Understanding institutional and policy challenges in China’s coal transition: Insights from the case of Chongqing

Danping Yang, Heinz Konietzky, Zhiwei Fan, Chuan Zhou, Manyi Li

Article ID: 2329
Vol 4, Issue 1, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.54517/ec.v4i1.2329
VIEWS - 87 (Abstract)


China’s efforts and decisions to phase out coal will shape global endeavors in addressing climate change in the upcoming decades. This study investigates the action logic and interactions among different stakeholders, including the central government, local government, coal enterprises, and mine workers, in the case of Chongqing to gain valuable insights into existing institutional and policy challenges. Our results demonstrate that: First, the provincial government is the key to managing and implementing the local coal transitions, its motivation for coal transition, however, may not always align with the nation’s overall priorities. This highlights the need for a top-down coal transition policy to address the mismatched incentives among various participants. Second, Chongqing’s successful experience in maintaining economic development and whole employment demonstrates the possibility of adopting a rapid coal closure in places with similar resource endowments and industrial structures. Chongqing’s collaborative approach to transferring social responsibilities to local governments also serves as a valuable model that may apply to others’ contexts. Lastly, it is crucial to make context-based policy adjustments and establish an integrated and independent governance system when pursuing a rapid, efficient, and safe coal phase-out.


coal transition; stakeholders; institutional challenges; policy-making

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