The Construction of China's Climate Politics: Transnational NGOs and the Spiral Model of International Relations

  • Citation: Schroeder, Miriam. "The Construction of China's Climate Politics: transnational NGOs and the spiral model of international relations." Cambridge Review of International Affairs 21.4 (2008): 505-525.
    • Topics:
    • Transnational Issues
    • Keywords:
    • East Asia
    • transnational NGO cooperation
    • Chinese climate policy

This article investigates how transnational NGO cooperation can influence the official Chinese stance on climate change politics. Drawing on the constructivist approach to international relations, the so-called ‘spiral model’, developed by Risse et al (1999) for the human rights field, is applied to environmental politics for the first time. The model is tested by process tracing the historical development of the Chinese position on climate change and by analysing the roles and impacts of different actors in different phases of norm internalization. The model is complemented by an in-depth analysis of present transnational NGO campaigns in China. Although results show that international and Chinese NGOs have an influence on Chinese climate politics, the model’s assumption about the causes for a norm internalization could only partly be confirmed: instead of the pressurizing strategies of the transnational advocacy network, instruments of sharing information seem to be more effective in changing Chinese climate politics.

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