The Value of a Valuation Perspective for Theorizing about Social Change and Climate Change
A Study on Carbon Pricing in China
Keywords:Climate change, social change, carbon pricing, China, decarbonization, valuation perspective
This study combines three purposes: to advance a valuation perspective for theorizing about social change and climate change; to contribute to the general debate on pricing as the dominant policy to meet climate mitigation goals; to improve our understanding of potential decarbonization processes in China. We apply a valuation perspective to an in-depth case study of an emerging carbon market in Hubei Province in Central China. The study builds on original data collected during field trips to Hubei (2014, 2015) and additional documents covering recent developments in the Chinese carbon market. It shows how putting a price on carbon in China emerges as the outcome of a long-term cultural and institutional process in which China’s high-carbon growth model is increasingly contested. We emphasize the work that was required before a carbon price could emerge as a market price, and focus on the uncertainty that needed to be overcome in the complex multilevel Chinese system. We suggest that China’s introduction of low-carbon policies are a side effect of other political, economic and social pressures, and that it is largely facilitated because such policies are consistent with many other changes that are occurring simultaneously both in the Chinese context and globally.
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