Will China Save the Planet?

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Event Series: 
Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 4:00pm-5:30pm (ended)
223 Moses Hall
Barbara Finamore, Senior Strategic Director for Asia, Natural Resources Defense Council

Moderated by Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Co-Director of the Climate & Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Now that Trump has turned the United States into a global climate outcast, will China take the lead in saving our planet from environmental catastrophe? Many signs point to yes. China, the world's largest carbon emitter, is leading a global clean energy revolution, phasing out coal consumption and leading the development of a global system of green finance. 

But as leading China environmental expert Barbara Finamore explains, it is anything but easy. The fundamental economic and political challenges that China faces in addressing its domestic environmental crisis threaten to derail its low-carbon energy transition. Yet there is reason for hope. China's leaders understand that transforming the world's second largest economy from one dependent on highly polluting heavy industry to one focused on clean energy, services and innovation is essential, not only to the future of the planet, but to China's own prosperity.

Barbara Finamore is the Senior Strategic Director for Asia at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). She has nearly four decades of experience in environmental law and energy policy. In 1996, she founded NRDC’s China Program, the first clean energy program to be launched by an international NGO. She also served as President and Chair of the Professional Association for China's Environment (PACE) and is the co-founder and President of the China-U.S. Energy Innovation Alliance. In 2017, Barbara was named a member of Foreign Policy’s “The U.S.-China 50”, a group of 50 individuals who are powering the world's most complex and consequential relationship. She holds a J.D. degree with honors from Harvard Law School. 

Book Reviews:

“A hugely informative and readable book about how much China is doing – and needs to do – to spur the clean energy revolution that is a crucial element in the fight against climate change. I highly recommend it.” Todd Stern, Former Special Envoy for Climate Change under President Obama

“Finamore has written an impressively well-researched and truly fascinating account of China's fitful odyssey to climate consciousness. In an otherwise pretty bleak global tableau, this progress offers some welcome grounds for hope.” Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US–China Relations, Asia Society

A recent interview Barbara gave about the book on PBS NewsHour:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/as-us-cedes-leadership-on-climate-china-steps-up

The Asian Review of Books recently wrote: “If you want to read one book on China’s energy and environmental transformation, Finamore’s lucid volume is the one.” http://asianreviewofbooks.com/content/will-china-save-the-planet-by-barbara-finamore/.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Chinese Studies.