Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Environmental Imperative: HNC Energy, Resources and Enviroment Concentration

Recognizing the importance of US-China cooperation on environmental issues, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center added a specialization in Energy, Resources, and Environment (ERE) in 2014 and offers students an array of courses and activities each semester. Chinese language ERE courses are taught by faculty from Nanjing University’s School of the Environment--a top environmental management program in China-- and include classes on China’s Development and the Environment, Water Resources, Environmental Risk Assessment and Management, and Environmental Economics. Professor Roger Raufer, who has worked on pollution control and energy issues in China for 26 years, has been a resident faculty member at the HNC since 2014. Raufer offers courses in English on Air Pollution and its Control, Economic Instruments for Pollution Control, Challenges in the Global Environment, and Global Energy Fundamentals. The HNC also takes students to visit local environmental projects---recent visits include a state-of-the-art coal-fired power plant to examine air pollution control devices; a major urban wastewater treatment facility; and a lake undergoing reclamation activities--and invites experts to visit. In 2015 the HNC hosted environmental speakers and researchers from the US and Germany, as well as from other Chinese cities.

Professor Bi, Professor Bleviss and Professor Raufer

Earlier this month, ERE leaders from NJU, SAIS and HNC met in Nanjing to discuss expanding and strengthening the ERE program. Professor Bi Jun, Dean of the School of the Environment at NJU, stressed that he hopes to increase links between NJU and HNC, and to facilitate HNC student involvement in international environmental training programs and a speaker series offered at NJU’s campus. Professor Deborah Bleviss, who directs SAIS’s ERE program in DC, is working to create opportunities for students from the SAIS Nanjing, DC, and Bologna campuses to take part in common ERE activities and projects, and is supporting development of ERE courses accessible to students in all three locations.   

ERE students visit Guodian power plant in 2015

As Professor Raufer notes, the time is right for training students in environmental policy leadership at HNC.  The December 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change demonstrated that China and the United States, the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters, are actively cooperating and ready to play leading roles in reaching global climate goals. It also signaled a new era in which nations are willing to set aside differences that blocked progress in the past, and will work together to achieve the world’s common climate objectives. He feels that the US and China hold the key to environmental progress in many areas, and he cites carbon trading as an area offering both countries a unique opportunity to work together in the future.  Raufer is excited about the prospects for expanding courses and activities in the popular ERE program at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.