A comparative review of urban climate governance in Chinese and Western contexts

Elsevier, Urban Governance, Volume 1, Issue 2, December 2021, Pages 81-88  
Minsi Liu, Kevin Lo

Cities are at the forefront of the global challenges of climate change. Compared to other urban problems, the complexity and uncertainty of climate change presents new governance challenges. Consequently, new modes of urban governance have emerged to address climate change, including multilevel governance (the cooperation of governmental actors positioned at different jurisdictions and governance levels); network governance (the collaboration between public and private actors in steering collective action); and experimental governance (the trial-and-error-based interventions to generate new climate solutions). This review paper compares urban climate governance in China and the West through the three analytical perspectives. The findings show that the actors involved in urban climate governance have become more diverse in China and globally, driven by new governance mechanisms that encourage the active involvement of a broad range of state and non-state actors. However, Chinese urban climate governance does exhibit distinctive characteristics under the country's unique political-economic contexts. Therefore, care must be exercised in obtaining a nuanced and contextualized understanding of urban climate governance in China. This paper concludes by offering several suggestions for future research in Chinese urban climate governance.