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The socialization potential of the CDM in EU–China climate relations


  • David Belis

    () (KU Leuven)

  • Bart Kerremans

    () (KU Leuven)


Abstract This article hypothesizes that the material incentives associated with the clean development mechanism (CDM) have contributed to the internalization of climate protection norms in China. In current academic research, the CDM has both been extolled as a cost-effective and vilified as an environmentally and ethically inadequate climate mitigation instrument. Few studies so far, however, have looked into the CDM’s potential contribution to socialization-related phenomena such as raising climate change awareness in emerging economies. The relationship with the EU is highly relevant in this context, as the emission reduction credits (CERs) resulting from CDM projects would not have had any meaningful prices without the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). This article aims to fill the current research gap by studying the socialization potential of the CDM in EU–China climate relations in four periods, namely initiation (2001–2005), improvement (2005–2007), consolidation (2008–2010) and habit formation (2010–2014). We argue that there is at least a discernible effect and that the underlying causal mechanism involves the emergence and activities of norm entrepreneurs and habit formation through a process of legal institutionalization.

Suggested Citation

  • David Belis & Bart Kerremans, 2016. "The socialization potential of the CDM in EU–China climate relations," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 543-559, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ieaple:v:16:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s10784-014-9269-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s10784-014-9269-y

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jon Birger Skjærseth & Jørgen Wettestad, 2009. "The Origin, Evolution and Consequences of the EU Emissions Trading System," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 9(2), pages 101-122, May.
    2. Julien Chevallier, 2010. "Carbon Prices during the EU ETS Phase II: Dynamics and Volume Analysis," Working Papers halshs-00459140, HAL.
    3. Kelley, Judith, 2004. "International Actors on the Domestic Scene: Membership Conditionality and Socialization by International Institutions," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 425-457, July.
    4. Schimmelfennig, Frank, 2005. "Strategic Calculation and International Socialization: Membership Incentives, Party Constellations, and Sustained Compliance in Central and Eastern Europe," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 827-860, October.
    5. Sean Walsh & Huifang Tian & John Whalley & Manmohan Agarwal, 2011. "China and India’s participation in global climate negotiations," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 261-273, September.
    6. Checkel, Jeffrey T., 2005. "International Institutions and Socialization in Europe: Introduction and Framework," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(04), pages 801-826, October.
    7. Finnemore, Martha & Sikkink, Kathryn, 1998. "International Norm Dynamics and Political Change," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 887-917, September.
    8. Santalco, Aldo, 2012. "How and when China will exceed its renewable energy deployment targets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 652-661.
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