China: Improving the local-central climate governance nexus
China: Improving the local-central climate governance nexus / Fei Teng. IDDRI, Idées pour le débat, 2012, 22 p. (Working Papers N°08/2012. Challenges for climate policy and governance in key emerging countries Series)
Points clés (source et copyright © IDDRI) :
Climate mitigation plans : a top-down governance
The recent low-carbon policy developments in China have relied primarily on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) defined by the central government. Along this policy line, subnational governments have been asked to organise, implement and control the response to climate change. Within this framework, 13 pilot programmes for low-carbon provinces and cities have been carried out since June 2010 throughout the country as a key mechanism to achieving China’s 2020 GHG emissions reduction target. Central authorities use different instruments to ensure the accountability, assess the performance, and exert administrative control over these programmes.
Local governance : successes and challenges
Under the 11th FYP (2006-2010), the national target of a 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2020 was disaggregated into provincial targets. Most provinces met this objective, but as level targets were more or less based on the equal-numbers principle, it failed to reflect inter-province disparities. Therefore, a more adapted approach was envisaged for the 12th FYP (2011-2015) in order to provide specific policy incentives and to balance out efficiency and inter-province equity. However, so far, most provincial governments have been using similar policy instruments to achieve energy conservation targets, with little consideration being given to their local circumstances.
Low-carbon development: a complex and cross-sectoral issue
Beyond governance issues, low-carbon development in China will require significant macroeconomic shifts: innovation-driven technological improvements and structural changes are needed to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of climate policies. Rebalancing the economy towards an energy-light industry and channelling one of its main drivers, namely urbanisation, will lead to positive impacts in terms of cross-sectoral energy intensity and low-carbon development. Urbanisation always comes along with massive construction and transportation infrastructures, and therefore induces shifts in lifestyle patterns. It is thus a key process to enhance low-carbon development.