Title

Defusing the bombshell? Agenda 21 and economic development in China

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Review of International Political Economy

Publication Date

8-1-2004

Volume

11

Issue

3

First Page

618

Last Page

640

Keywords

Agenda 21, China, Energy, Environmental policy, Environmental regulation, Sustainable development

Abstract

Agenda 21 is the voluminous policy document that emanated from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Using a brief case study of China's energy use - specifically its use of coal - this article illustrates the degree to which objectives of Agenda 21 are reflected in China's economic development policies and practices. China has started to shift its economic development toward a more environmentally sustainable trajectory, as reflected in its changing policies on energy derived from coal burning. We conclude that while China's environmental policies have been stimulated in part by Agenda 21 and other international environmental undertakings, such 'soft' international agreements are far from the only important determinants and variables. Many factors, such a bureaucratic infighting, disagreements between central and provincial governments, as well as corruption, severely delimit the extent and efficacy of energy policies and other environmental regulations. Because economic growth remains central to development goals, existing environmental policies are only a start toward environmentally sustainable development. Environmental decline still outpaces sustainable development in China, and this will continue for many years to come.

DOI

10.1080/0969229042000252927

Print ISSN

09692290

E-ISSN

14664526

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Harris, P. G., & Udagawa, C. (2004). Defusing the bombshell? Agenda 21 and economic development in China. Review of International Political Economy, 11(3), 618-640. doi: 10.1080/0969229042000252927

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