Low Carbon Innovation in China Prospects, Politics & Partnerships
Low Carbon China & Global Social Change Dr David Tyfield CeMoRe/Sociology, Lancaster University Risk, Finance and Modernisation: A Chinese-European Summit Shanghai, 29th September 2009 Overview Climate change and low carbon innovation social and global challenges Explore the multiple overlapping and parallel dimensions of these problems - incorporating STS, innovation studies and political economy within a mobility paradigm of dynamized sociology
Strengths, weaknesses and prospects of LCI in China The International Division of Labour of Innovation Multi-dimensional, Contested and Normative: Direction? China must (be allowed to) upgrade to avoid high-carbon lock-in Global Low Carbon Systems Transition Climate change as a global and social problem Change in socio-economic systems needed Massive reductions in GHG emissions Bankruptcy of existing social models and socio-economic development precedents high-carbon society Not reducing but transforming human impact Time limit (e.g. Stern Review) How effect this shift? Innovation
International collaboration China & Climate Change: A Social Problem China both vulnerable climatically and crucial to solution China is a developing country: cannot and must not be forced to choose between environment and development Globally no.1 in GHG emissions now and growing Low historical and per capita emissions BUT changing: as early as 2020 per capita could be double EU. Vhuge opportunity from massive infrastructure investment (e.g. equivalent of entire European building stock) how? not if China must take a leading role in a global low carbon shift Can/will China leapfrog to new green development model? Chinas innovation capacity as Q of place in IDIL + global value hierarchy
Low Carbon Innovation - 1 Great interest from policy BUT what is it? Systems change climate change as social issue Innovation is always a socio-political process of sociotechnical change both in parallel At least 3-fold interaction of social, political economic and cultural-political dimensions AND Globalized in each case Constructing/performing the global The emergence (or not) of low-carbon world, with China at its core, is a clear example of this process (Low Carbon) Innovation - 2 Social Socio-technical: parallel; embedding; unpredictable/ synchronicity Global synchronicity: GINs & International DoL of Innovation (IDLI) Social (low-tech) and disruptive innovation fundamental changes
Democratic, dispersed, open, user innovation Political Economy KB(B)E and value ladder global distribution & development: IDLI Models of support for innovation (capacity) state vs. market Global implications for dominant regime (IPRs, finance, trade) Cultural-Political Governance of innovation: public engagement/ protest/ users Risk, uncertainty and dissensus civic and social epistemologies Global: Techno- nationalism/globalism/cosmopolitanism Low Carbon Innovation - Challenges
Global problem with local implications and dependencies No country has effected a low carbon shift no exemplar Systems change: need for wide social participation Systems changes have been unpredictable/ unpredicted but this time desired ex ante and to be expedited transition management? Not a Manhattan project Profound test for state/market funding, even the entire debate Exceptional dependence on geo-politics Need for international collaboration in innovation
International context - economic turbulence; political economic transition; global emergence China and LCI - Policy Significant legislative drive (energy security, economic devt) Scientific Development, Harmonious Society, Zizhu chuangxin
11th Five Year Plan (2006) and Medium to Long-Term Plan Climate Change White Paper and National Climate Change Programme Energy Conservation Law, Renewable Energy Law, Promotion Law of Clean Production, Circular Economy Law State support through STI programmes: 863, 973, Torch Ambitious targets for energy efficiency, renewables (esp. wind), alternative energy vehicles, clean coal ( CCS) Very significant green stimulus at $218bn (34%) of worlds largest fiscal stimulus of $649bn (tho questions on spending?) Hu: Notable margin efficiency improvement per GDP by 2020 China and LCI Action/ Innovation
Wind power exceptional growth towards 100GW goal 2020 Solar thermal Worlds biggest market: 50% prod, 65% install Solar PV leading global firms AEVs Advanced commercialisation (BYD, Chery, Zotye) and seen as real opportunity for Chinese car industry Leading in development of USCC & IGCC coal, polygeneration, coal-bed methane Energy efficiency continuing to improve
Major programmes of afforestation/ reforestation (soil C sink) Bioenergy programmes (rural) biomass, biogas, jatropha oil Fertilizer reduction in agriculture Leading site for CDM projects (70%) China and LCI Pros and Cons Neither villain nor saviour, victim nor culprit Like all countries, trying to work out how to do LCI ( normalisation of Chinas relations with ROW/ Global North?) Importance of good news, especially given geopolitical sensitivity and plenty of (malign) misinformation: China excuse (esp. EU) vs. Victim Significant developments and serious (top-level) commitment BUT Implementation at provincial or lower level Difficulty of balancing with top priority of national project of socioeconomic development: high-carbon lock-in proceeding (cars, coal) Profound and active engagement with CC? (qualified by geopolitics)
Almost all LCI stories are two-sided (if dynamic), with questions regarding innovation capacity for ongoing, profitable growth Big hi-tech top-down (keji) focus demands for technology transfer Socio-Technical Change Hi-tech focus of China (and much LCI debate) overlooks other types of innovation Disruptive innovation potentially significant current strength (vs. some hi-tech) and opportunity for next generation dominance (IDIL?) Under-development of social preconditions of innovation: finance Governance challenges and opportunities: Need for social participation Development of appropriate technologies (and for South generally) Maximize innovation impact Multi-dimensions of democracy a quiet revolution?
Global: Open and localized (buzz and pipeline) processes for synchronicitous interaction Political Economy - Domestic Development imperative Focus on value-chain Hi-tech and framework conditions, e.g. IPRs, SEM graduates, (venture) finance, clusters Industrial policy: different model to US/ EU, but also to Japan and NIEs and amongst different provinces (SH vs. GD vs. BJ vs. ZJ) State vs. market: Huang vs. Guthrie/Naughton, rural vs. urban enterprise, 90s break vs. gradualism Clearly dead-end debate for LCI: BOTH needed with close coordination and no simple solution/single best model Diversity across China as opportunity for experiment and lessons? Too much state control with too little state support and too little VC? Creates significant disincentives to innovate (vs. R&D) and overlooks
existing strengths Political Economy Global 1 Where do gains economic accrue from innovation and how? Bhid: Complex global networks of innovative activity (GINs), limited offshoring, importance of (localized) services and consumption Optimistic non-zero sum global implications IDLI cf Division of Labour in Adam Smiths Pin Factory Similarly productive/ emergent effects Similarly contested: e.g. where is profitable step located? Dissimilarly complex and uncoordinated, hence unpredictable Even non-zero sum may accrue overwhelmingly to one side in uneven and unequal global process of economic development Complex feedback loops of increasing innovation capacity, investment, innovation (super-)rents and accumulation.
Political Economy Global 2 Geopolitics crucial for LCI (and associated IDLI) and vice versa Technology transfer (IPRs, finance) as key issue for Copenhagen, with singular repercussions for whole global regime for LCI Crash 2008 and global economic turbulence: CC as priority? E.g. US health care bill, Green New Deal/ Stimuli Neoliberal model severely shaken and evidently inadequate for CC/LCI but not displaced, e.g. carbon pricing Protectionism: e.g. Tyres, Poultry and other WTO disputes, blocks on acquisitions and bail-outs (of high-carbon society industries) Resource security as potential faultline: peak oil? food? minerals? water? Rio Tinto? CIC/Noble? Iran? Sinopec-Brazil? Petrochina-Venezuela? CNOOC? Cycles of trust or suspicion: inc. miscommunication, e.g. military parade
not a threat vs. drastic & substantive nuclear cuts? Cultural-Political Domestic and Global developing in inseparable parallel Globalization of China (e.g. trade, FDI, internet links) and Sinification of Globalization (e.g. workshop of the world) Also (perhaps unintended) effects (+ve/-ve) of globalization on Chinese politics with significant effects on innovation e.g. labour law or IPRs and rule of law Cosmopolitanism as social force, incorporating mobility, social reflexivity, social plurality and civil society, global public sphere. Significant factor for IDLI, hence LCI (on global issue of CC) Cosmopolitanization of China: Limited but definite evidence but gesellschaft political scepticism and STI/ LCI governance? AND Sinification of cosmopolitanism: vs. Euro-centrism, development, complementarity of nationalism and cosmopolitanism, attention to
concrete over abstract (premature) universals Why is Innovation Important? Innovation direction not just scale Not necessarily good Not just about economic growth/productivity (and for us) Crucial for socio-economic trajectories of development towards desired ways of life: Which innovation? Desired by whom? (Global) politics and policy (Taking the European Knowledge Society Seriously (TEKSS) DG Research 2008) A dynamized, enabled society capable of dealing with uncertainty and risk Cosmopolitan innovation, equitable IDLI and global but appropriate LCI? Vs. China could move (towards) LC and up value chain while deepening internal inequality
Conclusions 1 CC and hence LCI as global, social (pol/econ/cul) processes Complex interaction of global changes in all three dimensions China as pivotal in a global low carbon shift Neither villain nor saviour significant and growing commitment and learning on basis of previous experience Many reasons to give China two cheers for LCI But significant problems remain regarding current (and developing) innovation capacity, compromised action and a hitech, top-down policy focus that misses potentially significant opportunities for China and the world as a whole Significant danger of high-carbon lock-in as measures are
delayed Conclusions 2 Which IDLI emerges as crucial determinant of LCI in China and LCI/ CC more broadly, to optimize unpredictable S-T change Leapfrog China will need to work with partners and vice versa Joint setting of S-T trajectory over the medium term Direction of development of LCI and IDLI Shape (global) low-carbon societies - equity, liberty, community No single model for state/market support of LCI and no ex ante correct solution for multiple intersecting issues: wicked problem Understanding of interaction and nature of innovation, globalization, climate change and international collaboration all as multi-dimensional contested social processes will be key factor for effective and desirable agency
China-UK Workshop on Chinese Disruptive Low-Carbon Innovation Hangzhou, 20th November 2009 This research forms part of the EU-China Low Carbon Networks Project at Lancaster University. We gratefully note the funding of the ESRC and AIM EU/China Low Carbon Project Team: Dr David Tyfield [email protected]aster.ac.uk Prof John Urry [email protected] Dr James Wilsdon [email protected] Prof Brian Wynne [email protected]
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