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Olivia Gippner

The introductory chapter outlines the basic premise and argument of the book. China, as the biggest country and since 2006 also as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, has been the core target of engagement and lobbying by other countries. Yet, when foreign climate policy-makers try to address Chinese counterparts, they first have to navigate the myriad of institutional stakeholders influencing domestic climate policy in China. The contents of policies and norms on their agenda will inevitably be modified during this process. By following foreign-inspired policies, such as emissions trading, from agenda-setting to policy adoption in China, the analysis of this book seeks to address the question of when and how early climate policies were adopted in China during the fourth leadership era (2002_2012) and the first years of Xi Jinping’s presidency, and what role some specific actors, such as the European Union and the United States, could play.

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Olivia Gippner

This study starts out investigating the role of the external actors in influencing Chinese climate policies-. Climate policies developed in the European Union and the United States that have been adopted China, particularly after major Chinese institutional changes in 2003. The research question highlights the conditions for influence of external actors on Chinese climate policy making. The theoretical framework of bureaucratic politics proposes two main hypotheses: an externally-inspired policy is adopted, if it empowers the strongest domestic decision-maker in terms of organizational interests, organizational essence and turf control. Second, the process has to obey the rules of the game and involve elite decision-makers to develop long-term personal relationships (guanxi) with external policy proponents. Bureaucratic politics and ‘turf wars’ enable or restrict adoption of EU-inspired climate policies.

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Olivia Gippner

Empirical and theoretical contributions to EU external governance in China reveal several research gaps. This book contributes to, and draws upon, a number of different bodies of existing research. Diffusion research recognizes that policy approaches adopted in one specific national context can ‘travel’ to other countries. Others point to domestic political interests to determine which policies are adopted – sometimes they happen to have a European origin. With increasing bureaucratization of the Chinese state in successive administrative reforms, formalized institutions have gained importance. Climate change policy by its nature is interdisciplinary and involves international and domestic actors. While existing literature has looked at the issues of EU policy promotion and bureaucratic politics in isolation, this chapter integrates international and domestic considerations when explaining policy adoption.

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Olivia Gippner

The bureaucratic set up of climate policy-making in China has been informed by a variety of stakeholders, weaving an intricate web of interests, political and scientific considerations. The chapter provides a comprehensive overview of each organization’s interests, organizational essence, resources and areas of control, access to the highest decision-making centres and what strategies are used to maintain or expand their turfs. But also non-state actors and the public can act as influences on climate policy-making. After reflecting on relations between the Chinese Communist Party and bureaucratic politics, the chapter concludes by relating the Chinese domestic climate network to external actors and identifying potential channels of influence.

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Olivia Gippner

Limiting average global warming to 2°C when compared with pre-industrial levels has become the guiding principle of the post-Copenhagen climate change discourse at the UNFCCC. In 2009 the Copenhagen Accord contained an explicit reference to the 2°C target. Staunch opponents of any kind of target have changed their positions and have come to support that goal. Even if the success or failure of the Copenhagen Summit – and whom to blame – have been debated, the event set the tone for a global agreement on the 2°C target, including the support of China during COP21. This chapter addresses the question of why China agreed to set a 2°C target at the Copenhagen Conference in 2009 and what particular role the European Union, an early advocate of the target, played in achieving this. The United States was notably absent in the debate, in particular since it took place prior to the US rejuvenation in international climate politics in 2014. The chapter shows that the acceptance of the 2°C target can be credited to the interplay of Chinese domestic decision-making structures, particularly China’s Meteorological Administration, and international policy promotion by the European Union. The European Union acted as an agenda-setter globally as well as in its bilateral relations with China.

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Olivia Gippner

In 2011, the Chinese government decided to pilot emissions trading in seven provinces and municipalities. China widened this to a nation-wide emissions trading system in 2017 – which created the biggest market of this kind in the world. The case study demonstrates specifically the role of the European Union and its member states, as most consistent promoters of emissions trading in China. Developing an emissions trading system (ETS) was one of the core project areas the European Union cooperated on with China, and targeted the building of Chinese capacity in developing regulatory approaches and establishing ETS as a strategy to combat climate change. Other actors, such as the United States and the World Bank influenced the emerging emissions trading system through high-level political dialogue and capacity building. This case study followed the process of policy adoption of ETS regulation, from agenda-setting, through policy analysis, bureaucratic battles between the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission, to adoption as a national strategy and pilot study.

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Olivia Gippner

As one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gas emissions China has embraced the idea of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) as a way to continue economic growth while preventing a further increase of overall emissions. The CCUS story began as part of international cooperation with the United States and the European Union. This case study follows the process of policy adoption of a CCUS strategy, from agenda-setting, through policy analysis, international cooperation projects, through research and development bureaucratic turf shifts from the Ministry of Science and Technology to the National Development and Reform Commission, to the adoption as a national strategy.

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Olivia Gippner

Concluding from the detailed mapping of the process to policy adoption in the three cases of EU-inspired policies – the 2°C target, Emissions Trading System, and Carbon Capture and Storage - all three case studies strongly supported the empowerment hypothesis, meaning that adoption of a policy was conditional on the empowerment of the NDRC or the NDRC’s approval of another bureaucratic actor’s empowerment. The rules of the game hypothesis was more difficult to measure, yet three core strategies were observed: use of guanxi networks, public communication and inter-ministerial lobbying. The European Union took the role of an agenda setter, as the EU’s own behaviour and policy promotion could not have been replaced by any other actor’s, say by climate policy approaches advocated by the United States or Australia. The chapter outlines the causal mechanisms for climate policy adoption as well as three types of turf dynamics:: claim, competition and transition.

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Olivia Gippner

The study finds that the European Union has taken the role of an agenda-setter and reference point for framing climate change policy in China during the fourth leadership era (2002_2012) and the first years of Xi Jinping’s presidency. The EU’s influence on actual policy-making, however, has been mediated by bureaucratic politics within Chinese decision-making structures. The study thus adds a new perspective on how policies, in particular in the case of climate change, travel and diffuse between jurisdictions all across the globe.

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Olivia Gippner