Reversing Roles?: Environmental Politics and Policy in China and the US
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Orozco Room, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall 66 West 12th Street, Room A712, New York, NY 10011
Reversing Roles?: Environmental Politics and Policy in China and the US in the Trump and Xi Jingping Era (Lecture with Robert Gottlieb)
Has there been a role reversal between the US and China on the environment?
China has long been considered an environmental outlier-- horrendous smog episodes, water unfit to drink and even to irrigate, huge increases in the number of cars on the road, a global leader in the use of pesticides, a major coal producer and importer, a reluctant participant in global climate negotiations until recently, and more. The US, until November 9, had been seen as at least modestly responsive to environmental concerns. Now with Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt ensconced in Washington seeking to systematically dismantle the environmental policy system in contrast to the passage of environmental legislation and a new role around climate change in China, the roles do seem to be reversing. Is that an accurate view?
The answer is yes and no. The talk will compare current US and China environmental approaches in such areas as air pollution, transportation, and food as well as climate change, and the interplay between national and local or regional government policies and their implementation. It will point to the role of social movements and popular protests to help us understand what has changed and why. And it will look at the structural barriers for change: the nature of China’s embrace of marketization, developmentalism, and urbanization on the one hand, and the continuing power of the fossil fuel industry and other environmentally problematic industry forces in the U.S. to shape or at least block policies.
Robert Gottlieb is Emeritus Professor at Occidental College and founder and former executive director of the Urban & Environmental Policy Institute. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books; his most recent book, co-authored with Simon Ng, is Global Cities: Urban Environments in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, and China (MIT Press).
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