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Local States, Policy Capacity and the Sustainability Transition

A Study of Policies for Wind Energy Development in Xinjiang, Shanghai and Guangdong

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Hardback

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Local States, Policy Capacity and the Sustainability Transition by Ngar-Yin Daphne Mah
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This dissertation, "Local States, Policy Capacity and the Sustainability Transition: a Study of Policies for Wind Energy Development in Xinjiang, Shanghai and Guangdong" by Ngar-yin, Daphne, Mah, 馬雅燕, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: As China has moved towards sustainable development, policies for wind energy have undergone rapid changes over the past two decades in this country. However, although wind energy is capable of making a significant contribution to more sustainable energy systems, it has yet to reach its full potential. There remain significant gaps in knowledge about how and why public policies may effectively facilitate the achievement of sustainability in general and with regard to specific sector-based initiatives. The objective of this study is to bridge this knowledge gap by studying governance for sustainable development with particular reference to wind energy policies in China. This study focuses on the role of Chinese provinces in facilitating the sustainability transition. It proposes a conceptual framework that adopts a policy capacity approach to understanding the sustainability transition process. Policy capacity is defined in this study as the ability to identify, assimilate and utilize resources both inside and outside the formal state apparatus to facilitate the policy-making process. The conceptual framework, which comprises three building blocks - context, process and outcomes - suggests that the interactions between provinces and other stakeholders are the factors that facilitate or constrain policy capacity. A comparative study of the evolution of wind energy policies in three provinces, Xinjiang, Shanghai and Guangdong is presented. The aim of the analysis is to provide a better understanding of the mechanisms that explain whether - and how - provinces represent a key actor in the policy capacity building process. The key findings are first, that while the Chinese provinces may differ in their governing modes, a common feature was that they were in a unique position to strengthen policy capacity through their interactions with the wider society both within and outside the state. Second, the conceptualization of the conducive and inhibitive mechanisms of policy capacity building suggests that there were important conducive conditions for policy capacity building found in the provinces in the form of resources (such as local leadership and trust), structures (such as social ties and bridging structures) and dynamics (such as market dynamics and double-loop learning). However, the provinces' potential to enhance policy capacity was not fully utilized because of the presence of a set of inhibitive conditions that constrained the efforts. Third, through the conceptualization of the embeddedness of the policy capacity building process, this study reveals that contextual factors, at both the local and national levels, were the key to explaining why provinces differed in their response to the sustainability transition. This study concludes by suggesting that the sustainability transition needs to envision a new governance approach that places more attention on the role of Chinese provinces, to release and activate the enormous capacity in provinces that could in turn strengthen the central government's own policy capacity for the sustainability transition. DOI: 10.5353/th_
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
Contributor
Created by
Country of Publication
United States
Illustrations
colour illustrations
Imprint
Open Dissertation Press
Dimensions
216x279x32
ISBN-13
9781361286340
Product ID
26644958

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