Economics and Globalization | Wilson Center

Economics and Globalization

U.S.-China Partnership for Climate Action

The Obama-Hu energy agreements in November 2009 and the Copenhagen climate talks reinvigorated discussions on the need for the United States and China to collaborate on energy and climate issues, but translating that enthusiasm into concrete projects can be elusive.

Seeing Through the Smog: Promoting Sino-U.S. Cooperation on Air Quality, Environmental Health, and Climate Change

China's three decades as the world's fastest growing economy have brought it an unfortunate primacy in two other statistical categories: it is estimated to have the world's highest annual incidence of premature deaths triggered by air pollution and to be the greatest emitter of carbon dioxide. Despite slowing economic growth and some improvements in air quality levels and controls, the expected steep increases in China's consumption of energy over the next few decades have troubling implications for both local air quality and global climate change.

Book Launch: The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage

With the recent scandals involving tainted food and toys from China, and mounting concern over the ever-growing pollution produced by Chinese industry, it is clear that what happens in China does not stay in China: It has a tangible, and at times devastating, global effect. With The China Price: The True Cost of Chinese Competitive Advantage, veteran foreign correspondent Alexandra Harney has written an exposé of how China's factory economy competes for Western business by—in her words—selling out its workers, its environment, and its future.

Efforts in Moving Towards a Low Carbon Future: China's Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Laws

Coal outputs surge in China in the month of February in the wake of a major winter storm that resulted in the loss of power supply to 17 provinces and cities, and a gap between supply and demand of electricity of 40 million kilowatts at peak time. The storms refocused global attention on China's dirty power sector, with the World Bank and OECD reporting 750,000 deaths from pollution induced respiratory diseases and cancer rates rising across the country.

Urban Life in China's Brave New World

At a seminar organized by the Comparative Urban Studies Project, the China Environment Forum and the Asia Program on January 3, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a U.C. Irvine China specialist and urban historian, drew on material from his book China's Brave New World – And Other Tales for Global Times (Indiana University Press, 2007) to reflect on the dramatic way that Chinese cities have changed over the past two decades. Dr. Wasserstrom gave an overview of the book, highlighting the second chapter, "All the Coffee in China" which delves into themes missing from prevailing narratives on China.

China Grapples with Its Energy Challenges

China's economic expansion is delivering impressive benefits at home and around the world, even as it sharpens and multiplies energy-related challenges. While China relies mainly on domestically mined coal, it has become a major presence on world energy markets, attracting unaccustomed attention. Domestic environmental damages are mounting, exacerbating inequalities among regions and economic groups, and progress in bringing down energy efficiency has slowed, spurring vigorous new efforts to raise efficiency.

Greening the Courts: China's Legal Advocates Giving Voice to Pollution Victims and the Environment

The Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV), founded by Wang Canfa in 1998, is a Chinese nongovernmental organization (NGO) based in Beijing, but actively assisting in class action cases in almost every province. CLAPV is the only environmental litigation NGO in China, and its legal advocacy has successfully empowered pollution victims, providing an important check on Chinese industries that pollute indiscriminately. Since opening a public hotline for pollution victims in 1999, CLAPV has provided legal aid for 98 cases, 35 of these involved damages to human health.

China Exim Bank in Africa

China Export-Import Bank

China's trade, investment and aid activities in Africa have been growing rapidly over the past decade. Chinese aid to Africa totaled $5.75 billion in 2006, and China the world's third largest food aid contributor. Trade between China and Africa has grown tenfold since 1999, reaching $56 billion in 2006. China's export credit and guarantee agencies—China Exim Bank in particular—have played an important role in fostering the rapid expansion of Chinese trade and investment in Africa.

Air Pollution and Environmental Health Threats in Southern China

Paralleling the booming economies in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta (PRD) has been a growing air pollution problem that seriously threatens human health and the region's economy. Speaking at a 13 February 2007 CHINA ENVIRONMENT FORUM meeting, Christine Loh, founder of the Hong Kong think tank Civic Exchange, suggested that Hong Kong could lose its status as the economic hub of Asia if the city does not clean up its skies—a task that can only be accomplished in collaboration with Guangdong.

Urban Transport Development in China - Trends and Challenges

Although China's overall personal vehicle sales and ownership rates are low when compared to the United States, the roads in China's largest cities are already clogged with cars and their emissions are the leading source of urban pollution. The wave of car purchases increases monthly—one recent survey showed that 13 percent of urbanites in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangdong intend to buy a car within the next 12 months.

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