Local climate governance under the shadow of hierarchy: Evidence from China’s Yangtze River delta

Bo MIAO, Yu Wai LI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the making of local climate governance in the Chinese setting where central-local inter-governmental relations continue to play critical part in almost every policy domain. Through analysing the climate responses of the three provincial-level governments at the Yangtze River Delta (YRD), the paper argues that the process of “experimentation under hierarchy” is relevant to understanding the evolving of the subnational climate regime in the YRD region. We find the preponderance of the central authorities in initiating national climate strategies and galvanising responses at the local level. Meanwhile, provincial governments have been able to leverage climate plans and actions to achieve their own gains. These findings suggest that any optimism about subnational climate activism in a Chinese setting has to be mixed with caution. In fact, the shadow of hierarchical authority structure lingers and plays important part in the initiation of subnational response and spurring climate responses and innovations from below.
中央政府與地方政府的關係一直是中國各政策領域的關鍵問題。本文研究這種語境下中國地方氣候治理政策的形成。文章分析了長三角三省的氣候應對,指出應從“層層嘗試”的過程理解長三角的地方氣候治理,其中既有中央政府在制定國家氣候戰略方面的優勢,也有地方政府的積極響應。而省政府則從氣候規劃中收穫效益。研究發現表明,對中國中央政府以下的氣候治理活動都需保持謹慎樂觀。權力層級無處不在,並在地方應對以及激發自下而上的氣候應對及創新中起著重要作用。 Copyright © 2017 Editorial Board, Urban Policy and Research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-311
JournalUrban Policy and Research
Issue number3
Early online dateFeb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017



Miao, B., & Li, Y.-W. V. (2017). Local climate governance under the shadow of hierarchy: Evidence from China’s Yangtze River delta. Urban Policy and Research, 35(3), 298-311. doi: 10.1080/08111146.2017.1289912


  • Central-local relations
  • China
  • Climate change policies
  • Local policies
  • Policy experimentation