Policy strategies for overcoming the resistance from China's incumbent fossil fuel industries

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation at conference/workshop/seminar


China has taken great strides over the last 15 years to constrain the rise of CO2 emissions from its energy sector. Energy intensity has declined, the installed capacity for wind and solar energy has soared, and the share of fossil fuels is falling. This success has been achieved through deploying administrative policy instruments backed by generous state finance. As this approach is yielding diminishing returns, the government has launched a number of initiatives to increase the role of market forces across the energy sector: in the oil, gas and electricity industries, and through the development of carbon markets. However, the wider political and economic context is undermining these moves. Central and local government agencies regularly intervene to disrupt the operation of these markets. At the same time, most resources and assets remain in the hands of enterprises owned by the state at central or local levels, giving them too the ability to undermine these markets. In other words, existing energy policies remain well short of achieving a rapid transformation to a low carbon system of energy supply. One of the principal reasons has been political resistance from incumbent fossil fuel industries. While numerous studies have demonstrated the influence of business actors across multiple policy domains, less work has examined the behaviour of business actors in individual energy-centric industries, namely the oil, gas, coal, utility and renewable industries. Accordingly, this paper examines the role of business actors in China’s energy sector and asks what should policymakers do? Drawing on new empirical data, primarily semi-structured interviewers with business actors across the China’s energy sector, this paper aims to identify what specific strategies policymakers can employ to help overcome the resistance from incumbent fossil fuel industries.
Period28 Aug 20231 Sept 2023
Event title62nd European Regional Science Association Annual Congress
Event typeConference
LocationAlicante, SpainShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational