China's low-carbon city initiatives: The implementation gap and the limits of the target responsibility system

Kevin Lo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Chinese government has promulgated a wide variety of low-carbon initiatives to control the rapid growth of energy consumption and carbon emissions in the cities. Past records, however, show that the central government's policies are often poorly implemented or distorted by local officials. Using a case study from the city of Changchun, this paper examines how and why the issue of poor implementation persists despite the establishment of the Energy Conservation Target Responsibility System (ECTRS). As a key institutional mechanism providing local officials with political incentives to implement low-carbon policies, the ECTRS has been constrained by a number of problems, including a poorly designed scoring system, weak targets, the use of energy intensity instead of absolute energy consumption as a policy objective, and the lack of reliable local energy statistics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-244
Number of pages9
JournalHabitat International
Volume42
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

User-Defined Keywords

  • Low-carbon cities
  • Implementation gap
  • Energy Conservation Target Responsibility System
  • Climate change
  • China

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