Two Chinese universities will host presentations on environmental legal issues later this month. The presentations are part of the Vermont Law School’s USAID-funded “U.S.-China Partnership for Environmental Law“.

Beijing’s China University of Political Science & Law (CUPL) (中国政法大学) will hold the first round of presentations, which will be on December 22. The next round of presentations will be held at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) (中山大学) from December 27-29.

The presentations will consist of research conducted by Vermont Law School and CUPL / SYSU students. The topics cover a wide array of issues in environmental law, from garbage and  e-waste to renewable energy and climate change.  The presentations will largely be based upon comparative analysis between the two countries.

These presentations come at a crucial time for environmental law, as United Nation talks on climate change opened earlier this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.  China and the U.S. are seen as the two key players in preventing “catastrophic” climate change.

The presenters are:
1) Patrick Munson (VLS)  & Zheng Ronghui (CUPL)  – Legal Avenues For Dealing With China’s Ecological Footprint
2) Joseph Starnes (VLS) & Song Lina (CUPL) – The Future And Viability Of Nuclear Power In China
3) Brandon Gillin (VLS) & Yu Lijie (CUPL) – Keeping Up With Chinese Consumerism: Offsetting China’s Individually-Generated Garbage With Regulatory And Social Mechanisms
4) Amy Driscoll (VLS) & Wu Shihang (SYSU) – E-Waste in China
5) Michael Rohwer (VLS) & Chen Huizhen (SYSU) – Using Renewable Portfolio Standards To Encourage Foreign Investment In China’s Renewable Energy Marketplace

Further reading:

CUPL Assistant Director Zhu Yong Meets With Delegates From Vermont Law School (Chinese)


It was reported today that the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) is pushing to have garbage-disposal issues addressed at the United Nations “COP 15” talks, which began earlier this week.

Poor garbage-disposal, especially in developing countries, greatly increase carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere, and therefore are relevant to climate change.

ISWA President Atilio A. Savino said that underdeveloped countries lack suitable strategies for their waste disposal.  Statistics compiled by ISWA indicate that in countries such as China, Mexico and South Africa, over half of household trash is disposed in illegal dumping sites.

Xinhua News reported on December 1 that public hearings will be held regarding the city of Guangzhou’s proposal to build a garbage incinerator in the city’s Panyu District.  What sparked the public hearings were the protests that took place in late November over the proposed incinerator.

Guangdong province generates more than 27 million tonnes of garbage annually. Many areas in the province are unequipped to deal with that amount of garbage.

The primary concerns of the protesting residents are likely attributed to the health risks posed to villagers near the site of the proposed incinerator.  More than 50 deaths related to cancer have occurred since operations began at an incinerator in the Baiyuan District of Guangzhou.

Li Qing, director of Guangdong’s provincial administration of environmental protection, told a press conference that the administration “plan[s] to hold public hearings after the project contractor submits environment assessment report.”

Holding public hearings on the proposed incinerator represents a step forward in the way Chinese cities are beginning to deal with the growing concern of environmental pollution.