Understanding China’s Environmental Policy Within Today’s Context

AmCham Taipei hosted Alex Wang, professor of law at the University of California at Los Angeles, in a seminar-style discussion at the Chamber’s Lincoln Room on July 11. Wang gave an overview of China’s environmental regulations and legal and political institutions, as well as introducing his own predictions for China’s environmental outlook over the next century. Seminar participants were able to ask questions in an intimate setting with one of the world’s most prominent experts in this field.

Attendees included media professionals, academics, students, and industry representatives.

Wang noted that over the past 10 years, China has had an increasingly high concentration of PM2.5 particles compared to other countries. These tiny particles are particularly damaging to human health. He demonstrated an interactive platform that uses satellite imagery to allow the viewer to see global PM2.5 concentrations live here. Participants could note the high concentration of PM2.5 in and around eastern China.

Wang attributed the rapid increase in air pollution in China since the early 2000s to the country’s entrance into the World Trade Organization, which spurred huge growth in industrial production. But although China is a large polluter in nominal terms, in terms of per-capita pollution its CO2 emissions are substantially lower than those of the U.S., he pointed out. Wang also noted that approximately one-third of China’s emissions are caused by production for export to the U.S., European Union, and Japan.

Sharing the effects of decreased air pollution during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when motor traffic was curtailed and factory operations suspended, he cited one study that found that women who gave birth a month after the Olympics had significantly healthier babies.

The Lincoln Room is made possible by the generosity of a number of sponsoring companies:

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