Yun Cao


Field of Activity

Understanding the Development of Regional Emissions Trading Pilots in China: Actors, Mechanisms and Market-Based Climate Governance


Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Miranda Schreurs


As part of its efforts in promoting the low-carbon development and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions, China is currently undertaking an ambitious plan of building a national carbon emission trading scheme (ETS), starting with seven regional emission trading pilot programs. However, a certain degree of heterogeneity in program design and implementation efficiency has been observed in the interim evaluation, leading to an intensive debate on China's transition in climate governance from the dominance of the command-and-control (CAC) approach to more market-based instruments (MBI). Existing literature has mainly focused on the influence of international and national factors, which fails to take sufficient account of the specific regional circumstances. This dissertation project aims to analyze major stakeholders and institutional dynamics leading to the differentiated development of regional ETS pilots in China, by identifying key mechanisms generated from analytical frameworks in political science, sociology and political economy, to explain how the regional government, industry and external network have influenced the regional ETS program design and implementation.


Yun has been a PhD candidate at the Environmental Policy Research Center at Free University Berlin since 2013. Besides, she works as Program Coordinator for the PhD program in economics at DIW Berlin (German Institute for Economic Research) Graduate Center. She holds a M.A. degree in British Studies with a specialization in economy, law and politics from Humboldt University of Berlin.