China, Climate Change, Security and the Developing World

Beyond Competition?  China, Climate Change, Security and the Developing World
April 6, 2012
Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center, Petteruti Lounge
75 Waterman Street

Organized by the Year of China, the Center for Environmental Studies, and the Environmental Change Initiative at Brown University with co-sponsorship by the Watson Institute for International Studies, this intimate one-day workshop looked at how China will manage both rapid economic growth and attention to climate change. 

Participants discussed the roots of China’s domestic economic and environmental policy and how these influence its positions in the United Nations negotiations on the treaty that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol.  Issues considered included China's need for national development as a factor constraining and informing the negotiating position of China, the role of vulnerability in agriculture and other sectors to climate disasters in shaping China's national and international policy, China's interaction with other developing nations as it seeks out raw materials to feed its growth, and the ways in which science (and technology) are driving China’s positions.


9:00-11:00am: Welcome and Session 1

Welcome and Introduction: Prof. Chung-I Tan, Director, Year of China; and Prof. Timmons Roberts, Director, Center for Environmental Studies

Session 1: Vulnerability, Opportunity: China’s Risks and Options on Climate
Chair: Timmons Roberts, Director, Center for Environmental Studies and Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology, Brown University

Prof. Yinlong Xu, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences “Climate Vulnerability, Adaptation and Agriculture in China”

Deborah Seligsohn, Principal Advisor, China Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute

Xueman Wang, the World Bank, “Markets and Climate Readiness in China, and How that Influences China’s Position at the Negotiations”

Mark Levine, Senior Staff Scientist and Group Leader, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs

View video from Session 1

11:15-12:30: Session 2: Keynotes: The Big Picture: China and the U.S. in the Global Climate Negotiations, and Impacts on the Rest of the Developing World
Chair: Matthew Gutmann, Vice President for International Affairs, Brown University

Keynote Address: Sheldon Whitehouse, US Senator from Rhode Island—“Climate vulnerabilities in the USA and political possibilities for action; possibilities for US-China co-leadership on climate change”

Keynote Address: Dan Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development at the U.S. Department of State, and Co-Chair, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action, 2010-2011

View video from Session 2

12:30-1:30: Lunch for Conference Participants, Catered by Shanghai, Petteruti Lounge

1:30-2:45: Session 3: Brown efforts to understand and inform the climate negotiations
Chair: Carolyn Dean, Interim Director, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University

“Three Hungry Giants: China, the US and the EU in the Search for Resources in the Developing World” [with a focus on Latin America] --Guy Edwards, CES Fellow, and Timmons Roberts, Environmental Studies

“The Brown Report from Durban”: Brown students report on their work in support of the Least Developed Countries negotiating group, and research focused on issues of China, South-South development cooperation, USA-China relations.  Brianna Craft, David Ciplet, Spencer Field, Linlang He, Graciela Kincaid, Adam Kotin, and Kelly Rogers

View video from Session 3
3:00-5:00: Session 4: Beyond Competition? New Directions in U.S. -China Relations in Global Climate Science and Policy [roundtable panel discussion]
Chair: Richard Snyder, Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Brown University Prof. John Logan


Mizan Khan, North-South University, Bangladesh, and Negotiator on Climate Finance for Bangladesh, Visiting Fellow Spring 2012 in Brown’s Center for Environmental Studies

Deborah Seligsohn, Principal Advisor, China Climate and Energy Program, World Resources Institute

Dr. Paul J. Smith, professor of national security affairs, Naval War College

Dr. Edward Steinfeld, Professor of Political Economy,  MIT Department of Political Science and co-director of the China Energy Group in the MIT Industrial Performance Center.

Dr. Ming Xu, Asociate Professor, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Center for Sustainable Systems

View Video from Session 4

5:00-6:00 Reception, Faunce Memorial Room, Stephen Robert Center, 2nd Floor

Speaker Biographies

Mizan Khan is Professor of the Department of Environmental Science and Management, North South University, Dhaka.  He is a Lead Author of the IPCC WG3. His research focuses on issues of equity in international adaptation politics and national and community-based adaptation planning. His publications include,  Crop Insurance as an Instrument of Adaptation to Climate Change. He is co-author of “The Politics of International Climate Adaptation Funding: Justice and Divisions in the Greenhouse” in Global Environmental Politics (forthcoming), and recent climate policy report  Adaptation finance: How Durban Can Deliver on Past Promises (IIED 2011).  He holds a PhD from the University of Maryland, and has served as a member of the Bangladesh delegation in climate change negotiations for ten years.

Mark Levine is the Group Leader of the China Energy Group at LBNL, his major passion in the past two decades has involved analyzing and promoting energy efficiency in China. Dr. Levine is a board member of five leading non-profits including the US-China Green Energy Council co-founded the Beijing Energy Efficiency Center. He is a member of the Energy Advisory Board of Dow Chemical Company and the Advisory Board of the Asian Pacific Energy Research Centre in Tokyo.  In addition to authoring numerous technical publications, Dr. Levine has led a series of high-profile energy analysis activities: he had overall responsibility for the IPCC chapters on mitigating carbon emissions in buildings (2nd assessment report) and shared responsibility (4th assessment report); he was co-leader of the report “Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future” for the United States and co-leader of a major study of energy and carbon futures of China.

Daniel Reifsnyder leads the U.S. delegation under multiple bilateral and multilateral treaties and agreements. From 1989 to 2006 Mr. Reifsnyder served as Director of the Bureau's Office of Global Change, where he developed and implemented U.S. policy on global climate change. He played a key role in crafting a wide range of Presidential initiatives, including: the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate; he was instrumental in launching or reinvigorating 15 bilateral climate change agreements and in establishing the U.S. Climate Change Country Studies Program. From 1989 to 2006, he helped shape the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and co-chaired its Financial Task Team. He was alternate head of the U.S. delegation in negotiations that led to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.  He came to the Department of State after 10 years with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  Mr. Reifsnyder holds a J.D. degree from George Washington University (1981), an M.A. degree in Russian Area Studies from Georgetown University (1976), and an A.B. degree in political philosophy from Trinity College (CT) (1972); in 2005 he received the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award.

Deborah Seligsohn serves as Principal Advisor to the World Resources Institute’s climate and energy program on issues in China as well as to the ChinaFAQs China Climate and Energy Network. She blogs regularly at, as well as researching and writing on a variety of issues connected on both China and international climate policy. Her recent publications have focused on Chinese emissions, technology issues and US-China relations.  Prior to joining WRI, she served for over 20 years in the U.S. State Department, where she worked on energy and environment issues in China, India, Nepal and New Zealand. Her most recent position was as Environment, Science, Technology and Health Counselor on Beijing. She has a master’s degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy, and her BA is from Harvard University in East Asian Studies. She speaks fluent Chinese and some Hindi.

Dr. Paul J. Smith is a professor of national security affairs, Naval War College. His research focuses primarily on Chinese foreign policy and nontraditional security issues related to Asia. His articles have appeared in Asian Affairs: an American Review, Contemporary Southeast Asia, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Harvard Asia-Pacific Review, Jane’s Intelligence Review, Journal of Conflict, Security and Development, Journal of Third World Studies, Orbis, Parameters, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and Survival. His edited books include Human Smuggling: Chinese Migrant Trafficking and the Challenge to America’s Immigration Tradition (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1997) and Terrorism and Violence in Southeast Asia: Transnational Challenges to States and Regional Stability (M.E. Sharpe, 2004). He is author of the book The Terrorism Ahead: Confronting Transnational Violence in the 21st Century (M.E. Sharpe, 2007). Dr. Smith frequently provides commentary for national and international news organizations, including the International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Defense News, Japan Times, World Politics Review, among others. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Washington and Lee University, his Master of Arts from the University of London (School of Oriental and African Studies) and his Juris Doctorate (law) and PhD (political science) from the University of Hawaii.

Edward Steinfeld is a professor of political economy in the MIT Department of Political Science and co-director of the China Energy Group in the MIT Industrial Performance Center. He received his BA, MA, and PhD in political science from Harvard University. Steinfeld is the author of Playing Our Game: Why China's Rise Doesn't Threaten the West (Oxford, 2010) and Forging Reform in China: The Fate of State-Owned Industry (Cambridge, 1998) as well as chapters and articles on China’s . Steinfeld is the author of numerous articles in both academic and non-academic journals, including Comparative Politics, Political Studies, World Development, The Far Eastern Economic Review, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The South China Morning Post. Steinfeld is a member of the board of directors of the National Committee on US-China Relations, as well as a member of the academic committee of the Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance at Tsinghua University.

Xueman Wang is a Senior Counsel at the Legal Department of the World Bank, mainly responsible for carbon finance. Prior to joining the World Bank, she was with the UNEP Convention on Biological Diversity in Montreal, Canada, working on the Biosafety Protocol and trade and environment. Before that, she worked at the UN Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn, Germany, where she was responsible for negotiations of the Kyoto Protocol and its compliance regime. Prior to the UN, she worked at the Treaty and Law Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, as one of the chief negotiators for the Climate Change Convention and other environmental treaties.  Currently, she is now the team leader for the Partnership for Market Readiness at the Bank, a program to develop climate change regulatory programs in the developing world. She has profound expertise in how emissions trading and the compliance regime under the Kyoto Protocol are constraining and informing the negotiating position of China. How is carbon finance integrated into public and private investment decisions for low-carbon development, how is the World Bank involved in expanding carbon finance in developing countries, etc.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse:  A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Senator Whitehouse served as a policy advisor and counsel to the Governor of Rhode Island and as the state’s Director of Business Regulation before being nominated by President Bill Clinton to be Rhode Island's United States Attorney in 1994. He was elected State Attorney General in 1998, a position in which he served from 1999-2003. On November 7, 2006, Rhode Islanders elected Sheldon to the United States Senate, where he is a member of the Budget Committee; the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee; the Judiciary Committee; the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging.  He chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism and the EPW Subcommittee on Oversight.  He has recently taken to the Senate floor to speak forcefully about the importance of U.S. action on climate change.  He lives in Newport with his wife, Sandra, a marine biologist and environmental advocate, and their two children.

Prof. Yinlong Xu is a senior researcher at Lab of Climate Change, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.  His research area includes China’s national strategy of climate change adaptation, adaptation of agriculture to climate change, south-south cooperation in agricultural adaptation.

Dr. Ming Xu is a core faculty member in the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems in the School of Natural Resources and Environment. He also has a courtesy appointment with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He is interested in developing industrial ecology approaches (e.g., environmental input-output analysis, life cycle analysis, material flow analysis) and complex systems modeling methods (e.g., agent-based modeling, complex network analysis) to understand a variety of complex sustainability issues. Systems he has been interested in studying include international trade, energy systems, and urban systems. His teaching centers around sustainable systems with a strong global perspective. Growing up in, and with, the developing China, he has a natural interest in studying and teaching sustainability in China. Recent Papers: Xu, M.; Williams, E.; Allenby, B. Assessing environmental impacts embodied in manufacturing and labor input for the China-U.S. trade. Environmental Science & Technology 2010, 44 (2), 567-573; Xu, M.; Allenby, B.; Chen, W.-Q. Energy and air emissions embodied in China-U.S. trade: Eastbound assessment using adjusted bilateral trade data. Environmental Science & Technology 2009, 43 (9), 3378-3384.

To view select portions of the conference, please visit Brown Univeristy on YouTube.

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Beyond Competition? China, Climate Change, Security and the Developing World