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Whose Grass is Greener? The American and Chinese Climate Challenge

April 20 | 12-1pm EST | Online

Are the two international powerhouses able to collaborate on the urgent climate challenge facing our generation? Or will politics and competition get in the way of common goals? Join us for a virtual discussion this Earth Day.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just announced that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around the early 2030s, as humans continue to burn coal, oil, and natural gas.

The world is watching the actions of the U.S. and China, the world’s largest historical and present-day CO2 emitters. Are the two international powerhouses able to collaborate on the urgent climate challenge facing our generation? Or will politics and competition get in the way of common goals?

Join us for a virtual discussion this Earth Day with Alex Wang, professor of law at UCLA, Marilyn Waite, managing director of the Climate Finance Fund, and Deborah Seligsohn, assistant professor in political science at Villanova University.

Alex Wang

Alex Wang

Alex Wang is a Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and a Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

His research focuses on the law and politics of Chinese environmental governance. Previous work has examined Chinese climate policy, U.S.-China environmental cooperation and competition, environmental bureaucracy, information disclosure, public interest litigation, the role of state-owned enterprises in environmental governance, and symbolic uses of governance reform.

His article, "Explaining Environmental Information Disclosure in China," 44 Ecology Law Quarterly 865 (2018), was selected for the 2017 Harvard/Yale/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum. Other representative works include: "The Search for Sustainable Legitimacy: Environmental Law and Bureaucracy in China," 37 Harvard Environmental Law Review 365 (2013), "Symbolic Legitimacy and Environmental Reform in China," 48 Environmental Law 699 (2018), and “Is U.S.-China Climate Action Possible in an Era of Mistrust,” in China Questions II, Harvard University Press (2022).
At UCLA, he teaches courses in torts, Chinese law and politics, and environmental law. He has been a visiting assistant professor at UC Berkeley School of Law.

Prior to joining UCLA Law, he was a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) based in Beijing and the creator and founding director of NRDC’s China Environmental Law & Governance Project. In that capacity, he worked with China’s government agencies, legal community, and environmental groups to improve environmental laws and strengthen the role of the public in environmental protection. He helped to establish NRDC's Beijing office in 2006. He was a Fulbright Fellow to China from 2004-05.

He holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law and earned his B.S. in Biology from Duke University. He is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the Council on Foreign Relations, a board member of the Environmental Law Institute, and a Co-Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the California-China Climate Institute.

Marilyn Waite

Marilyn Waite

Marilyn is author of Sustainability at Work: careers that make a difference, which has received critical acclaim and has been introduced in higher education curricula in the United States and China.

Marilyn leads the Climate Finance Fund, focusing on mobilizing capital for climate solutions. Her writing has appeared in numerous media outlets, including the Financial Times, Forbes, and GreenBiz, where she serves as editor-at-large. Marilyn serves on a number of boards and investment committees.

Previously, Marilyn led energy and cleantech investments at Village Capital, managed nuclear and renewable energy projects at AREVA (now Orano and Framatome), and served as a Senior Research Fellow at Project Drawdown, where she led a team to model, quantify, and forecast the viability of energy solutions to curb climate change. Marilyn also worked at the intersection of science and policy at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and in economic development at the United Nations in Madagascar. She lectured sustainable business at UIBE (贸大) in Beijing and continues to teach at business schools and management programs.

Multilingual in French, Spanish, Mandarin and English, Marilyn is a global citizen who is able to bridge cultural divides and apply systems level thinking to the most local of concerns.
Marilyn holds a Master’s Degree with distinction in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, magna cum laude, from Princeton University.

Her vision is a world where sustainability values of social cohesion, environmental consciousness, inter-generational equity, and economic health drive decision-making and business practices.

Deborah Seligsohn

Deborah Seligsohn

Deborah Seligsohn is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Villanova University. She completed her PhD studies at UCSD in June 2018. Her dissertation examined how corporate concentration (whether companies compete with one another) affects the Chinese government's ability to regulate air pollution. She also researches other aspects of environmental governance in China, India, and US-China relations. She has taught environmental policy from both a domestic and comparative perspective.

Prior to embarking on an academic career, Deborah had a career in policy, first with the US State Department and then with the World Resources Institute. Her overarching passions are trying to understand how to achieve better environmental outcomes by looking deeply at root causes and engaging students to follow their own passions as informed citizens and professionals.

Kaiser Kuo

Kaiser Kuo

Kaiser Kuo is co-founder of the Sinica Podcast, the most popular English-language podcast on current affairs in China, which he hosts with Jeremy Goldkorn. The show has run since April 2010, and has published nearly 400 episodes. Until April 2016, Kaiser served as director of international communications for Baidu, China’s leading search engine. In 2016, Kaiser returned to the U.S. after a 20-year stint in Beijing, where his career spanned the gamut from music to journalism to technology. Kaiser also spent a year in Beijing from 1988 to 1989, when he co-founded the seminal Chinese heavy metal band Tang Dynasty as lead guitarist.