China, Climate Change and Sustainability: spins, facts and realpolitik

Dr Dale Jiajun Wen

A China Studies Centre Distinguished Speaker Lecture

2 August

Dr Wen’s presentation will start with an overview of China's existing actions on climate change, and place current commitments in relation to other countries. She will argue that contrary to popular misconception in the West, China has already engaged and implemented quite substantial efforts to address climate change. China’s investments in clean energy are e.g. Almost double that of the United States’, and around three times in terms of percentage of GDP. Yet, these efforts are still not enough to counter climate change or to ensure sustainable development. Dr Wen will highlight some of the challenges for China, how the current growth centred development model must be changed, and some of the implications of this.

Dr. Wen will furthermore analyse the political situation regarding China's position in the climate negotiations. How did the China blame game after the Copenhagen climate summit fuel climate skepticism within the country and prove counterproductive? What are the different and often competing schools of thought among China’s ruling elite and academics regarding the future climate regime?

Finally she will share ideas why it is important for the west and China to collaborate on sustainability issues and possible ways forward to rebuild trust.

Dale Wen

Dr Dale Jiajun Wen is a scholar, activist and writer who has focused on sustainable development issues for more than a decade. Her current research focus includes sustainable agriculture, climate change, energy security, and other globalization related issues

She received her PhD at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has worked closely with organisations such as Third World Network, South Center and the International Forum on Globalization, and is currently based in Germany. In 2005, she published a short book China Copes with Globalization: A mixed review, which examined the environmental and social impacts of China's breakneck industrialisation and surveyed alternative voices in the Chinese scene, including the environmental movement and the rural reconstruction movement.

Dr Wen was a coordinate lead author for the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), called by some the IPCC of agriculture. Over the last few years Dr Wen has followed the international climate negotiations closely, and has substantial insights to the Chinese government’s reasoning and policy making as well as to what is happening on the ground in China – both in terms of climate action as well as the effects of the current development trajectory on sustainability.