Hao Min | February 26, 2018
A Positive, Impactful Opportunity to Advance Research
My involvement with the U.S.-China Research Group on Climate Change has been a tremendous opportunity and has been helpful for me personally in three ways. One way is that since we have designed, refined and begun to draft research papers through the duration of the research project, I have had the opportunity to present research ideas and initial findings to our mixed group of U.S. and Chinese experts and get feedback from them, so I can refine the research plan. The particular paper I have been working on with Dr. Joanna Lewis (Georgetown University) looks at cross-border clean energy finance, Chinese investments, and coal projects in other nations, particularly in Southeast Asia. It has been tremendously helpful to have Chinese experts that can flag some particular areas of Chinese policy or projects that I should be aware of, to make sure that we are not missing anything in how we characterize China’s decisions and what it does abroad. Our team also has an American climate finance expert who worked at the Treasury Department, Billy Pizer, and that is an area that I don’t have deep expertise in in terms of general climate finance policy. His knowledge has been greatly helpful as well in terms of making sure that we are doing due diligence and having the absolute best framing and information for the project.
The second way that the dialogue has positively impacted my work is being able to present questions on areas where I would like to learn more about what is happening in China. The Chinese scholars on multiple occasions have pointed me towards certain sources of information that I was not aware of but are extraordinarily helpful. For example, outside of the Georgetown climate dialogue, I’m currently working with my colleagues on a research paper on U.S.-China natural gas trade and China’s domestic natural gas policy. In our last meeting, natural gas came up in one of our discussions and one of the Chinese participants told me that I can find detailed provincial level pricing information on the website of the provincial NDRCs for each province in China. We had been looking for this information aggregated at the national level and did not realize that the sub-national NDRC offices were a better source for the latest and most accurate pricing information. That has been really helpful and we are integrating the data into reports coming out next year.
The third way the dialogue has been helpful is the format. Over the course of three semesters, we have begun each meeting with the American and Chinese sides updating each other on major policy developments that are happening within our nations. That is extraordinarily helpful because in both countries there is so much action happening at the federal, subnational, and commercial levels, and there are a lot of misconceptions; it can be very easy to get the facts wrong or miss an important development that is going on behind the scenes. The ability to have regular check-ins with top policy experts to hear what they think is most important and to share with them things that we have heard, the ability to get policy updates from a verifiable source in a closed-door, frank manner has been extraordinarily helpful, and that saved a tremendous amount of research time. It means I can easily stay aware of the latest developments on the ground in China in a way that you cannot when you don’t sit down with Chinese colleagues.
Melanie Hart is director of China policy and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. She is a participant of the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues faculty research group on climate change.
Zhang Xiliang | February 19, 2018
Billy Pizer | February 14, 2018
Qi Shaozhou | February 12, 2018