United States-China forum on May 19 to examine climate change

In light of China’s pressing environmental challenges, the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and the Paulson Institute will host a May 19 conference on climate change that will feature current and former senior government officials and renowned scholars in China and the United States.

The forum, to be held in the Reynolds Club’s Hutchinson Commons, will be highlighted by a conversation on climate change between Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and the College and director of EPIC, and Henry Paulson, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and chairman of the Paulson Institute.

Madame Fu Ying, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee of the 12th Chinese National People’s Congress, will deliver a speech on how the U.S. and China must work together to tackle tough challenges such as climate change and other issues, and learn how to interact in an ever-changing world.

Later this year, international negotiators will meet in Paris for the U.N. Climate Change Conference, where they hope to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate.

In preparation for Paris, the presidents of the United States and China announced their respective post-2020 efforts to transition to low-carbon economies. The U.S. intends to reduce its carbon emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below its 2005 level in 2025, while China strives to bring its emissions to a peak by 2030. China also will increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to about 20 percent, as part of a joint commitment to combat global warming. 

At the conference, U.S. China scholars will focus on China’s environmental commitment and challenges by examining the impact of environmental damages on humans and the economy, and exploring key energy and environmental policy solutions to forge a sustainable path forward.

The conference will include a panel discussion, moderated by Pete Ogden, senior advisor, EPIC fellow and the former chief of staff to Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change. It also will feature talks by prominent scholars in the field:

  • “The Environment and Health: Impacts from Air Pollution Today and Climate Change Tomorrow,” by Greenstone;
  • “China’s Climate: Changes and Physical Impacts,” by Elisabeth Moyer, associate professor of atmospheric science at UChicago;
  • “Air Pollution: Current and Future Trends,” by Wang Litao, professor of environmental engineering, Hebei University of Engineering, China;
  • “National Policy Efforts and Implementation,” by Zou Ji, deputy director general, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, China.

The program is part of the U.S.-China Forum, sponsored by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation and the University of Chicago. The forum aims to bring together top experts for high-level engagement on issues facing China and the U.S. and to forge long-term research collaborations between Chinese and UChicago researchers.