Journal Article - Environmental Politics
Modernisation, Authoritarianism, and the Environment: The Politics of China's South-North Water Transfer Project
China presents a paradox for scholars of environmental politics. Environmental politics and policymaking in China now includes elements critical to environmental protection in the West, including non-governmental participation and stringent environmental legislation. Yet the country's authoritarian system constrains popular participation, and environmental outcomes are generally poor. China's South–North Water Transfer Project (SNWTP) embodies this puzzle: despite the pluralisation and development of environmental politics and policymaking, the SNWTP is a technocratic mega-project that imposes high social, economic, and environmental costs. What explains this puzzle, and what are the implications for understanding environmental politics in other authoritarian developing countries? I evaluate two current theories — Ecological Modernisation and Authoritarian Environmentalism — against the SNWTP case, and argue that it illustrates the ability of governments to co-opt environmental politics to pursue other strategic objectives, in turn necessitating greater attention to the mix of persuasive and coercive strategies in environmental politics.
Read the entire article here (log in may be required): http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09644016.2014.943544
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