Dr Shengnian Xu, Dr Chai Qimin, Sophie Lu, Noah Lerner

Thursday, March 15, 1 pm | 60 RMB -purchase link

Chinese authorities have issued multiple directives recently to indicate they are now taking the war on pollution extremely seriously. Policies that replaced coal with gas for residential and industrial use, and closing illegal or outdated coal mines, steel mills and aluminum smelters played a key part in the recent drop in pollution levels in the Beijing area. These initiatives left some homes without heat and temporarily slowed factory output, but these issues should be rectifiable as the coal-to-gas campaign gains momentum. The question remains, however – both domestically, and with large-scale international development projects like the Belt and Road initiative – will these measures be enough? What else could and should be done? And will China become the global leader that drives forward the Paris Climate Accord and other key international environmental agreements? To discuss these and other related matters, we are joined by Dr. Shengnian Xu, GEI Energy and Climate Change Program Officer; Dr. Chai Qimin, Director of the International Cooperation Department, National Center for Climate Change Strategy, National Development and Reform Commission; Sophie Lu, the head of China Research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance; and Noah Lerner who runs Beijing Energy Network’s podcast on China’s environmental affairs.


Noah Lerner is a Princeton-in-Asia Fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Beijing Office, helping to support climate and clean-energy policy research and advocacy. He received a B.A. in Biology and East Asian Studies from Amherst College. Noah is also the co-founder and host of Environment China, a bilingual podcast from the Beijing Energy Network that shares the stories of China’s environmental leaders, innovators, and experts.


Dr. Shengnian Xu is the program officer of the Energy and Climate Change team at GEI. He co-developed GEI’s Low-Carbon Development Planning Toolkit, in partnership with the Center for Climate Strategies, that has provided over 700 government officials and experts with the resources to implement low-carbon planning in cities and provinces throughout China. His latest work includes developing a citizen science-based environmental protection strategy for western China to improve more grassroots data collection. His areas of specialization at GEI include U.S.-China climate cooperation, citizen science, low-carbon development, and China’s engagement in international climate agreements. Shengnian holds a Ph.D. and B.S. in astrophysics from the University of Science and Technology of China and in 2008, was a visiting student Michigan University, studying astronomy.


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