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 School of Geography and the Environment

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China Environment and Energy Programme

The China Environment and Energy Programme supports systematic, interdisciplinary study of China’s major environmental and energy issues, examining the evolution and effectiveness of China’s environmental and energy governance during a period of rapid socio-economic transformation. The program focuses on analysis of the driving determinants of policy design and policy implementation outcomes and explores choices that could promote a more sustainable development path that balance environmental protection, resource conservation, and economic development in China and other developing countries.

The research agenda covers five key themes:

  • Climate change governance and mitigation policy
  • Environmental governance and policy
  • Environment and health
  • Energy policy and technology development
  • Sustainable transportation

The programme is coordinated from a base in the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) of the University of Oxford’s Department of Geography and Environment and brings together expertise on the environment, energy, and China from throughout Oxford, including the Transport Studies Unit, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, Smith School for Enterprises and the Environment, Contemporary China Studies Programme of the School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies (SIAS), and Oxford University China Centre.

Research Activities

Lead Researcher: Dr Jimin Zhao Contact: t:01865 285535 e:

Outreach and Events

China Energy and Environment Series

Open and Shut: Working with China on Energy Policy, March 2010

China's political process may be famously opaque to outsiders, but in a variety of policy arenas, energy included, the country is remarkably open to dialogue. In confronting its considerable energy challenges, China has sought to make use of not only resources and technologies from abroad, but also of the policy experience; many recent domestic programs and laws have been constructed with reference to with what has and hasn’t worked elsewhere. Still, there are limits to this openness, for reasons ranging from the ideological to the practical and sometimes to the unknowable.

On 2nd March 2010, based on two decades of experience, Dr. Jonathan Sinton, China Programme Manager at the International Energy Agency’s Directorate of Global Energy Dialogue, presented to Oxford faculty and students a perspective on how and to what extent international engagement contributes to design and implementation of energy policy in China. Dr. Sinton co-led preparation of China’s Power Sector Reforms: Where to Next? (2006) and Cleaner Coal in China (2009), and contributes to numerous other IEA publications. Before joining the IEA, he was a longtime member of the China Energy Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where he engaged in wide-ranging research on energy economics and policy at the macroeconomic, firm and household levels.

Workshop on the environment and health in China

The Environmental Change Institute, in association with the British Inter-University China Center and the Oxford Martin School, organized a half-day workshop on China’s environment and health at the University of Oxford on 29th November 2007. The workshop offered a forum for debating the relationship between environment and public health in China from a social science perspective; examine the socio-political, cultural and economic context within which the connection between environment and health is situated, and explore solutions to the challenges of reducing poverty while simultaneously protecting people’s health.

Download the workshop on environment and health in China summary report.