Emil Holms Kanal 6, 2300 København S, 24, Building: 24.4.27
China’s economic growth has caused an environmental degradation. The environmental deterioration states a failure on China’s environmental governance. Despite the central government delivering many policy outputs, the policies outcomes tend to contribute to the worsening the environmental condition. This puzzle owes to that laws are present but not enforced; which is particularly conspicuous at the local level. It has its historical root. The primary purpose of the project is to dive into China’s history, for an understanding of the current complex environmental problems. After the Post-Mao reforms, the Chinese governance system has been decentralized, as local governments have gained more administrative autonomy from the central government. Consequently, local officials are responsible for most of their own revenues and budgets. Moreover, they are allowed to retain fiscal resources at the local level. Local government are forced to compete with one another in embracing pro-growth policy by the considerable incentives generated by the new system, and the deepening environmental degradation in the past decades have impelled the central government to increase its efforts to protect the environment. Nevertheless, local governments continue to follow the economic growth first logic. The leitmotiv of my phd project is the long existing tension between the environmentally progressive central government, and the growth driven local governments, in a fundamental phase of Chinese environmental governance. I contend that the ineffective environmental governance in China has its origin in the Post-Mao reform period, but it is not necessarily a result of a decentralized political system.