China's Environment: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?

DATE: Friday-Saturday, December 7-8, 2007

PLACE: Lipman Room, Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley

SPONSORS: Center for Chinese Studies, Berkeley China Initiative, Institute of East Asian Studies

This conference is supported by a grant from the Luce Foundation



China's environment has become a subject of great domestic and international interest and importance. Pollution of the air, water and soil; climate change; deforestation; desertification; water shortage; animal and plant species extinction; public health concerns — the list of topics is extensive and growing. The Chinese leadership has given high priority and publicity to environmental cleanup and sustainable development. The international community — government agencies, scientists, universities, think tanks, businesses, non-governmental organizations, media — on their own and in collaboration with Chinese counterparts, have undertaken wide-ranging research and published numerous reports calling attention to the internal and global impact of China's environmental problems. Given China's size and complexity, as well as complicated and at times conflictual relations between the center and localities, many experts have raised questions about the reliability and validity of the data that have comprised the basis for our understanding of China's environment and the formulation of policies to address problems, as well as the extent to which policies have actually been implemented as reported.

On December 7-8, 2007, the Berkeley China Initiative will host a conference at the University of California, Berkeley, on the theme, "China's Environment: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?" Acknowledging that the problem has scientific as well as social, political, economic, public health and cultural aspects, the BCI will bring together an international lineup of experts from a diverse range of fields — science, media, policy, business, NGOs, social science, humanities — to share data on China's environment, as well as reflect on how the data are collected, verified, disseminated, and utilized.

The format includes 4 keynote speakers and 6 panels which bring together experts from different fields who may not ordinarily converse with each other. The goal is to generate fresh and unexpected questions, connections, insights and recommendations. The conference will be webcast and a report prepared for wide dissemination.



Max Auffhammer, China's New Leadership Role In Carbon Emissions and Policy
The PRC has long been seen as the key future participant to an effective agreement limiting the adverse impacts of climate change. In 2006 it has become the leading emitter of Carbon Dioxide, a position the United States has held since 1890. Business as usual projection show growth rates, which are a multiple of what the official UN IPCC forecast anticipated. The presentation will provide short term projections of emissions and outline a novel take on an international agreement to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases based on carbon taxes and a connected import tariff scheme. The proposed agreement potentially provides greater economic benefits to the PRC than to the current Annex I countries. It could therefore be in China's self interest to initiate such an agreement.

Sheldon Brown, Representation and Development: The Scalable City in China
Sheldon Brown will discuss the reception of his project exhibitions "The Scalable City" at the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art. This alluring critique of idealized, yet corrupted, processes of development, has a particular urgency in China in relationship to other master planning efforts which are underway, rapidly reinventing urban space.

Robert Collier, Difficulties in Greening China: Why the Clean Tech Revolution Won't Happen without Environmental Re-Regulation
Despite widespread hopes that foreign clean-tech investment would spread energy-saving technologies through China, the path forward has been blocked by several factors, including these: biases in the financial system toward capital-intensive, high-emissions investment; official insistence on "transferring" foreign technology to domestic companies; the central government's inability to enforce its energy-conservation mandates on provincial and local authorities; and the lack of a feed-in tariff rate system for solar and wind energy.

Peng Gong, Environmental Data Assembling and Analysis for Disease Transmission Modeling
In 1995, I was introduced to the field of schistosomiasis studies in Sichuan, China, by Professor Bob Spear in School of Public Health. Since then the research activities of our group have evolved from village level database development with GIS to snail habitat mapping with remote sensing, and to the development of spatial-temporal models at the village, individual, and county levels for schistosomiasis transmission modelling. In order to support research at large spatial scale, we have been assembling and collecting environmental data at the national level. Our major emphasis has been on the use of remote sensing to derive necessary information for our research. As a result, we developed the first spatial database of wetland for the entire China with Landsat TM data. In order to support our environmental health work, we are establishing a research station at the east coast of Poyang Lake. I shall present some of the research results and work in progress at this conference.

Gang He, Crises and Choices: China's Climate Change Strategy
China's climate policy now is at a crossroads. With almost 70% of its energy supply comes from coal, China is also constructing hundreds of coal-fired power plants that are likely to lock in a track of high GHG emissions for 50 years or more. Coal will likely remain the main fuel of choice for many decades in China; despite the severe economic, social, and environmental dislocations it creates, making future efforts to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide significantly more difficult. China currently ranks second in global greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions right after US. Predictions from the International Energy Agency (IEA) had previously suggested that China's emissions would overtake those of the USA as early as 2009. The rising energy crisis from inside and the increasing international pressure from outside made it a big force for Chinese government to take action on tackling climate change. In 2007, China's National Climate Change Programme released an implementation program on energy efficiency and emission reduction, in which a concrete plan and measures are included. Although climate change is still low on the priority agenda of China's development and reform programs, the plans released through the Climate Change Program show promise. China has a long tradition of turning crises into opportunities, and will not lose the war to climate change

Mark Henderson, Urbanization, Land Conservation, and Climate Change
Rapid urban development in China is resulting in the loss of millions of hectares of farmland and forests, thereby adding hundreds of millions of tons to the global carbon cycle and contributing to global climate change. With increasing evidence that climate change is already having an impact on China, officials at all levels may be motivated to address this issue. Existing policies, however, have yet to slow the rate of urban expansion that began with the economic reforms of the 1980s. Historical maps, satellite imagery, census reports and meteorological data can be used to analyze the uneven geographic distribution of urban development and its consequences.

Wenran Jiang, Paradigm Shifts: Meeting China's Environment Challenges
This presentation argues that to meet China's growing environment challenges, both China and the world need to make fundamental changes on how the modernization process should be managed in the domain of domestic and foreign policy. For China, a paradigm shift is underway for moving toward a sustainable development model under the "scientific development concept." But it is yet to see if China's vast local areas will take such a new direction seriously. Furthermore, China needs to shift from the traditional administrative decree and mass movement model to a working mechanism that is primarily based on utilizing market forces when it comes to tackle serious environmental issues. For the world, especially the Western world, the paradigm shifts must begin by not just looking at China as a single state entity in the traditional sense. It must realize that China is no longer producing for itself, consuming by itself and polluting itself in the process. China is producing for the world, and absorbing a substantial share of world's pollutions. To improve China's environmental protection is the process taking care of the world's problems. China must be treated as one fifth of humanity with a par capita income of $2,000 rather than a single state when it comes to emission issues. That is, the advanced industrialized countries must lead by committing to serious and bidding emission targets and lend a hand to China if they want China to make any similar commitments.

C.S. Kiang, Balance of Energy and Environment in China — Challenges and Opportunities
China has 22% of the world population, with Ø1/3 of world average level Cultivated land; 1/4 of water; 1/5 of forest service; 1/10 of oil and 1/22 of world average level of natural gas. Yet China consumes 1/8 of the oil, 44% of cement, 31% of coal, 31% of crude steel, 25% of aluminum with 6.6% of global GDP. Clearly, China does not have the most energy efficient GDP. After nearly 30 yrs dramatic economic growth, China's environment and resources problem have become severe. This presentation will discuss the challenges and opportunities to balance the energy and environment and to sustain the development in China.

Mark Levine, Can China Gain Control of its Energy Future?
For more than twenty years, from 1979 to 2000), China was able to maintain energy demand growth to less than half that of growth of the economy. This was a remarkable achievement for a developing country in the early stages of development, when industry typically drives energy growth. Most analysts — including the large number of researchers watching carbon dioxide emissions globally — expected that this pattern would continue. Instead, starting in 2001, energy demand grew substantially faster than GDP in China, with GDP continuing to grow at a 10%/year rate. This talk addresses the causes for this change and the issues — pro and con — for believing that it can be slowed or halted.

Shannon May, How much Arable Land is There Out There?
As plans for the Socialist New Countryside are rolled out across agrarian China, have we stopped to ask how we know what we know about the three rural problems, and the processes through which farmers, agriculture and the countryside became a Gordian knot of knowledge? On what foundation are we basing our reports on China's environment, and making plans for the future of the land and the people who live there? Through the case of China's first master-planned sustainable development community — Huangbaiyu village, Liaoning Province — I will focus on the various means of measuring agricultural land under production, and how these data are used to construct local and national policy. The method of data collection results in dramatically variant accounts of land use; the method used by the government to formulate land use policy is the least accurate. I will compare the data for agricultural land use generated by official village-record-keeping, a 10% household survey, and satellite imaging, highlighting the history and politics of each method. Accuracy is not apolitical, and as we seek greater knowledge of land use in China, we should consider how farmers may benefit or be disadvantaged by these various measurement methods.

Peter Perdue, Environmental Discourse in China: Media and Historical Constraints
Modern globalization has stimulated both rapid industrial growth and increased ecological consciousness. Citizens of many countries have mobilized around issues ranging from global warming to local pollution to express their concerns about the fragility of human interactions with the natural world. In both China and Taiwan, sustainable development and green consciousness have become prominent themes of policy debates and scholarly research. These globalized communities, however, interact with specific and historical conditions, producing distinctive local cultures. This paper examines several current environmental issues in historical perspective. It concludes with some reflections on how new communication technologies may produce informed analysis and policy discussions in China on environmental issues.

Chris Raczkowski, Information Scarcity, Market Peculiarities & Decision Making for Sustainable & Clean Tech Investors in China
In China today, there is a tremendously high rate of business growth in the emergent Sustainable and Clean Technology market sector. This new market, unlike many others (automotive, electronics, etc.), does not have the benefits or preconceptions from experiences of markets that have a long history of development outside of China. Furthermore, this sector tends to be difficult to define and conceptualize, as the basic market concept is just emerging internationally, and there is often a general feeling that the Chinese market is somewhat opaque — with accurate information difficult to obtain and assimilate. The confluence of these factors makes investment analysis and decision making difficult even for domestic Chinese investors and business people. For foreign investors, mixing these already daunting issues with the fundamental challenge of understanding a unique and perplexing business culture presents serious difficulties for pioneering foreign investors venturing into China. The focus of this presentation is information management related to investment in the Chinese Sustainable and Clean Tech market.

Kirk R. Smith, China's Environmental Health Challenges: The Energy and Climate Connections
As a middle-income country, China still suffers severely from the traditional environmental health risks of rural poverty, many of which are not being well handled at present. At the same time, its growing urbanization and industrialization are posing significant modern environmental health risks. Recently, with its rising energy use China has also passed the threshold of imposing more environmental health risks on the world through its greenhouse gas emissions than it suffers itself from global climate change. Results of recent quantification of these trends as well as options for improvement will be presented.

Robert C. Spear, Managing China's Environment: Manpower Challenges in the Trenches
Among the myriad environmental challenges China confronts is the issue of education and training of the specialized workforce that these interdisciplinary problems require. The impact of the environment on human health presents a particularly challenging example in that it is a field which bridges the biological and physical sciences in one dimension and social and governmental factors in another. Experience in both the rural and urban settings suggests that, in the field of environmental health, training is now inadequate to meet the challenge. Moreover, there is little evidence that the tertiary educational structure has recognized these needs, let alone developed plans to address them.

Daniel Spitzer, Agri-Forestry Ventures in China: Challenges to Achieving Sustainability
The presentation will reflect on experiences over the past fifteen years in developing major environmentally-oriented forestry ventures in western China, in terms of formal and informal governmental relations, issues of community involvement, response of the market, and overall economic performance of the businesses.

Chi-yuen Wang, Water Supply Challenges in China's Northwest: Some Personal Observations
With an average annual precipitation of <150 mm/yr, China's northwest is among the world's driest areas. Here I present some personal observations bearing on a number of pressing challenges on the water supply in this region: 1) Decreased snow fall and accelerated melting of glaciers in the past decades, augmented by a warming climate, are causing a rapid loss of the most important water resource and replacing it with rapid runoffs from the mountains. 2) Overexploitation of groundwater is depleting the subsurface resources at an astonishing rate. 3) Contamination of the surface water at its sources has exasperated the problems of water supply. A lack of adequate implementation of legislative regulations on water conservation and environmental protection are at the root of the last two challenges. To meet the first challenge, I suggest the construction of innovative underground storages along mountainside to soak up the runoffs for slow recharge of the local groundwater, i.e., to supplement the water-storage function lost by the vanishing glaciers.

Lili Wang, China's Environmental Communication: History and Challenges
China's environmental communication has been developing for over 30 years. However the theoretical research in this field is still lagging behind. I would like to briefly introduce the history and challenges of China's environmental communication. In addition, I will examine China's environment protection century campaign (CEPCC) and China environment and resource network (CERN) as case studies.

Po Chi Wu, Discontinuities & Paradoxes: An Investor's Perspective
What is happening in China is a reflection of a global economy which is, in many ways, a new, organic entity, with its own needs for growth, making up new rules for its participants. How are we to figure out what we, as Americans or Chinese, are supposed to do? China alone cannot provide a complete solution to sustainable growth, nor can any other single country.
     How is China positioning itself in the world? How do Chinese companies position themselves in the global ecosystems of their industries? What are the ramifications of growing international competition? What is meant by sustainable development? How can investors invest successfully in China?

This conference is funded by a generous grant from the Luce Foundation as part of BCI's 3-part series on "The Production of Knowledge About China."


All panels are free and open to the public.

Friday, December 7, 2007
9:15 am - Opening Remarks

Tom Gold (UC Berkeley)
George Breslauer (Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, UC Berkeley)

10:00 am - Keynote Address: China's Environment: Opportunities and Challenges for the International Community

Barbara Finamore

10:45 am - Panel I: Getting the Data Out: Institutions, Media, and Government Policy

Moderator: Orville Schell

Isabel Hilton
Wenran Jiang, Paradigm Shifts: Meeting China's Environment Challenges
C.S. Kiang, Balance of Energy and Environment in China — Challenges and Opportunities
Ye Qi
Lili Wang, China's Environmental Communication: History and Challenges

12:30 pm - Lunch break

2:30 pm - Panel II: Tracing Invisible Threats: Disease and the Environment

Moderator: Roger Cohn

Kirk R. Smith, China's Environmental Health Challenges: The Energy and Climate Connections
Peng Gong, Environmental Data Assembling and Analysis for Disease Transmission Modeling
Robert Spear, Managing China's Environment: Manpower Challenges in the Trenches
Feng Ting Li

4:00 pm - Coffee break

4:15 pm - Panel III: Cycles, Predictions, and Policy: Issues of Local and Global Air Pollutants

Moderator: Lin Jiang

Max Auffhammer, China's New Leadership Role In Carbon Emissions and Policy
Mark Levine, Can China Gain Control of its Energy Future?
Larry Li
ZhongXiang Zhang, China Is not a Christmas Tree to Hang Everybody's Complaints: Putting its Energy-Saving and Pollutants-Cutting into Perspective

6:00 pm - Keynote Address: The China Sustainable Energy Renewable Energy Program

Jan Hamrin

Saturday, December 8, 2007
9:15 am - Panel IV: The Green Market: Renewing the Environment through Entrepreneurship and Investment

Moderator: Jeremy Potash

Robert Collier, Difficulties in Greening China: Why the Clean Tech Revolution Won't Happen without Environmental Re-Regulation
Po Chi Wu, Discontinuities & Paradoxes: An Investor's Perspective
Chris Raczkowski, Information Scarcity, Market Peculiarities & Decision Making for Sustainable & Clean Tech Investors in China
Daniel Spitzer

10:45 am - Coffee break

11:00 am - Panel V: When Abundance Becomes Scarce: Managing China's Water Supply

Moderator and panelist: Gang He

Gang He, Crises and Choices: China's Climate Change Strategy
Peter Perdue, Environmental Discourse in China: Media and Historical Constraints
Chi-yuen Wang, Water Supply Challenges in China's Northwest: Some Personal Observations
Michael Zhao, A Multimedia Perspective on Water

12:30 pm - Keynote Address

Ma Jun

1:30 pm - Lunch break

2:45 pm - Panel VI: Sustaining Development: Inhabiting Urban and Rural Space

Moderator: Julia Strauss

Sheldon Brown, Representation and Development: The Scalable City in China
Harrison Fraker
Mark Henderson, Urbanization, Land Conservation, and Climate Change
Shannon May, How Much Arable Land Is There Out There?

4:15 pm - Coffee break
Rick and Ann's coffee/tea/pastries

4:30 pm - Keynote Address: Environmental Journalism in China: The View from Beijing

Jim Yardley

5:30 pm - Wrap-up

6:00 pm - Reception


Technical support:



Keynote Speakers

Barbara Finamore (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Barbara Finamore is a Senior Attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She founded and directs NRDC's China Program, which promotes innovative policy development, demonstration and capacity building in energy efficiency, advanced energy technologies, green buildings, environmental law and public health. Ms. Finamore has had over twenty-five years of experience in environmental law and policy. She is also co-founder and President of the China-U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote global sustainability by working with China to harness efficiency as a viable energy resource.

Jan Hamrin (Center for Resource Solutions, San Francisco)
Dr. Hamrin was the founder and executive director of the Independent Energy Producers Association in the 1980s, helping to make California a world leader in new renewable development. In 1997, Dr. Hamrin founded the Center for Resource Solutions and was instrumental in developing the Green-e Renewable Energy Certification Program. Dr. Hamrin co-authored "Achieving a 33% Renewable Energy Target," which provided information on the necessary changes needed to expand renewables to meet Governor Schwarzenegger's greenhouse gas reduction targets. She also performed a pivotal role in the development of China's 2005 Renewable Energy Promotion Law. She currently serves as President of the Center for Resource Solutions.

http:// pdfs/ 05policy_Hamrin.pdf

Ma Jun (Environmentalist)
Ma Jun is a leading Chinese investigative journalist, environmentalist, non-fiction writer, and environmental consultant, responsible for raising the alarm in China about the possible consequences of unsustainable growth. He worked at the South China Morning Post from 1993 to 2000 where he produced his own reports and wrote many feature articles on the Chinese environment. He also directs Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs which developed the China Water Pollution Map; the first public database of water pollution information in China. His book Zhongguo shui weiji (China's Water Crisis) was published by China Environmental Sciences Publishing House in late 1999.

Time Magazine article

Jim Yardley (New York Times, International Herald Tribune)
Jim Yardley has been a correspondent in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times since August 2003. He has traveled throughout China and written on a wide range of topics, including social unrest, rising inequality and the country's widespread pollution problems. Mr. Yardley was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. In 2007, a three-part article by Jim Yardley, "Crisis on the Yellow River" — published in three parts in the Asia edition of the International Herald Tribune — won the Society of Publishers in Asia award for explanatory reporting.

Recent publications: "Beneath Booming Cities, China's Future is Drying Up", New York Times
"China's Environmental Problems Mirrored in the Yellow River", International Herald Tribune


Max Auffhammer (U.C. Berkeley)
Maximilian Auffhammer has been an assistant professor at UC Berkeley in Agriculture and Resource Economics/ International Area Studies since 2003. He received his M.Sc. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1998 and his Ph.D. in economics from UC San Diego in 2003. He has published several papers in refereed journals, such as PNAS, Environmental and Resource Economics, Resource and Energy Economics, and the Journal of Regional Science as well as some book chapters and reports. He has conducted extensive research on the environment and carbon dioxide emissions, and is currently researching projections for China.

Recent publications: "China's Chance to Lead" (op-ed article by Max Auffhammer and Richard Carson)
Abstract for Auffhammer's award-winning "Brown cloud" paper

Sheldon Brown (UCSD)
Sheldon Brown is Director of the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA) at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) where he is a Professor of Visual Arts and the head of New Media Arts for the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technologies (Cal-(IT)2). His work examines the relationships between mediated and physical experiences. The development of his work in the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art and its alluring critique of development with idealized, yet corrupt, processes have received great attention in China.

Links to Projects: http:// scalable/

Roger Cohn (Editor, Yale Environment)
Cohn, a 1973 graduate of Yale, has written for the New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, New York Observer, and Outside. He was recruited to run YaleEnvironmental Online, an online, not-for-profit magazine that will be a mix of opinion, research, investigative journalism and policy pieces, with an emphasis on global stories. Cohn was among the first environmental beat reporters in the country (for the Philadelphia Inquirer, beginning in 1977) and went on to remake two of the most important environmental magazines on newsstands — Audubon and Mother Jones. http:// roger_cohn.cfm

Robert Collier (U.C. Berkeley)
Robert Collier was a foreign-affairs reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1991 to August 2007. He reported from a total of 25 nations on the politics and diplomacy of global warming, international energy policy, the environment and trade. He is now a visiting scholar at the Center for Environmental Public Policy at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy.

Recent publications: "The China Syndrome," op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle

Harrison Fraker (U.C. Berkeley)
Harrison S. Fraker. Jr. is Dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. He is recognized as a pioneer in passive solar, day lighting and sustainable design research and teaching. He has pursued a career bridging innovative architecture and urban design education with an award-winning practice. Dean Fraker has published seminal articles on the design potential of sustainable systems and urban design principles for transit oriented neighborhoods. He is currently pursuing his beliefs through a whole systems design approach for entirely resource-self-sufficient, transit-oriented neighborhoods of 100,000 people in China. http:// ced/ people/ query.php?id=54&dept=all&title=all

Peng Gong (U.C. Berkeley)
Peng Gong is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his B.Sc. in Geography at Nanjing University in China in 1984 and his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Waterloo in Canada in 1990. He is also the Director of CAMFER (Center for the Assessment and Monitoring of Forest and Environmental Resources). Mr. Gong's current projects include a proposal for a research field called Photo-Ecometrics: the science and technology using digital image analysis and spectral analysis for precise ecological measurements, focusing on forest inventory, crown reconstruction, biophysical and biochemical data and species recognition.

Recent publications: Henderson, Yeh et al., "Validation of urban boundaries from nighttime satellite imagery," International Journal of Remote Sensing (2003, v24 n3).

Gang He (Columbia University, Graduate Student Fellow)
Currently working on M.A. in Climate and Society, Gang He is also working at the Global Roundtable on Climate Change in The Earth Institute, together with Asia Society and Peking University Environment Fund for US-China Partnership on Climate Change. It's his understanding that joint efforts between these two big emitters should be done urgently to break the deadlock and take the global leadership. Before that he was a visiting scholar in UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism for the China Environment Report Program.

Recent publications: http:// uk/ pc/ sommaire.php?idsom=69

Mark Henderson (Mills College)
Mark Henderson teaches in the public policy program at Mills College in Oakland, California. His current research focuses on the spatial analysis of environmental trends in China, including urbanization, land use, and climate, as well as the policy applications of remote sensing and geographic information science. He holds a masters degree in Regional Studies--East Asia from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from UC Berkeley (where he studied in Ye Qi's Ecosystem Dynamics and Management Group), and has worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Regional Systems Analysis Project at UC Davis.

Recent publications: Qi, Henderson, et al., "Evolving core-periphery interactions in an urban landscape: Beijing," Landscape Ecology (2004, v19 n4)
Henderson, Yeh et al., "Validation of urban boundaries from nighttime satellite imagery," International Journal of Remote Sensing (2003, v24 n3).

Isabel Hilton (China Dialogue)
Isabel Hilton is a London based international journalist and broadcaster. She has studied at the Beijing Foreign Language and Culture University and at Fudan University in Shanghai before taking up a career in written and broadcast journalism, working for The Sunday Times, The Independent, The Guardian and The New Yorker. In 1992 she became a presenter of the BBC's flagship news programme, "The World Tonight" and currently presents BBC Radio Three's Night Waves. She is a columnist for The Guardian and her work has appeared in the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Granta, the New Statesman, El Pais, Index on Censorship and many other publications. She is the founder and editor of, a non-profit, fully bilingual online publication based in London, Beijing an San Francisco and Beijing that focuses on the environment and climate change.

Recent publications: "China's Freedom Test" Article about Freedom of Press in China
"We must take the lead" - comment article on China and climate change

Wenran Jiang (University of Alberta)
Wenran Jiang is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Acting Director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada. He is a Senior Fellow of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, Special Advisor on China to US and Canada based Energy Council, Leader of Energy and Resources Research Group of Canada's Emerging Dynamic Global Economies (EDGE) Network, President of Canadian Consortium on Asia Pacific Security, Board Member of Canadian Association of Asian Studies, and a Business Week online columnist. He is the organizer of an annual Canada-China energy conference since 2004, and has written widely on China's energy and environment issues.

Recent publications: "China Debates Green GDP and Its Future Development Model"
"The Cost of China's Modernization"

C.S. Kiang (College of Environmental Sciences at Beijing University)
C.S. Kiang is the Founding Dean of the College of Environmental Sciences at Beijing University. Dr. Kiang is responsible for bringing to China many of the world's leading experts on sustainable development, both to educate the next generation of leaders and to develop a working case study in the south of China. His vision to build a "Chinese Characteristics, World Impact" College of Environmental Sciences at Peking University will set up the basic infrastructure for the development of human resources of the next century leadership in sustainable development.

Recent publications: "Megacities and Atmospheric Pollution"

Mark Levine (U.C. Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Mark Levine leads the China Energy Group at LBNL, which has pioneered many important undertakings with China on energy efficiency policy analysis since its inception in 1988. He received his PhD from UC Berkeley. http:// MDL/ home.html

Recent publications: "Small Steps Save Big in Energy"

Feng Ting Li (Tongji University, China)
Feng Ting Li is the Associate Dean at the College of Environmental Science and Engineering, UNEP at the Tongji University Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development. His research is directed to the study of environmental chemistry, with a special focus on agricultural chemicals, its intereactivity with colloids, and their environmental behavior in the transport, deposition, speciation, and bioavailability. Dr Li and his institute cooperate with UNEP to chair the Leadership Program of Environment for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.

Recent publications: "Highly efficient microbial compound containing oil wastewater treatment process optimization" (Water Treatment Technology)
"The Preparation of Inorganic Coagulant — Poly Ferric Sulfate"

Larry Li (U.C. Riverside)
Larry Li is Professor of Ecology and Director of CAU-UCR International Center for Ecology and Sustainability at University of California-Riverside. He has published more than 140 refereed journal articles, 28 book chapters and proceedings papers, and 8 books or edited special issues. He is an elected Fellow (1988) of the Institute for Human Ecology, USA, elected Honorary Professor (2005) of Russian Academy of Sciences, and elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006). He is also faculty associate and Ph.D. major professor with Australian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Russian universities and research institutions. He has served on many professional committees and review panels of federal funding agencies in U.S. and internationally. He is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the international journal: Ecological Complexity, and chairs International Scientific Committee of Eco Summit.

Recent publications: Use of Landscape Sciences for the Assessment of Environmental Security. NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security, Springer, the Netherlands, 497 p., 2008.

Lin Jiang (China Sustainable Energy Program)
Dr. Lin Jiang is Vice President and the Director of the China Sustainable Energy Program at the Energy Foundation. Prior to joining the Energy Foundation, he was a Scientist at the China Energy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, where he has conducted research since 1994 on energy policies in China, particularly focusing on energy efficiency policies. He has served as advisors to government agencies in China as well as to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the United Nations. He was one of the principle architects that helped UNDP and China launch the China Green Light Project in 1999, which has transformed the global market for quality compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). His most recent research projects include analyzing China's recent trend in energy use, investment, and economic growth and options that may help China to achieve its 20% target in energy intensity reduction by 2010.

Shannon May (U.C. Berkeley, Graduate Student Fellow)
Shannon May is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at UC Berkeley. She received her BA Magna Cum Laude in Social Studies from Harvard University in 2000, and her MA in Anthropology from UC Berkeley in 2004. Her dissertation research addresses how emergent, transnational modes of "scientific" and "sustainable" development are reconfiguring the Chinese rural landscape, and re-valuing people who live there. Her work uncovers the social ties and practices that are being articulated and displaced in rural Chinese society as it struggles with integration into the world economy, and environment. Related research areas include global philanthropy, organizational behavior, urban planning and architecture. Ms. May also serves as an advisor for current eco-city projects in China. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program Fellowship, as well UC Berkeley's Joseph R. Levenson Award for outstanding graduate work in Chinese studies in 2003 and 2004.

Recent publications: "A Sino-US Sustainability Sham" Far Eastern Economic Review, April 2007, 57-60
"What's Next: Shannon May", 28 December 2006

Peter Perdue (MIT)
Professor Perdue received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of Exhausting the Earth: State and Peasant in Hunan 1500-1850 A.D. (1987), and several articles, including "The Qing State and the Gansu Grain Market, 1739-1864," "Technological Determinism in Agriculture," and "Military Mobilization in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century China, Russia, and Mongolia." His research interests lie in modern Chinese and Japanese social and economic history. He was awarded the James A. Levitan Prize and he is currently writing a book on the Chinese conquest of Central Asia from 1680 to 1760.

Affiliations: Ford International Career Development Chair

Recent publications: "Water Control in the Dongting Lake Region during the Ming and Qing Periods"

Jeremy Potash (California-Asia Business Council)
Jeremy W. Potash is the founding executive director of the California-Asia Business Council (Cal-Asia). Cal-Asia, in cooperation with the U.S. Commercial Service (Department of Commerce), has embarked upon a long-term Asia clean development initiative (see intended to identify clean development projects planned or underway in Asia for which their may be a US solution. Cal-Asia, Commercial Service and partners are hosting a series of programs, including breakfasts, seminars and receptions, which bring together leaders from business, government and universities. Jeremy is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, the western arm of the Council on Foreign Relations. http://

Ye Qi (Tsinghua University, China)
Dr. Ye Qi has been a Distinguished Professor of Environmental Policy and Management at the Tsinghua University School of Public Policy and Management since 2004. Dr. Qi's research areas include climate change impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, global and regional carbon cycling, environmental and resource policy for sustainable development, and ecosystem management. He serves as consultant and adviser to governments, NGOs and international organizations. http:// ggbg_en/ board9/ detail.jsp?seq=1094&boardid=1601

Recent publications: "Taking China's Temperature: Daily Range, Warming Trends, and Regional Variations" by Mark Henderson, Qi Ye, and others.

Chris Raczkowski (Azure-International)
As a partner and managing director of Azure, International, Chris specializes in renewable energy technologies, technology transfer and project development. He has worked as an independent technical and management consult delivering expertise for sustainable energy development to companies in Europe and China. Chris holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in materials and mechanical engineering from Harvey Mudd College in the US, and he completed his MBA in Holland at the NIMBAS Graduate School of Management. http:// com

Orville Schell (U.C. Berkeley and the Asia Society)
From his days as a student of Far Eastern History at Harvard College through his graduate work in Chinese History at the University of California, Berkeley, to his latest work on China, Hong Kong, Tibet and the media, Orville Schell has devoted his professional life to reporting on and writing about Asia. Mr. Schell has written fifteen books, eleven of them about China. His most recent is "Mandate of Heaven." He serves on the boards of the Yale-China Association and Human Rights Watch and is a member of the Pacific Council and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is currently the Arthur Ross Director of the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. http://

Recent publications: http:// articles.htm

Kirk R. Smith (U.C. Berkeley)
Kirk R. Smith is Professor of Global Environmental Health and holds the Maxwell Endowed Chair in Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also founder and coordinator of the campus-wide Masters Program in Health, Environment, and Development. Previously, he was founder and head of the Energy Program of the East-West Center in Honolulu, where he still holds appointment as Adjunct Senior Fellow in Environment and Health after moving to Berkeley in 1995. He is also a Visiting Senior Scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center. His research work focuses on environmental and health issues in developing countries, particularly those related to health-damaging and climate-changing air pollution, and includes ongoing field projects in India, China, Nepal, and Guatemala. He serves on a number of national and international scientific advisory boards including those for the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia, the Global Energy Assessment, and the WHO Air Quality Guidelines. He is on the editorial boards of a range of international journals and has published over 250 scientific articles and 7 books. He holds bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees from UC Berkeley and, in 1997, was elected member of the US National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors awarded to US scientists by their peers.

Recent publications: "Rural Air Pollution: A Major but often Ignored Development Concern"

Robert Spear (U.C. Berkeley)
Dr. Robert Spear received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Science and Mechanical Engineering, respectively, from the University of California at Berkeley and the Ph.D. degree in Control Engineering from Cambridge University in 1968. After several years in the aerospace industry his interests turned to environmental issues and he returned to Berkeley in 1970 to take up a post-doctoral position in this field in the School of Public Health. Dr. Spear's research interests focus on the assessment and quantification of human exposures to toxic and hazardous agents in the environment, and is currently working on an ongoing project involving determinants of the incidence and control of schistosomiasis in the mountainous regions of Sichuan Province in southwestern China.

Recent publications: "Environmental Effects on Parasitic Disease Transmission Exemplified by Schistosomiasis in Western China"

Daniel Spitzer (Venture Capitalist, on BCI Board)
Daniel Spitzer has spent 25 of the past 30 years based in Asia, working in development, finance/investing, and as an entrepreneur. In 1993 Daniel founded Plantation Timber Products Group, which he built into the leading wood products company in China. The business concept was to encourage hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers in Western China to grow fast-cycle trees from which PTP manufactured wood panels, as an import substitute to replace huge volumes of environmentally destructive plywood imported from Indonesian tropical rainforests. Daniel is now engaged in developing new entrepreneurial ventures in Asia. http:// BCI-AdvBoardProfile.asp? Profile=DanielSpitzer

Julia Strauss (SOAS, London)
Julia Strauss is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Politics and the Editor of The China Quarterly in the Department of Politics and International Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She received both her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley as well as her B.A. from Connecticut College. Her interests include Institution building and governance in China, local administration and environmental policy (especially forestry) in China, and domestic politics of China and Taiwan, all of which she has written numerous publications on throughout her career.

Affiliations: The China Quarterly, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London

Recent publications: "The Evolution of Republican Government"

Chi-yuen Wang (U.C. Berkeley)
Chi-yuen Wang is a Professor of the Graduate School in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his B.S. in Geology in 1958 from Taiwan National University and his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Harvard in 1964. He became a faculty member of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. During the last twenty years he has been researching and teaching aspects of hydrogeology, including the migration of fluids in sedimentary basins and the interaction of water with earthquakes. More recently he became interested in China's water resources and traveled extensively in China's Northwest to study water resources in the region. http:// development/ view_person.php?uid=4902

Recent publications: "Streamflow increases due to rupturing of hydrothermal reservoirs: Evidence from the 2003 San Simeon, California, Earthquake", Geophysical Research Letters, 2003, v.31, L10502, doi:10.1029/2004GL020124.

Lili Wang (Tsinghua University)
Wang is a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University. For seven years, she worked for China Radio International as a journalist and anchor before returning to complete graduate work in journalism. A co-founder of China Environment and Resources Website, ( she won the Ford Environment Protection Prize in 2001. Currently, Wang is a Visiting Research Fellow at the John L Thornton China center, The Brookings Institution.

Recent publications: Green Media - Environmental Communication in China

Po Chi Wu (CleanTech)
Po Chi has been a venture capital investor, entrepreneur, business development/R&D executive, scientist and educator. Po Chi has made and been responsible for investments in many different high technology areas, including life sciences, IT, semiconductors, materials, and software, as well as in more traditional businesses. He also served as an International Finance Advisor for the Guangzhou Municipal Government and was a member of numerous boards including those of the Ta-You Foundation and the Advisory Council of the Lawrence Hall of Science here at Berkeley.

Recent publications:

ZhongXiang Zhang (Senior Fellow, Research Program East-West Center)
ZhongXiang Zhang is senior fellow at Honolulu-based East-West Center. He also is an adjunct professor of economics at Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Peking University, and University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is co-editor of International Journal of Ecological Economics & Statistics, and has served on the editorial boards of eight international journals. He is also serving as Director of the Chinese Society of Optimization, Overall Planning and Economic Mathematics, and Executive Director of the Chinese Society for Environmental Economics. He authored The Economics of Energy Policy in China (1997), co-authored International Rules for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading (1999), and edited An Economic Analysis of Climate Policy (2004), Energy Economics and Policy in Mainland China and Taiwan (2006), and Trade and the Environment in North America (2007). http:// about-ewc/ directory/ ?class_call= view&staff_ID= 499&mode= view

Recent publications: "Can China Afford to Commit Itself an Emission's Cap? An Economic and Political Analysis", Energy Economics, 2000.

Michael Zhao (Asia Society, Center on U.S.-China Relations)
Michael Zhao graduated from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where he produced an in-depth multimedia thesis on electronic waste dumping from the rich world to developing countries. Michael worked for the New York Times Beijing Bureau as a reporting assistant from 2003-2005. He graduated from the Beijing Language & Culture University with a bachelor's degree in English. He co-authored a book on learning Chinese language and culture, Urban Chinese: Mandarin in 21st Century China. He now works at Asia Society's Center on US-China Relations as a multimedia producer in New York. http://

Recent publications: http:// author/ michael_zhao



Click one of the links below to view a video of the keynote speeches.

Opening Remarks

Tom Gold (Executive Director BCI, Associate Dean International and Area Studies) opened the conference by welcoming the audience. Gold provided details of the history and mission of the BCI — The Berkeley China Initiative — as well as the function of the conference for the Initiative. Through programs such as this one, BCI strives to bring together colleagues from across the campus who might normally not even know of each other, and also involve people from the community, to explore issues related to China in fresh and exciting ways, as well as to attract financial support for this effort. The conference is one of a series of 3 conferences on the theme of "the production of knowledge about China" funded by the Luce Foundation. Gold expressed the BCI's very sincere thanks to the Luce Foundation for this generous assistance as well as its affirmation of its vision for the study of China. Gold emphasized that a combination of talented scholars on the Berkeley campus and a strong interest in the topic led the organizers of the conference to settle on an examination of China's environmental challenges. The organizers put together panels of people who might not ordinarily meet each other in the normal course of events, to stress the fact the China's environment is embedded in a social, cultural and historical context that needs to be understood along with the science and engineering aspects.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer followed Tom Gold to offer welcoming remarks. The Executive Vice Chancellor spoke on the growing salience of global environmental impact. He emphasized that the U.S. and India play a major part in this, as well, and reiterated the responsibility we must all take for the environment, whether it be policies or individual action. Breslauer noted that Berkeley can play a leadership role. With its vast expertise, we are a natural host, we are leader in environmental research, and we need to find ways to galvanize action.

Keynote Speech

Barbara Finamore examined the difficulties involved in information gathering in China. The issue of whether and how information is collected is still a major challenge. For example, China is a primary importer of mercury but little knowledge exists as to where it was being used. Finamore has helped to create an inventory, but a lot of mercury is being moved illegally. Four pilot projects — talk to SEPA EPBs about output of pollutants from power plants — had no information on small plants. The estimated pollutants of large plants are based on how much coal they used. Finamore wants more formal mechanisms for sharing information on important issues. She set up China U.S. Energy Efficiency Alliance and believes we need to share contacts and mobilize resources.

Panel I: Getting the Data Out: Institutions, Media, and Government Policy

Moderator: Orville Schell

Orville Schell opened the panel by stating that NGOs fill the vacuum often left by media as they improve transparency in environmental movements in U.S. and China. Information needs to reach the public before you can have effective policy development and litigation. Isabel Hilton's presentation focused on limitations on the public right to know. She stated that, in China, there is no voluntary dissemination of information. There is growing government recognition of the right to know and key bits of legislation have strengthened cause, but the problem has been enforcement. Hilton asks: How can it be improved? The answer: Through public interest environmental litigation! But none of this works without a commitment to freedom of the press. Wenran Jiang asked: What do we know about China's environment? We know that rapid deterioration, intense pollution, and high costs of development with a model of sustainability mean that China's environmental profile is in trouble. China has demonstrated its resolve to pursue a new model (at the central level), yet, he contends, we must understand that China's problems are also the world's problems. This should be implemented on the local level and market forces should be allowed to direct development. In terms of long-term challenges and changes: Do we need the right to know? Eventually, yes. We need to improve the ability to gather information. China does not have the capacity to make change democratically right now. In this light, one can say there is a need for a totalitarian force to interject and improve enforcement, to adopt modern technology, and cooperation and engagement internationally. CS Kiang emphasized that the relationship of the economy to the environment is changing, and the challenge of creating balance is a global issue. In 2007, the environment is driving the economy more than ever. China's population consumes a lot of resources and is dependent on outside resources. Overall, one should consider climate change as a product of the industrial revolution. We must share the responsibility and not point fingers. Consideration of climate change issues should include consideration of the following: Mitigation, adaptation, technology, and finance. There is, as well, a need for a Data Center — for knowledge-based economic development — we are at a crossroads and should hope for transparency and respect for intellectual property. Ye Qi contends that there is a need for correct data. Some challenges in data collection and analysis include a lack of the quality of information as well as accessibility of the information. Public participation is crucial to collecting reliable information, which provides an opportunity for litigation and accountability. As it stands, there is a hierarchy of enforcement and distortion of information. Local government has no incentive to report good data. Lili Wang outlined the history and challenges of environmental communication. The trend for communication can be characterized as top-down. The mass media is the driver of the information that is available yet challenges in public awareness and reliance on government information is still a challenge.

Panel II: Tracing Invisible Threats: Disease and the Environment

Moderator: Roger Cohn

Kirk Smith explored the importance of environmental risk factors for health and the methods by which we can measure environmental risk factors. Smith contends that loss of time is the best measure. All human beings have the same potential life length, thus he recommends a method of analysis that takes into account the effects of risk factors (such as lifestyle and pollutants) on health and life expectancy. Rural areas rate the least efficient and most affected by health concerns. China has largest income inequality in Asia, with the poorer populations, and highest number of premature deaths, located in the rural areas. Peng Gong suggested ideas for and issues related to data assembling and analysis in China. Some suggestions included data collection and production at the national level, full-time researchers placed in ecological zones to conduct on-going research, and more NGOs in place with the goal of enhancing global sustainability and supporting environmental decision-making. Robert Spear contends that in order to better understand environmental health, knowledge of environmental changes needs to be improved. Low mobility in parts of China aided in the study of the spread of carcinogenics. Mobility is improving now and this kind of research is no longer possible. Parasitic disease (Schistosomiasis) is easily curable but can pray on poor regions. To prevent the spread of schistosomiasis, we need the capacity to act before change is actually possible. The current bottleneck is manpower; there is no such thing today as Chinese industrial hygienists. Therefore, a priority needs to be increasing understanding of the need for personnel to take care of other workers. There is a challenge in developing manpower in the trenches. A new kind of training should be developed to meet current needs.

Panel III: Cycles, Predictions, and Policy: Issues of Local and Global Air Pollutants

Moderator: Lin Jiang

Jiang Lin began with a brief detail of CO2 emissions and some of the problems evident from these emissions. Max Auffhammer, in his research, employs statistics to evaluate CO2 emissions. Recently, China overtook the U.S. as the leader in CO2 emissions, a position held by the U.S. since 1980. The air quality now is 63% due to US, EU, and Russia. China and India are responsible for 10%. China can take a climate policy leadership role, something the U.S. has failed to do. Auffhammer suggests that China could adopt a sizable carbon tax and push others to do the same, which would sacrifice short term growth and trade off for longer more sustainable growth. Mark Levine examined patterns in carbon emissions. From 1980-2000 China put up way less CO2 than expected. 2001-present has been the opposite. China's goals by 2020 include tripling the GDP, and it is actually growing faster than projected. As a result, energy is skyrocketing. The Chinese government now recognizes the urgency related to energy use and the government has made a 20% reduction in energy use per unit a current serious goal. Will the data be reliable? Incentives exist to not be honest. Larry Li contended that use of Nitrogen- fertilizer is up and at rates ten times higher use than the global average. In terms of greenhouse gas, China is contributing 25-30% of Nitrogen into the air. In China, a farmer does not see himself as responsible for pollution, and there aren't personnel/scientists available to advise on effective strategies. It is important to achieve scientifically informed policy in China. Li believes we need international collaboration, genuine commitment, and work on the same issues to produce a sustainable future. ZhongXiang Zhang contends that China has been and continues to be involved in medium and long term development plan to fundamentally change the current path of encouraging economic growth at the expense of the environment in China. This includes energy saving and pollution control goals set for 2006-2010 known as the 11th Five Year blueprint. China is making substantial and genuine strides to improve its environmental policy and enforcement record, and many of these efforts have been successful. Jiang Lin closed the panel by asking: Can the world survive the American way of life? Many Chinese live on less than 1000; U.S. live on 44,000 (and greater energy usage). The challenge is bigger than China alone.

Keynote Speech

Jan Hamrin discussed her experiences doing business in China and connected this to initiatives encouraging sustainable energy programs in which she is involved. Hamrin emphasized that we need to get out of China's way — the wheels are already in motion and training and capacity building has been instrumental to success. To make things happen, however, a champion in key agency is needed. The major challenge lies in deciding how hard to push and when to step aside.

Panel IV: The Green Market: Renewing the Environment through Entrepreneurship and Investment

Moderator: Jeremy Potash

Jeremy Potash began the panel by outlining the problem of accurate data. Rule of law/transparency, lack of training in agriculture are included in the problems whose roots lie in insufficient information. There is evidence of abundant resolve beginning in 1980 when the central government voiced a strong commitment and a deep national concern about climate change. Po Chi Wu stated that business operates on imperfect data. Everything is in flux in China in both positive and negative ways. The key, for an investor, is to determine how to mobilize capital to create value. As an emerging resource, the energy of entrepreneurship is hard to measure. Successful models can demonstrate a scale through which improving price/performance and manufacturing efficiency are measured. Po recommends that individuals ask questions such as: Can Cleantech in China become a societal revolution? How do Chinese think about data? How much bias is there? What are value assumptions? We measure only what we can understand. And we can only improve what we can measure. Chris Raczkowski discussed the place of Azure International in China and its contribution to sustainable energy development. Azure is the developer of, and investor in, sustainable energy projects and technologies in China, with focus on wind, biofuels, waste to energy and CDM, and provides hands-on knowledge and extensive professional experience in the Chinese, European and North American markets. By 2020, ~US$100 billion will be invested in wind projects in China alone. Thus, the amount of clean tech investment in China for technologies and projects up to 2020 can reasonably be expected to exceed US$250 billion (or much more). The most important strategy for effective work in China is being present on a daily basis. Robert Collier emphasized the need for market mechanisms to foster green technology — green technology driven by government regulation. China has had great success because of these types of laws but there are difficulties with progress because the central government often lacks the capacity to get the local level to follow. Collier contends that foreign companies are making the largest gains in the Clean Tech movement. The issue of patents is preventing countries from receiving technology, which means developing nations without export talents do need patent relaxation. The Bush Administration believes the free market will direct the progress of Clean Tech and that no multilateral efforts are necessary on the part of governments. Collier disagrees and believes the government must play an active role. Daniel Spitzer discussed his experiences in China and the importance of considering China as a partner in the development of Clean Tech. In his work on fast-growth lumber, he finally received approval for ventures after an extended period of time. Initially there was no understanding of clean business — Spitzer had to open eyes to the need for green technology, and he struggled to find appropriate distributors. Less belief now exists in the Party. Doing good service through green technology has become a source of meaning for Spitzer and others.

Panel V: When Abundance Becomes Scarce: Managing China's Water Supply

Moderator and panelist: Gang He

Gang He described his work with CS Kiang in seeking new ideas/strategies for confronting environmental degradation. China is developing and needs to address subsistence needs first, and then consider historical emissions as well as transition emission. He also outlined the 11th Five Year Plan to assess national energy use and increase sustainability. Peter Perdue discussed environmental history over the past 200 years and determined that we are repeating much of what has already happened, and we have much to learn from past. He identified three themes generally covered in environmental history: famine relief, frontier expansion and land settlement, and response to crisis. Much can be learned about China's past responses to famine conditions. For example, during the Qing Dynasty, frontier expansion brought up many of the same issues that remain today. Transportation and minority tension are two of these issues. Perdue contends that what we know about recent events may be less than what we know about events 200 years ago. Environmental problems are long-standing — we need to learn from the past to understand the present. Chi-yuen Wang discussed water supply concerns in northwest China, where near-draught conditions are a threat due to very little waterfall. Xinjiang can be compared to America's 'Wild West,' meaning there is a concerted effort to conquer nature, but overuse and misuse of resources is a problem. Water use, melting glaciers and water contamination are all major challenges to water supply in China. Innovated means are needed to stop runoff from mountains and increase the recharge of groundwater. Lack of environmental awareness may be a basic obstacle that must be dealt with before law can have an impact. Michael Zhao, a journalist and documentary filmmaker, presented a recent documentary he produced. In the film, he interviewed people who live, and whose livelihood depends, on the Tibetan Plateau. Despite efforts to remain, many people are being pushed out due to decreasing water supply, making living conditions barely survivable.

Keynote Speech

Ma Jun discussed ways by which pollution in the air and water can be measured. He contended that we must achieve smarter growth with new strategies set by the top leadership including building a harmonious society and a look to scientific ways of development. Together, we must vow to change the ways of economic development. The past failures are due to gaps in the system, including weak enforcement and the low cost of violation (protectionism). Jun contends that the basis for changes that need to be made is access to information. With access to environmental information, public participation can increase. To further the public knowledge, Jun proposes the creation of a database through which researchers can compare and identify pollutants and volumes of pollutants emitted by different violators. To ensure accurate information, Jun believes that a commitment to correction and third party auditing, monitored by local environmental groups, must be made. So far, fifty companies have come to explain what went wrong and the correction action they took. To make sure improvements continue, and to provide corporations with the incentives to take responsibility, a new dynamic should be created between the government, private, and public sectors.

Panel VI: Sustaining Development: Inhabiting Urban and Rural Space

Moderator: Julia Strauss

Sheldon Brown opened the panel by explaining his use of art as a means of critical cultural perception. He constructs what he calls sublime creations to provoke cultural and social transformations and problemitize normative modes of representation. The Scalable City is artwork that engages urban development and its representation, which is a key step in development of urban environments. Harrison Fraker addressed the use of design as a means of interrogating a group of questions regarding the use of infrastructures that could increase environmental sustainability. Current development patterns (both urban and suburban) are dominated by "gated super blocks" with arterial roads, at approximately .5 - 1 km intervals. This development model is highly efficient at providing urban housing, but creates many negative "unintended consequences" including increased car dependence, congestion, and degradation of natural environment. In addition to the consequences listed above, the burden on China's infrastructure is immense. If Super-Blocks could be self-sufficient with respect to energy, water, and waste, demand on China's infrastructure and natural resources could be significantly reduced. Some suggestions for increasing efficiency include efficient lighting, constructed wetlands, roof-mounted photovoltaic devices, reverse osmosis technology, and integrated wind turbines, among others. Government can reduce the strain on the infrastructure by providing subsidies to land developers and builders that encourage 'eco-friendly' building as well as reward users with reduced fees payable on services and utilities to the government. Mark Henderson contended that land use directly affects the carbon cycle. While the Northern Rise Bowl and Three Gorges both have increased vegetation, the North China Plain, Yangzi Delta, and Pearl River Delta have all seen serious declines. Urbanization is important but also dangerous. With rapid urbanization since 1980 in these regions, there is substantially more CO2 released into the air. There remains a high level of variation in urban growth rates and effects of climate change: not benefiting as much as costs or visa-versa. Shannon May presented findings from her field research in the village of Huangbaiyu, a village that was to be a model for rural sustainability in China. The project failed (with the government expecting rural villages to pick up the slack), and May's research looks into the causes for the failure. Ultimately, she contends, the planning information is inaccurate and people's financial obligations are focused on weddings and healthcare, not rural development. She contends that we must recognize that in what form and how we collect our data matters and that no one will benefit from such sustainability movements if current conditions continue to be labeled as rural problems.

Keynote Speech

Jim Yardley detailed his experiences as a journalist in China covering the environment. Yardly contends that, living in Beijing, one learns that pollution is typical. It is both frustrating and exciting to be a journalist, and constant advice is given on what to cover. The longer you live in China the less you are sure that you know. Yardley contends that the problems with the environment are the cost of unchecked economic progress. As a journalist in China, Yardley has not experienced censorship in China for his work. The main problem has been access to officials. J visas are used to mean that you couldn't leave your assigned city without permission, but with the coming Olympics rules have been relaxed. In terms of development and environmental policy, the Party wants transparency and order, but may not want to give up any of its power. There is a question of whether the Party believes it can maintain control.

Closing Remarks

Thomas Gold closed the conference by offering summaries of the panels and details of the types of information shared in the two-day event. Gold noted that the panelists have gathered great amounts of primary data from many different sites on many different topics, and of many different sorts, and shared their data as well as their experiences in collecting and verifying it. Information is power. Though this is hardly the end of the conversation and we have not exhausted the list of people engaged in this work, we have also helped to break down the academic and bureaucratic silos which often prevent just this kind of sharing and interaction. The study of China's environment is still a relatively new field, and there is now a critical mass of people involved in it.

Estimated attendance for conference: 460

This conference was funded by a generous grant from the Luce Foundation as part of BCI's 3-part series on "The Production of Knowledge About China."



The conference "China's Environment: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?" will be held in the Lipman Room of Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley.

Campus map
Directions to Barrows Hall

Barrows Hall is located in the south region of campus. You will find Barrows Hall in section D4 of this campus map.

The Lipman Room is located on the 8th floor of Barrows Hall, accessible via elevators on the east side of the building.


If traveling by BART, exit the Richmond-Fremont line at the Berkeley station (not North Berkeley). When you leave the BART station, walk south down Shattuck Avenue to Bancroft Avenue (two or three blocks depending on which station exit you leave from) and turn left. Walk four blocks to Barrows Lane (just 1/2 block beyond Telegraph Avenue) and turn left onto campus. Barrows Hall will be on your right side.

From Interstate 80

To reach the site by car from Interstate 80, exit at the University Avenue off-ramp in Berkeley. Take University Avenue east to Oxford Street and turn right. Oxford becomes Fulton Street in a couple of blocks. Turn left onto Durant Avenue, then left onto Bowditch Street. Turn left onto Bancroft Avenue. Turn right onto Barrows Lane. Barrows Hall is located on campus, on the right side of Barrows Lane.

From Highways 24/13

To reach us from Highways 24/13, exit 13 at Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Continue on Tunnel Road as it becomes Ashby. Turn right at College Avenue and drive approximately one mile north to Bancroft Way and turn left. Follow Bancroft 1-1/2 blocks down to Barrows Lane and turn right on Barrows Lane. Barrows Hall is located on campus, on the right side of Barrows Lane.

Directions to campus are also available at


There are various public parking lots and facilities near campus and in downtown Berkeley. This list includes municipal and privately owned parking lots and garages open to the public. Please consult signs for hours and fees prior to entering the facilities.

For parking near the Faculty Club, we recommend the following lots:

  • MLK Student Union Garage (Bancroft Way, between Telegraph Avenue and Dana Street)
  • Sather Gate Garage (two blocks south from the UC Berkeley Campus, one-half block west of Telegraph Avenue, with entrances on both Durant Avenue and Channing Way)

More information is available on the UC Berkeley Parking and Transportation page.