China's national leaders have recently made a priority of changing lanes from a pollution-intensive, growth-at-any-cost model to a resource-efficient and sustainable one. The immense challenges of rapid urbanization are one aspect of the problem. Central-local government relations are another source of challenges, since the central government's green agenda does not always find willing followers at lower levels. This paper identifies barriers to a more comprehensive implementation of environmental policies at the local level in China's urban areas and suggests ways to reduce or remove them. The research focuses particularly on the reasons for the gap between national plans and policy outcomes. Although environmental goals and policies at the national level are quite ambitious and comprehensive, insufficient and inconsistent local level implementation can hold back significant improvements in urban environmental quality. By analyzing local institutional and behavioral obstacles and by highlighting best-practice examples from China and elsewhere, the paper outlines options that can be used at the national and local levels to close the local "environmental implementation gap." The findings emphasize the need to create additional incentives and increase local implementation capacities.
China's national leaders have recently set ambitious goals to restructure and diversify the economy towards a more resource-efficient and sustainable growth path. To address the growing national environment and energy concerns, leaders introduced several binding environmental targets for government departments and large enterprises. The heavy reliance on a target-based implementation approach raises questions about the effectiveness of this strategy in the short and long run for environmental governance in China. Based on fieldwork in Jiangsu, Hunan, and Shandong provinces in 2012, this paper studies the desirable and undesirable outcomes of binding environmental targets in China's evolving green planning system. This paper argues that environmental targets have a signaling function that has resulted in ecological issues movement onto local governments' core policy agendas. However, in the nascent green planning system, classic planning problems have generated undesirable consequences such that that environmental targets are not always achieving their intended goals. Strategic and cyclical behavior by local government officials in leadership positions often lead to short-term maximization actions instead of long-term innovative environmental management. This analysis of local leaders' responses to top-down targets aims to generate a more realistic picture of what binding environmental targets can and cannot achieve.
This paper analyzes the career backgrounds of local government officials in provincial Environmental Protection Bureaus (EPBs) in China and explains appointment processes of Chinese EPB bureaucrats. Using biographical information of provincial EPB heads and drawing on extensive fieldwork conducted in 2010 in Shanxi Province and Inner Mongolia, this paper finds that only one-fourth of current EPB heads were promoted through the bureau ranks within the EPB, while the remaining three-fourths were appointed from positions outside the environment field. Further, nearly all EPB heads' professional backgrounds and associated networks can be clearly categorized as environmental, business, provincial government, or local government oriented. The paper delineates these four types of Chinese EPB leaders and explains why an awareness of the different professional orientations is critical to understanding environmental protection in China. These findings have implications for inferring the unique characteristics of a province's EPB leadership, the implementation capacities of provincial EPBs, and the appointment preferences of provincial leaders.
This book presents an analysis of why some large infrastructure projects are delayed or compromised and offers important insights into the better delivery of future projects. It provides an important reaction to the ambitious €315 billion investment plan devised by the European Commission, wherein Europe's infrastructure is a key investment target. Germany is adopted as a focus, as Europe's largest economy, and a nation that has seen significant delays and tensions in the delivery of key infrastructure projects. The contributions to this volume demonstrate various patterns for infrastructure assets and illustrate how factors such as poor project governance, early planning mistakes, inappropriate risk management and unforeseen technological challenges influence delivery. The in-depth case studies on the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, and offshore wind parks show how project delivery can face massive problems, and illuminating solutions are offered to these problems. Overall, the case of Germany also offers the opportunity to assess various new forms of project delivery, such as public-private partnerships (PPP), and the risks and opportunities of ambitious first-mover 'pioneer' projects. The book will be of great interest for scholars and upper-level students of human geography, business and management, as well as policy makers.