In March 2018, China announced its most significant environmental governance reforms of this decade. Coming on the heels of President Xi Jinping securing the possibility of long-term presidential powers, the State Council presented draft plans to consolidate environmental policymaking in the newly formed Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The effectiveness of this new ministry will inform not only China’s environmental future, but also its stability, its socioeconomic ambitions, and global efforts to address environmental challenges. China’s environmental policy landscape has long been plagued by overlapping agendas and disproportionate power dynamics, which its new environmental regime seeks to address. The new ministry will become the most powerful dedicated environmental regulatory body in the history of modern China. It will deploy enforcement staff across the country, and be the instrument for applying China’s centralized environmental statutes. But coordination and enforcement challenges will not disappear with China’s ministerial consolidation, and a range of questions remain on its future effectiveness and the degree to which China will continue to expand its environmental priorities. The global stakes for success are high. China’s domestic policies have an outsized ability to influence global climate change, foment or curtail transboundary pollution, and send ripples through resource management strategies the world over from its consumption patterns. Where reforms lead to a cleaner environment in China, the world clearly benefits. Where they fall short, both Chinese citizens and the global community will bear the impacts.
Jackson Ewing holds a joint appointment as a senior fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions and an adjunct associate professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy. He works closely with the Duke Kunshan University Environmental Research Center and International Masters of Environmental Policy programs to build policy research collaboration across Duke platforms in the United States and China.
Prior to joining Duke, Ewing was director of Asian Sustainability at the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York, where he led projects on Asian carbon market cooperation and sustainable resource development in the ASEAN Economic Community. He previously served as a MacArthur Fellow and head of the Environment, Climate Change and Food Security Program at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and has worked throughout Asia with actors in government, the private sector, civil society, and international organizations.
Ewing publishes widely through a range of mediums and is a regular contributor to radio, television and print media. He holds a doctorate in environmental security and master’s degree in international relations from Australia’s Bond University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Charleston.
This presentation is sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center and the Global Asia Initiativement. A light lunch will be served. Parking is available in nearby Trent Rd. and Erwin Rd. parking decks. The series provides 1-hour parking vouchers to guests.