Renewable energy and new developmentalism in East Asia

Authored by: Christopher M. Dent

Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Development in Asia

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138182189
eBook ISBN: 9781351008204
Adobe ISBN:


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Christopher Dent analyzes “Renewable energy and new developmentalism in East Asia.” Prof. Dent’s chapter examines renewable energy development in East Asia and the deeper sustainable and other development contexts in which this has been situated. East Asia comprises two sub-regions, Northeast Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan and Mongolia) and Southeast Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). Over the last five or six decades, East Asia has been the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing economic region. Annual double-digit percent increases in economic growth have not been uncommon for many East Asia countries during this period. The region consists of a diverse set of economies that together accounted for around 30 percent of the global economy in 2014, a higher share than both the European Union and the United States. East Asia has also emerged as the world’s most significant driver of renewable energy development over the last decade or so. It is argued that this can be broadly understood from the conflation of two influencing meta-factors, namely state capacity and ecological modernization that, combined, form the basis of the region’s ‘new developmentalism’. This concerns the pursuit of new ‘low-carbon economy’ transformative objectives where renewables play a central role in various state strategies to realize these ends. However, this has not been without its conflicts, contradictions and controversies, as Prof. Dent lays out.

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