Towards Consensus


Tuesday, September 20, 2011, 2:30pm to 4:30pm


124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA
Chen Ling

The Policymaking Process in Transitional China: Long-term Water Challenges and Implications for Energy Constraints in China
Chen Ling and Wang Can, Tsinghua University

About the Seminar
In the era of China’s economic and social transition, the improvement of the public policy process is often seen as a substitute for radical political reform, which might generate a sort of legitimacy through good governance and improved public welfare. This research analyzes the policy process by comparing cases in different policy fields: healthcare, nuclear energy, and population-control policy. The existing literature has already pointed out that the Chinese regime is fragmented, either in terms of the formal organizational structure or informal political factions. Starting from this observation, Professor Chen Ling will carefully scrutinize the major decision makers and related government agencies, and conclude that consensus building is the most essential activity of the policy process. The importance of consensus building is not new, but under the Hu-Wen administration, the process has become more institutionalized. Interest groups and think tanks are now stepping into the consensus building process. In addition, some channels of public participation have opened up, but their actual influence remains limited.

Dr. Chen Ling is associate professor and assistant director of Industrial Development and Environmental Governance (CIDEG) at the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, China. Her research fields are on public policy process, science, and technology policies and high-tech industrial policies. In recent years, she conducted research on the low carbon innovation of automobile industry, indigenous innovation policy, and China’s semiconductor industrial policy. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1998, her master’s degree on economics in 2001, and Ph.D. in public management at Tsinghua University in 2005.

Long-term Water Challenges and Implications for Energy Constraints in China
Professor Wang, Can will first highlight the status quo of water resources in China, followed by a brief analysis of the long-term forces driving water demand and supply. The water challenges ahead and strategic countermeasures under consideration in China will then be discussed with implications for larger national energy challenges. Finally, I’ll give some suggestions and thoughts on how research may address the nexus of water-energy in China.

Wang, Can is a professor in environment and energy policy at the School of Environment, Tsinghua University. He graduated from Tsinghua University with bachelor’s degrees in both environmental engineering and economics in 1998 and obtained his Ph.D. in 2003. Since then, he has worked in the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Tsinghua University. His research interests cover environment and energy system analysis, global climate change policy and economics, CDM methodology, and project development. He has participates in UNFCCC negotiation since 2009 as a member of Chinese Delegation, focusing on issues of sectoral approaches and technology development and transfer.