Ahead of COP26 in November, LSE IDEAS’ China Foresight Project, the Grantham Research Institute at LSE, and LSE’s Department of International Relations co-host a panel discussing the evolution of China’s own understanding of the environment, the role of domestic stakeholders in shaping Chinese environmental diplomacy and Beijing’s role in the upcoming COP26.

Over the last decade, China has moved from being a follower towards taking on a leadership role in global environmental governance. Framed within the concept of “Ecological Civilization”, Xi Jinping’s ambitious pledge for China to become carbon neutral by 2060 requires stark changes in China’s domestic political economy. By investigating the role of Chinese interest groups, Dr Wang-Kaeding’s new book sheds light on how sub-state actors adapt to and shape China’s environmental policy and diplomacy. Given China’s status as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, understanding how domestic dynamics influence Beijing’s approach to climate negotiations is critical to any sustainable and far-sighted international action on climate change.

Meet the speakers

Robert Falkner is the Interim Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and an Associate Professor of International Relations at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He also serves as the Academic Director of the TRIUM Global Executive MBA programme, an alliance between LSE, NYU Stern School of Business and HEC Paris. He is the author of Environmentalism and Global International Society (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and the co-editor of the forthcoming book Great Powers, Climate Change and Global Environmental Responsibilities (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Judith Shapiro is the director of the Masters in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development for the School of International Service at American University. She was one of the first Americans to live in China after US-China relations were normalized in 1979, and taught English at the Hunan Teachers’ College in Changsha, China. Her research and teaching focus on global environmental politics and policy, the environmental politics of Asia, and Chinese politics under Mao. She is the author, co-author or editor of ten books, including China Goes Green: Coercive Environmentalism for a Troubled Planet (with Yifei Li, Polity 2020), China’s Environmental Challenges (Polity 2016), Mao’s War against Nature (Cambridge University 2001), and Our Extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance (co-edited with John-Andrew McNeish, Routledge 2021). Mao’s War against Nature inspired a documentary, and her early experiences in China were made into a television feature film. 

Heidi Wang-Kaeding is Lecturer in International Relations at Keele University. Her research focuses on global environmental governance, economic statecraft in East Asia, and the role of emotions in international politics. She is interested in how the rise of China is reshaping regional power dynamics in East Asia and how China’s emergence as a superpower creates normative effects on multilateral governance. She is the author of China’s Environmental Foreign Relations (Routledge, 2021). Her recent article (co-authored with Malte Kaeding) “Red Capital in Hong Kong” (2019) won the 2020 Literati Award. She is a Co-Founder of the Hong Kong Studies Association (HKSA) based in the U.K.

Meet the chair

William Callahan is Professor of International Relations at LSE. His research examines the interplay of culture and politics, and visual global politics. Callahan’s most recent book is Sensible Politics: Visualizing International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2020). His other work includes China: The Pessoptimist Nation (OUP, 2010) and the documentary film “Great Walls” (2020), which asks why we hate Trump’s wall and love the Great Wall of China.

Event hashtag: #LSEChina

Register

This online public event is free and open to all but pre-registration is required. Register here

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