Local Climate Governance and Policy Innovation in China: a Case Study of a Piloting Emission Trading Scheme in Guangdong Province
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This paper investigates how piloting programmes in China can promote local policy innovations. By using one of the piloting emission trading schemes (ETS) in Guangdong province as a case study, it is argued that the main features of the piloting experiments, particularly in the climate change domain, are largely different from previous local marketization experiments that dominate the reform period of China. Whereas previous experiments are often characterized as bottom-up or indigenous initiatives with strong patronage relations to the pro-reform politicians at central level, the current piloting programmes are often crafted in a top-down fashion that is often misaligned with local market or corporate interests. Hence, local policy innovations are designed, developed and brokered by the local state officers, in order to bridge this central–local interest gap. As a result, successful implementation of these policy innovations largely depends on local political traditions, bureaucratic culture and perceptions of distinctive development needs.