expressed by studying the role of non-state actors in local climate action and how policy networks and partnerships are produced in this political system. The thesis employs a mixed methods approach to study this topic. The city of Rizhao serves as a case study on urban environmental policy making and governance modes involved in climate agenas. A comparative study of 150 urban climate initiatives provides insights into urban climate governance trends, including roles of actors and forms of climate partnerships. The thesis contributes to academic debates on China’s transition to a modern environmental state, argued to cause an increasing diversity of actors and strategies in environmental governance. This research highlights previously unexplored dimensions of network governance, such as conflict, balance of power, and the structure of the political economy. The thesis shows that urban planning processes are shaped by political-economic elites and that planning arrangements protect status quo, thereby reproducing trajectories of high carbon growth. The empirical material also demonstrates that local authorities use a mixture of governance modes to support emission reductions and that urban climate partnerships are common. Partnerships vary in form and function and can facilitate local climate action by introducing new technology and policy practices. However, partnerships and networks cannot be directly interpreted using theoretical perspectives developed in liberal democratic nations. The thesis demonstrates that participation is not open to all social groups, but only to those with access to political-economic resources or technical expertise. This is explained as a reproduction of enduring techno-economic rationalities that condition political practices in China. Thus, a rise in collaborative governance strategies does not equate democratization of environmental governance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available