In China, the state’s role in environmental governance has changed dramatically, with more government attention now paid to pollution mitigation as well as strengthened state capacity in addressing environmental challenges. Our various projects in this area revolve around the following key questions: What kind of environmental state is China building? Which environmental problems are better addressed due to increasing state capacity and where do we see less progress? And how is China’s current environmental governance different or similar to other rapid industrializers?
Research in this stream focuses on a number of core questions in the study of climate change and energy politics in China: What roles can markets and institutions play in the transition towards a sustainable low-carbon path? What kind of planning and targets are necessary for such a long-term undertaking? At which scale (local, national, or supranational) are climate change and energy policies most effectively executed? And how can Chinese citizens most fruitfully engage in this process?
Water as a resource is highly contested on all administrative levels. Local interests of water use regularly thwart national plans, while simultaneously undermining interests of other local actors. Research in this stream aims to analyze the behavior of central and local actors in the policy field of water governance in different regions of China. Particular attention is paid to the evolution of new institutions governing water provision that are not only embedded in traditional structures, but are simultaneously interacting with transnational discourses on the looming ‘water crisis’ and the privatisation of natural resources.