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"Modernisation, Authoritarianism, and the Environment: The Politics of China's South-North Water Transfer Project"

Dismantled houses next to China's Danjiangkou reservoir. An estimated 330,000 people were relocated for the reservoir's expansion, which marks the beginning of the South-North Water Transfer Project's middle route.
International Rivers CC

"Modernisation, Authoritarianism, and the Environment: The Politics of China's South-North Water Transfer Project"

Journal Article, Environmental Politics, volume 23, issue 6, pages 1-20

November 2014

Author: Scott Moore, Former Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sustainability Science Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2012–2014

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Energy Technology Innovation Policy; Environment and Natural Resources; Science, Technology, and Public Policy

 

ABSTRACT

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

 

For more information about this publication please contact the ETIP Coordinator at 617-496-5584.

For Academic Citation:

Moore, Scott. "Modernisation, Authoritarianism, and the Environment: The Politics of China's South-North Water Transfer Project." Environmental Politics 23, no. 6 (November 2014): 1-20.

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