The main interest of this paper in exploring the rise of environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) active in Shanghai is to determine their efficacy in influencing green politics and whether the outcome of the negotiation process (with the state) is successful or not. What is meant by efficacy for the purpose of this paper is the ability to generate pressure for political response with regards to environmental problems. Throughout the article, major case studies in which ENGOs have played a critical role in generating political response to environmental problems will be presented and studied. Theoretical literature from foreign and Chinese sources will be analysed and compared, in order to detect whether these case studies represent singular incidents or examples of a common phenomenon. Inherent difficulties in researching a complex topic like the influence of ENGOs active in Shanghai on green politics make some of the arguments in this article plain tentative. Further empirical as well as statistical data will be needed to provide more detailed conclusions.