Governing Climate Change Adaptation in the EU and China: An Analysis of Formal Institutions

Report / Paper

Governing Climate Change Adaptation in the EU and China: An Analysis of Formal Institutions

AUTHORS: Marco Gemmer 1, Andreas Wilkes 2, 3 , Lucie M. Vaucel 1 * 1National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, 100081, China 2Center for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650034, China 3World Agroforestry Centre China Programme, Beijing, 100081, China


October 2011


Both the European Union (EU) and China are culturally, economically, climatologically and environmentally diverse polities. The EU is a multi-state grouping of economically developed democratic countries, while China is a unitary sovereign state and a developing economy with a strong government bureaucracy. Our hypothesis is that given their diverse political systems, the EU and China would develop di?erent kinds of systems for the governance of adaptation to climate change. We test this hypothesis through a comparative analysis of policy documents from the two study areas,in which we examine framework policies, programmatic actions and specific actions that have been adopted to date in order to address climate change, with a specific focus on the water sector. We find that climate change adaptation began to be addressed through formal policy on a similar timeline in the two regions. The EU and China are also similar in that they use framework laws and existing sectoral policy, such as for the water sector. We find that the EU has primarily relied on integration of climate change adaptation concerns through legal instruments which set a framework for implementation of adaptation policy. In China, specific actions to be incorporated in socio-economic development plans under the existing legislation on adaptation have been the main mode for integrating adaptation into sectoral actions, though the future trend may be to develop more regulations.