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Underneath Kyoto: Emerging Subnational Government Initiatives and Incipient Issue-Bundling Opportunities in China and the United States


  • Peter H. Koehn

    (The University of Montana)


At present, progress in mitigating global GHG emissions is impeded by political stalemate at the national level in the United States and the People's Republic of China. Through the conceptual lenses of multilevel governance and framing politics, the article analyzes emerging policy initiatives among subnational governments in both countries. Effective subnational emission-mitigating action requires framing climatic-stabilization policies in terms of local co-benefits associated with environmental protection, health promotion, and economic advantage. In an impressive group of US states and cities, and increasingly at the local level in China, public concerns about air pollution, consumption and waste management, traffic congestion, health threats, the ability to attract tourists, and/or diminishing resources are legitimizing policy developments that carry the co-benefit of controlling GHG emissions. A co-benefits framing strategy that links individual and community concerns for morbidity, mortality, stress reduction, and healthy human development for all with GHG-emission limitation/reduction is especially likely to resonate powerfully at the subnational level throughout China and the United States. (c) 2008 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter H. Koehn, 2008. "Underneath Kyoto: Emerging Subnational Government Initiatives and Incipient Issue-Bundling Opportunities in China and the United States," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 53-77, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:glenvp:v:8:y:2008:i:1:p:53-77

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    Cited by:

    1. Bi, Jun & Zhang, Rongrong & Wang, Haikun & Liu, Miaomiao & Wu, Yi, 2011. "The benchmarks of carbon emissions and policy implications for China's cities: Case of Nanjing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 4785-4794, September.
    2. Miranda A. SCHREURS, 2010. "Multi-level Governance and Global Climate Change in East Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 5(1), pages 88-105.
    3. Krause, Rachel M., 2012. "The impact of municipal governments' renewable electricity use on greenhouse gas emissions in the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 246-253.
    4. Francesch-Huidobro, Maria, 2016. "Climate change and energy policies in Shanghai: A multilevel governance perspective," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 45-56.
    5. Li, J.S. & Chen, G.Q. & Lai, T.M. & Ahmad, B. & Chen, Z.M. & Shao, L. & Ji, Xi, 2013. "Embodied greenhouse gas emission by Macao," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 819-833.
    6. Wang, Yafei & Zhao, Hongyan & Li, Liying & Liu, Zhu & Liang, Sai, 2013. "Carbon dioxide emission drivers for a typical metropolis using input–output structural decomposition analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 312-318.
    7. Larsen, Hogne N. & Hertwich, Edgar G., 2010. "Identifying important characteristics of municipal carbon footprints," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 60-66, November.
    8. Karen Stenner & Zim Nwokora, 2015. "Current and Future Friends of the Earth: Assessing Cross-National Theories of Environmental Attitudes," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(6), pages 1-21, May.
    9. Hamish van der Ven & Steven Bernstein & Matthew Hoffmann, 2017. "Valuing the Contributions of Nonstate and Subnational Actors to Climate Governance," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-20, February.

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