China's Climate Change Dilemma: Policy and Management for Conditions of Complexity

Emergence: Complexity & Organization, Vol. 14 No. 2 2012 pp. 40-53

15 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2014

See all articles by Stephen Minas

Stephen Minas

Peking University - Peking University School of Transnational Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

The nature of China’s climate change dilemma is well-known: Climate change is exacerbating environmental devastation in China, but expanding mitigation efforts would pose new challenges to continuing economic development. National environmental measures often face strong resistance from sub-national authorities, which are incentivized by highly stable growth and development goals. This paper applies complexity theory to China’s climate change dilemma. Key insights of complexity theory — (i) the decisive role of systemic parameter settings (rule sets or minimum specifications) in shaping system behavior and (ii) the creative capacity of non-hierarchical organization — should encourage policy responses that reset incentives and harness creativity beyond government. Several instances are examined where incentive-focused, non-hierarchical initiatives have been effective in promoting climate-friendly behaviors. They include voluntary energy efficiency commitments undertaken by corporations, partnerships between local governments, clean-tech firms and international specialists, and ‘local issue-bundling’ to enlist public support for climate change mitigation.

Keywords: China, climate policy, management, complexity, energy

JEL Classification: 053, Q48

Suggested Citation

Minas, Stephen, China's Climate Change Dilemma: Policy and Management for Conditions of Complexity (2012). Emergence: Complexity & Organization, Vol. 14 No. 2 2012 pp. 40-53. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2542889

Stephen Minas (Contact Author)

Peking University - Peking University School of Transnational Law ( email )

Shenzhen
China

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