Wednesday, November 08, 2006

China to become World's Biggest Greenhouse Gas Emitter by 2009

China will surpass the US as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter by 2009, based on a new report by the International Energy Agency. (SCMP 11/8/2006) This is a decade earlier than previous projections had shown.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Program Administrator Position for VLS-SYU Partnership

Vermont Law School – Sun Yat-sen University Partnership for Environmental Law in China

With the support of a 3-year grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Vermont Law School has embarked on a collaborative project with the Faculty of Law at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China to offer training in environmental law and policy, with a particular emphasis on energy law. Working with legal educators, attorneys, lawmakers, utility analysts, regulators and citizen groups, this collaborative project seeks to enhance understanding of and public participation within our respective legal systems and institutions to advance more effective application and enforcement of environmental laws and policy. An overarching objective of this collaborative project is to enhance the capacity of members of local Chinese communities to become more effective environmental and energy problem solvers and to help develop enduring institutions that will continue to address problems of deep mutual concern, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.

Working under the supervision of the VLS-SYU Program Director, the Program Administrator will provide support for all facets of the collaborative project which will include arrangements for conferences, workshops, lectures, and communications in both China and in the US. The support will include handling arrangements for travel (for both Chinese visitors to the US and US personnel traveling to China), visas, translators, accommodations for all faculty members, students and professional staff participating in program activities, and any other related duties as assigned by the Program Director. The Program Administrator will also serve as a principal resource for visiting Chinese students, academics and professional staff who may be in residence at Vermont Law School to participate in program activities. This support includes, but is not limited to, language assistance (particularly in written communications or projects) for any program participants visiting from China. The Program Administrator will assist in the production of program-related materials, articles, books and any other communications that advance the purposes of the collaborative project. The Program Administrator will also work closely with the financial management team at VLS and the Program Director to maintain proper accounting of all program-related expenses and reporting requirements as dictated under the terms of the USAID grant.

The successful applicant must be fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) (both in speaking and in writing) and be available to travel to China for periods ranging from one to two weeks at a time. A bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) is required and must be coupled with study or work experience in international studies, environmental law and policy, energy policy, and/or Chinese history or culture. Candidates with formal legal training and experience in any related fields will be preferred. The Program Administrator will be based at Vermont Law School. Funding for this position is supported by the USAID grant and will provide salary and benefits for the three year term of the grant. Optimally, the successful candidate will be able to commit to working with the program for the entire three year term of the grant.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please send a letter of application, a current resume or C.V. and list of references (at least 3) to: N. Bruce Duthu, Professor of Law & VLS/SYU Program Director, Vermont Law School, South Royalton, VT 05068. Applications will be reviewed starting immediately until the position is filled. Applicants may submit materials electronically or in hard-copy form.

Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is Vermont’s only law school. It offers a traditional Juris Doctor (J.D.) curriculum that emphasizes the public-serving role of lawyers, a Master of Studies in Environmental Law (M.S.E.L.) degree for lawyers and non-lawyers alike, and two post-J.D. degrees, the LL.M. in Environmental Law and the LL.M. in American Legal Studies (for international students). The school’s Environmental Law Program is recognized as among the best in the nation. The Environmental Law Center, a recipient of the American Bar Association Award for Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy, is the largest graduate environmental law program in the country, providing both classroom-based and “real-world” opportunities for students to engage actively in environmental and natural resource issues. For more information please call (802) 831-1309, or visit Vermont Law School on the Web at
Vermont Law School is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Vermont Law School Receives $1.8 million US AID Grant for Environmental Law & Policy Partnership with Sun Yat-sen University Law School

VLS received a 1.8 million 3-year grant to do environmental law and policy work with SYU law school. Find the press release at

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Computers on the Beach

Here's a new version of wireless computing. Computer monitors with their power cords cut off were found on a beach near Hong Kong. (SCMP 10/1/2006) The picture is from the SCMP.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Essay on the Chicago Climate Exchange and the New England RGGI

I have posted an essay on carbon trading and the problem of enforcing program-wide emission caps on my website. ( It is entitled "The Problem of Maintaining Emissions “Caps” in Carbon Trading Programs Without Federal Government Involvement: A Brief Examination of the Chicago Climate Exchange and the Northeast Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative." My bad for the long title, but I like to have the title be reflective of the content. The essay is based on a presentation I did for a climate change symposium at Fordham law school last spring and looks specifically at the Chicago Climate Exchange and the New England Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Any comments are welcome.

There was a related article in the New York Times Magazine a couple of months ago, "Capital Pollution Solution?," by Jeff Goodell (July 30, 2006). Unfortunately, I can't link to the story since the NY Times website requires payment for access. Overall it was a very good article on the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The CCX is essentially a voluntary carbon trading arrangement, which includes large companies like International Paper and BP. However, the article was inaccurate in asserting that the commitments of CCX members are unenforceable. In fact, like other private contractual schemes, failure by a member to comply with their emissions limits could be enforced through the CCX's provision. Of course, whether that has ever happened is quite another matter.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pollution and the 2008 Beijing Olympics

It's official, now. How will Beijing to achieve environmental quality standards, especially air quality, for the 2008 Olympic Games? At this point, air quality standards are not being met. Based on plans released to Beijing newspapers, major industrial polluters will simply be ordered to stop operating for the duration of the games. Construction activities will also be halted. (SCMP 9/16).

A Peking University professor has denounced one part of those plans, which calls for the rounding up and expulsion of about 4 million migrant workers (also called peasant workers) from the city before the games.

Monday, September 11, 2006

More on that Xinqiang river spill

The two companies (Haoyuan Chemical Company and Taolin Lead-Zinc Ore Chemical Plant) that are thought to be responsible for the arsenide pollution of the Xinqiang river have been reportedly detained. (Xinhua 9/11) According to the Xinhua report,

"The two companies had not passed any environmental assessments and had no pollution treatment facilities. They have been discharging waste water with arsenide content more than 1,000 times higher than the national standard directly into Xinqiang River for a long time, said the official.

Haoyuan Chemical Company discharged nearly 50,000 tons of wastewater every month, and Taolin Lead-Zinc Ore Chemical Plant 280 tons, [a SEPA official] said, without revealing over what time period."

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Another Chemical Spill Fouls Water Supply for 80,000

A chemical spill of arsenic trioxide was found in the Xinqiang river on Friday in Yueyang county in Hunan province. (Xinhua 9/10, SCMP 9/11). The water supply for 80,000 people was contaminated by leakage from a waste water pool of a chemical plant 50 km upstream, according to Xinhua. Arsenic levels are 10 times normal. Dongting lake, about 20 km from the polluted river, may be threatened by the spill. The lake is China's second largest and a major water supply for Hunan province.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

"Let them Drink Milk"

In a recent spate of lead poisonings that has occurred in Shuiyang township in Gansu province, suspected to be the result of a state-owned smelter in a nearby village, public health experts have told the victims to drink more milk and eat more nutrients to lower the blood lead levels. (SCMP 9/9/06). Of course, the victims are too poor to afford milk. More than 800 people, including 334 children have been found to have abnormal lead levels. 368 of them are deemed to have lead poisoning. The smelter was shut down last month. The central government has been investigating, but has not come up with any remedy for the residents.

There was also an interesting op-ed piece in the New York Times about China's future. (Ross Terrill, China is not just Rising, but also Changing, 9/9/06). No mention of its environmental problems though.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Professor Xu Kezhu of the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims visits VLS

Prof. Xu Kezhu, the deputy director of the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims visited Vermont Law School last week. It was delightful to welcome her to our neck of the woods. She gave a presentation about CLAPV and her work at the China University of Political Science and Law. She also met with VLS' environmental law clinic.

She is in the US on a 3-week whirlwind tour to meet with government agencies, NGOs, and universities. She was in DC and New York and now is in San Francisco. She made a special detour to Vermont Law School to see us.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

What Happens After . . . Compliance with Environmental Orders

Jim Yardley of the NY Times has a very interesting article on China's environmental regulatory problems in the 9/4 edition, involving a 2004 spill into the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia and environmental orders that were wilfully ignored by local officials. (Rules Ignored, Toxic Sludge Sinks Chinese Village, NY Times 9/4/06). A lawsuit related to a pollution spill resulted in a $300,000 compensation award for the city of Baotou and an order to install water treatment equipment. However, local officials ignored the order and, instead, built large temporary wastewater containment pools next to the river. A storm this past April threatened to release the polluted water into the Yellow River. In order to avoid discovery of their failure to comply with official clean up order and to close the responsible factories, local officials broke the containment walls and released the polluted water into an area where several small villages are located. Those villages are now uninhabitable.

Maybe just as interesting, however, are the circumstances of how Yardley got his story (as he explains in the article). Initially, he got strung along by provincial officials for an interview about the matter. Then, this past July, he went to one of the villages (together with a driver and photographer) to investigate directly, even thought the village had been declared off-limits. At the village, they were pursued by a car without license plates, but they were able to escape. Subsequently, they were stopped by the police, and the driver was interrogated for three hours.

The incident actually reminds me of an encounter with rural Chinese police several years ago. We were in a small minibus that had taken us from a Beijing youth hostel to a section of the Great Wall in Hebei province. We were stopped by local police, as we later realized, probably because the minibus had Beijing license plates. We had to disembark and were asked about why we were there. They also asked us to sign a statement (in Chinese), which we refused. After about an hour, they let us go; in fact, they brought us to the section of the Great Wall that we were supposed to get to. The minibus driver had to go the police station, but he rejoined us several hours later. We suspect that he was probably being shaken down because he was bringing tourists from Beijing (to the neighboring Hebei province).

The entire episode was quite unnerving because of all the things I had previously heard about rural police corruption. On the other hand, we pretended not to speak Chinese (and they realized that we were American Chinese), which helped us to get out of having to sign anything. Our minibus driver seemed to take it all in stride - all in a day's work.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

SEPA Investigations Announced & Contaminated Fish

SEPA is investigating the company (Changbaishan Jingxi Chemical Co.) that caused the pollutant spill into the Songhua river tributary last week (see my earlier posting). (Xinhua 9/3). Interestingly enough, there are also simultaneous SEPA investigations looking not only at other private companies but also local governments. These include the "county government of Xin'an in central China's Henan Province has allowed the construction of more than 100 factories with no waste-treatment facilities since 1998. The municipal government in Jinhua in east China's Zhejiang Province, allegedly interfered with the enforcement of environmental laws. The Yili Prefecture in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is held responsible for the discharging of massive quantities of industrial pollutants."

SCMP also noted in an article that fish and shrimp coming into Hong Kong from Guangdong province has been found to contain high levels of methyltestosterone and chloramphenicol, a male hormone and an antibiotic. (SCMP 9/3). Authorities suspect that the contamination is the result of fish farmers using these chemicals in the ponds used to raise the fish and shrimp.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Little More Fall-Out from Songhua River Spill?

China Daily ran an article last week that the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) has been evaluating state-owned enterprises. (China Daily 8/23). Four received grades of D and two received a failing grade of E. The consequences of a poor performance evaluation could be not only cut in bonus and salary but also possible dismissal. China National Petroleum Corp. was among 4 companies that was downgraded because of safety or environmental violations, but it was not clear from the article what the actual grade of CNPC was.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

NPC Finds Little Progress on Pollution

Based on a 15 province inspection conducted in May, the NPC's Environment and Resources Protection Committee found that the pollution control efforts continue to lag. (SCMP 8/27) NPC Vice-Chairman Sheng Huaren pointed to fraud by local officials in reporting pollution figures and a failure to make pollution reduction a priority. " "Many firms report a lower figure for chromium waste for fear of being punished," said Sheng Huaren, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), on Saturday when briefing lawmakers on the report." For example, "A locality earlier reported that they had only 3,000 tons of chromium waste but raised the figure to 100,000 tons after they learned that the government would build reprocessing facilities for them instead of fining them, said Sheng." (Xinhua 8/26) Other issues are underfunded pollution control efforts.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Spill Cuts Of Water Supply to City in Shaanxi Province

A tanker truck spilled 25 tons of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) into a municipal reservoir for the city of Hancheng in Shaanxi province on Friday. (NY Times/AP 8/27). As a result the water supply for about 100,000 people in the city (total population about 400,000) was cut off for 2 days. After neutralizing with some 10 tons of hydrochloric acid, the water supply was restored on Sunday.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Two Ecological Indicators in China Worsen

Chemical oxygen demand in waste water rose overall by 4.2 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions increased by 5.8 percent, according to SEPA. (Xinhua 8/25)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Songhua Tributary Spill not as Bad as Feared

Now officials say that the slick is not as serious as was feared, probably because of the early intervention. (China Daily 8/25) . It turns out that the Changbaishan Jingxi Chemical Co. in Jilin dumped 10 tons of industrial waste into the Mangniu river. According to China Daily, the facility "has been ordered to stop production and culprits have been punished" . . . whatever that means. Maybe letters of self-criticism?

It's ironic (but not surprising, I suppose) that not even a year after the big benzene spill in Jilin, another company wilfully releases such a significant amount of toxic waste into the river. What happened to the "Environmental Storm" that SEPA has been pursuing? Seems to have been more of a gentle breeze . . .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chemical Spill into Tributary of Songhua River

Xinhua News Agency ran a story reporting on a chemical spill into the Mangniu river, a tributary to the Songhua river. (Xinhua 8/23) The spill apparently occurred on Monday (8/21), and officials believe that it was due to an illegal discharge by the Changbaishan Jingxi Chemical Co. The tributary passes through the city of Jilin, which was the site of last November's big benzene spill. The major pollution component of the 5 kilometer long pollution slick seems to be Xylidine.

Unlike the benzene spill into the Songhua last year, official response to this spill appeared to be much better. Three dams were built, including 2 containing active charcoal to filter the chemicals. So far, none of the pollutants have been detected in the Songhua river.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Searching Chinese Language News Headlines

I recently heard about a website ( (in beta version) that allows the searching of Chinese language on-line news headlines. In essence, it allows a user to type some search terms in English, which are then translated and searched. The output is a a set of news story items whose titles are re-translated into English. I tried it out and it comes up with some useful items.

However, any user should be aware that it does not replace some fundamental Chinese reading ability since most of the translated titles are close to gibberish. However, there is probably enough there to allow one to determine whether certain key words appear or whether the article might be somewhat relevant.

Unfortunately, the website provides no information about the author's background or contact. So, user beware.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

SEPA Head Openly Cites Fraud as Contributing to Pollution in China

In an interview with Xinhua, Zhou Shengxian, the head of SEPA, openly blamed fraud in construction projects as being responsible China's serious pollution problems, including greater than expected pollution increases. (China Daily 8/21 and SCMP 8/21). Basically, projects are being approved by local and provincial governments without having met all necessary environmental requirements. Zhou said that "in some counties only 30 percent of the projects had been checked for pollution control compliance before they received construction licenses." (China Daily 8/21). And half of the firms fail to implement the required pollution control measures. (SCMP 8/21).

This seems remarkably outspoken, even in light of the push to gain greater control over pollution since the Songhua River spill. On the other hand, it also follows the public reprimand by prime minister Wen Jia Bao of provincial officials in Inner Mongolia for allowing the construction of power plants that were contrary to central government policies and that had explicitly been judged illegal on an earlier occasion. (Xinhua 8/17) Of course, what triggered the reprimand was not the illegal construction itself, which had been going on for some time, but rather a construction accident that killed 6 and injured 8 in July. Of course, only the "underlings" get prosecuted. The "upperlings", including provincials governors are asked to write self-criticism letters. These exercises in self-criticism would be really comical if they weren't coupled with "stern" warnings that everyone who disobeys central government edicts would be held accountable. And of course, circumstances that give rise to these consequences are incredibly serious.

One other observation. The provincial government pursued the construction project in order to secure needed energy supplies. Their pursuit of energy security (which is one of China's overall challenges in maintaining its economic growth) is in direct conflict with official policies to protect the environment.

By the way, SEPA is also establishing a brand-new advisory committee, called the State Environment Counsel Committee and the Science and Technology Committee for the State Environmental Protection Administration. (SCMP 8/21 and Xinhua 8/20)They will be staffed with 86 experts from academia and elsewhere.

Here are also links to stories on the same subject in the International Herald Tribune, 8/21 and 8/17.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

New SEPA environmental controls

SEPA has been making announcements about additional efforts to strengthen pollution controls. One of them is to make pollution control a criterion in the evaluation of how successful officials are, presumably to be used for promotion purposes. (Xinhua 8/14) Another announcement called for the tightening of environmental standards as part of the 2006-2010 5-year plan. (Xinhua 8/18). These are, of course, announcements about intentions and future actions, which may or may not be borne out by actual government actions.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Yao Ming and Shark fin soup

A few days ago, the press conference of Houston Rocket's basketball player Yao Ming speaking out about shark fin soup. (Xinhua 8/2) He basically joined up with Wildaid and said that he would not eat it anymore because it leading to the unsustainable killing of sharks for their fins.

The New York Times is running an article about this and the potential controversy brewing. (NYT 8/13) Since shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine, naturally there are some who disagree. And with any such endorsements, there'll be some controversy. But I am not sure why the NYT thinks it's so unusual. While it is uncommon for folks to speak out publicly and in high profile fashion about controversial issues, most environmental issues are not really that controversial anymore. Environmentalism is just about to become a mainstream cause, with a significant amount of environmental awareness at least among the younger folks, especially university students. I have also seen a number of television advertisements in China about endangered species featuring Jackie Chan, and if I recall correctly, 110 Olympic gold medal hurdler Liu Xiang, speaking out on endangered species trade, including their use in traditional Chinese medicines. Maybe, more people like shark fin soup . . .

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cheating and Academic Dishonesty

Cheating and academic dishonesty have proven to be really difficult issues to deal with in China. A female sophomore student at Shenyang Agricultural Univeristy in Shanghai just won a lawsuit reversing her expulsion for an admitted act of cheating on an English test. (China Daily 8/11) She apparently used her cell phone to get answers from a classmate. What's interesting about this is that the court did find that the cheating occurred but that the punishment was too harsh and not applied in accordance with university procedures.

I have heard of other instances like this before, when students were caught cheating, the university expelled them, and a court then reversed the decision. Of course, in the U.S., expulsion would be an automatic consequences and a court would rarely second-guess such decisions (or these cases would probably not get litigated).

It's ironic in some ways that the courts appear to be more sympathetic to students on such issues than to more serious human rights issues. Or maybe, these cases are won because they are less controversial and don't really raise serious challenges to government power.

Wildlife Auction Scuttled

Tomorrow was supposed to have been the first-ever auction at which the State Forestry Association would have sold permits to hunt various species, some of which are protected under Chinese law. However, after public protests, the auction has been postponed indefintely. (SCMP 8/12, Xinhua 8/12).

The news is interesting in showing some responsiveness to environmental concerns by the public. It'll be interesting to see whether the postponement is really a cancelation or truly just a postponement.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Separate Blog for Job Postings

I have created a separate blog,, to which I will be posting legal positions, internship openings, and other opportunities of interest to law students and lawyers. These matters have been cluttering up this blog, and I will no longer post such matters here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bad Batch of Antibiotics kills at least 9 in Anhui Province

A bad batch of an injectible antibiotic called Xinfu (clindamycin phosphate glucose) appears to have killed 13 people in China. (SCMP 8/10/2006). Inexplicably, the official government toll is 7 in the provinces Hunan, Sichuan, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, and Hubei provinces. (Xinhua 8/10). There have also been severe adverse reactions in more than 80 patients. (Xinhua 8/9). Of course, the government has denied any cover-up. The company responsible for the bad antibiotic, Anhui Huayuan Worldbest Biology Pharmacy Co, has been ordered by the State Food and Drug Administration to recall all of the products, but millions of units are outstanding.

The government's handling of this matter raises questions about how truthful and open about the extent of such emergencies and its own handling of them, similar to the handling of SARS a couple of years back and the cover-up of the Songhua river spill. The extent of such drug safety problems are not new. There have been serious incidents involving fake drugs as well as contaminated foods in the past.

What is particularly interesting, I think, is the parallel to the environmental area. There, the regulatory system has also badly failed the public. Yet, for both, drug safety and pollution control, the central government appears to have made significant statements of concern and sems to take the issue seriously. In fact, officials statements calling for more inspection and enforcement, as well as blaming the problems on "local protectionism" sounds awfully much like the rethoric on environmental matters. (Xinhua 8/9)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Job Posting 8/8: UNFCCC Legal Advisor Position

Please see

The application deadline is September 18, 2006.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Citizen Yang Blog availability

With the help of Lori of our IT Department, I have been revamping my personal website at Vermont Law School ( It is still a work in progress, so some parts of the web have not been changed/updated, yet. However, on one of the web pages, the beginning of each of my Citizen Yang blog entry will be excerpted. Hopefully, this should make the blog accessible to folks in places where blogspot is blocked.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Fall-out from Trans-Pacific Air Pollution and Rabies Campaigns

An AP report last week that discussed the China's trans-Pacific contribution U.S. air pollution made for an angry reaction by a SEPA official. According to EPA estimates, on any given day, 25% to 33% of Los Angeles particulate matter air pollution originates from China. Li Xinmin, director of the Pollution Control Department of SEPA, said that such assertions were "irresponsible." (SCMP 8/4/2006 & Xinhua 8/4).

This little dispute is only the latest fall-out from issues of trans-Pacific air pollution. Last spring US EPA Administrator Steve Johnson, while on a visit to China, said that part of US mercury pollution originated from China. Chinese media took that to mean that the US was blaming China for its mercury pollution problems. Johnson had to do some mighty back-pedalling. The story went pretty much unreported in the US.

Also, in another demonstration of the ferocity of public "campaigns" in China - about 50,000 dogs were slaughtered in Yunnan province (in southern China) after 3 people died of rabies. (NY Times 8/2 and SCMP 8/4) According to the AP, dogs were taken from their owners, even while they were being walked, and beaten to death. After 5 days, only police and military dogs had been spared. In fact, the SCMP reported today also that Jining City in Shandong Province would engage in a similar extermination campaign since 16 people in the city have died of Rabies over the last 8 months. The city has about 500,000 dogs.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Job Posting 8/3: Ford Foundation Program Officer Position in Law & Rights, Beijing Office

For details, see . Deadline is 10/20/2006.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

SEPA Creates New Regional Offices

SEPA announced yesterday that they will open 11 new regional offices (including 6 offices focused on radiation safety). (Link to SEPA (Chinese) announcement, and Xinhua article.) At a minimum, there'll be better communication and information flow between provincial/local events and Beijing. But unless the creation of the regional offices comes with increased staffing, resources, and authority, it's not clear how much of a difference these changes will make in terms of regulatory implementation and enforcement.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Chinese Law Professor Swims in the Arctic

Here's an interesting item from the China Daily: A fifty-year-old law professor from Dalian University of Technology took an almost 1-hour dip in the Arctic. The reason why? Just because he enjoys winter swimming.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Criticising China's Central Government Environment Policy

Today, the SCMP carried an article about a quite remarkable environmental conference sponsored by SEPA (State Environmental Protection Administration). (SCMP 6/19/2006, "Public services sidelined by growth, say scholars") Among the speakers were a number of high level officials, including "National People's Congress vice-chairwoman Gu Xiulian , Sepa viceminister Wang Yuqing , Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference vice-chairman Zhou Tienong and Song Jian , chairman of the All-China Environment Federation, an NGO under Sepa." All of them criticized the weak efforts of the central government's to get environmental problems under control, compared to efforts to promote economic development and foreign investment. Serving out the strongest criticism, however, seemed to be two professors from the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPSL), professor Jiang Ping and professor Wang Canfa. Jiang Ping, according to SCMP, is a former president of CUPSL and Wang Canfa is the director of the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV) (Wang was recently featured prominently on the CBC documentary "China Rises" as an environmental crusader). (Wang has agreed to speak at a VLS conference on China and the Environment next March.)

While criticism of environmental degradation issues is heard all the time, I have seldomly heard it being directed so squarely at the central government. It's quite courageous to speak out like this, but I also hope for the sake of both Jiang and Wang that this will not get them into trouble.

But there is also another issue that this raises - I wonder whether criticism of the central government's environment policies is going to a new level. In my opinion, in the past, the central government has largely received a "pass" in criticism about its environmental policy and law enforcement. Mostly, people (or at least many of the environmental folks I have met) have accepted the argument that China's serious environmental degradation is necessary to advance's its economic development. Alternatively, folks have blamed the local governments for failing to implement central government policies. The article might be an indication of a change.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

Jiang Ping , a former president of the China University of Political Science and Law, said the prolonged debate over the pace and direction of China's reforms had highlighted the government's failure to protect public interest. "The review of [China's economic] reforms in recent years has reminded us that the insufficient supply of public goods has resulted in widespread dissatisfaction among the people and even mass [protests]," he told an environmental forum yesterday.

Professor Jiang said the government, which had been obsessed with investment and economic growth, should shoulder most of the blame for worsening pollution, and increasingly expensive education and health care - the main causes of the soaring number of street protests on the mainland.

"The change in roles [required by administrative reform] means the government must deal with the rising demand for public services rather than placing too much emphasis on how to attract foreign direct investment," he said.

His views were supported by Ding Yuanzhu , a senior researcher from the National Development and Reform Commission, and Wang Canfa , an environmental expert at the China University of Political Science and Law.

Both Dr Ding and Professor Wang lashed out at the authorities' monopoly on policy-making.

Dr Ding, from the commission's Academy of Macroeconomic Research, said the lack of a democratic decision-making mechanism that involved all parties concerned - especially the public - should be addressed in the government-led administrative reform.

Professor Wang added that the government was wrongly using its role to oversee security and social equity to push for faster economic growth. Professor Jiang warned that rampant environmental accidents and disasters, and revelations about the country's ecological degradation had seriously undermined the authorities' credibility.

"While forced evictions are caused by the government's pursuit of development, pollution - which has harmed public health - highlights the authorities' lack of accomplishment and affects its credibility," he said.

More than 300 government officials, business leaders, scholars and NGOs attended the forum organised by the State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa) yesterday.

The forum, which focused on building an environmentally friendly society, heard a range of stark warnings exposing the extent of pollution and harsh criticism of the country's single-minded pursuit of economic growth.

China's Environmental Expenditures for next 5 years

The Central government is planning to spend 1.3 trillion yuan on pollution control measures for the next 5 year plan (2006-2010. (SCMP 2/19/2006.) The announcement was made by Mao Rubai, director of the Environment and Resources Committee of the NPC. The statement was the first time this information has been made public. That comes out to 260 billion yuan per year, about 1.6 percent of GDP. It compares with 1.4 percent of GDP spending on pollution control measures in 2004.

The magnitude of the SEPA budget is designed to make-up for inadequate spending in the last 5-year plan and continued environmental deterioration.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Another river spill

There was another pollution spill, this time of 60 tons of coal tar into the Dasha river. (,,-5890943,00.html) This makes it 76 spills within the last 6 months.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Swim in the Pearl River

On July 12, thousands of people will be swimming across the Pearl River which runs through Guangzhou in Guangdong province. (SCMP 6/12) While the event is supposed to show-case the improved pollution situation of the river, Guangdong environmental officials have advised against it because the river is still too polluted to swimming. The water quality is "rated at Grade 5, two levels down from the Grade 3 which would make it safe for swimming." In fact, the water is so polluted that it is not even suitable for industrial uses. The most shocking thing about the swim is that most of them, according to the SCMP, over 5000 students, teachers, police, and employees of state-owned enterprises, will be forced to participate.

On an unrelated matter, but relevant to issues of regulatory matters protecting the public, it has recently come to light that industrial grade (instead of clinical grade) oxygen has been used for patient care in a Guangxi hospital. (SCMP 6/12, based on a CCTV report) The obvious problem with industrial grade oxygen is that it contains impurities that might be harmful to patients. I suppose these issues would be consistent with the many stories of contaminated food and medicines that are the result of a weak regulatory system that, like environmental laws, should otherwise protect the public.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

State of China's Environment

I have been off-line for the past few weeks for various reasons (exam grading, out-of-town, etc.). Back now.

There have been a some SEPA statements and a "White Paper" by the State Council over the past week. Deputy SEPA chief Zhu Guangyao said that pollution caused more than US$200 billion in environmental harm, constituting about 10% of China's GDP. (Xinhua 6/5/2006) The State Council also issued a paper ("Environmental Proteciton in China (1996-2005)) that summaries the developments over the last 10 years and sets out the priorities for the future. There is an English translation available at

Friday, May 19, 2006

Job Posting 5/19 - Pew Center on Climate Change

Pew is looking for an person to work on their Markets and Business Strategies team. Salary is 35-40K. Application deadline is ASAP (rolling review until position filled). For more info, see their website at

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More money for potable water for rural residents

The central government will spend 4 billion yuan (US$500 million) to provide up 20 million rural residents with potable water. (SCMP 5/7, China Daily 5/6) Apparently, the announcement was made by an official of the ministry of water resources at the same conference where SEPA announced more enforcement efforts.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Job Posting 5/5 - Golden Gate U. Law School - Env. Law & Justice clinic, staff attorney

Golden Gate Law School is looking to hire a staff attorney with at least
5 years experience for the Environmental Law & Justice Clinic. Application deadline is May 30, 2006.

I'm attaching a job description. Information also can be found on the
web at

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Comparative Analysis of Air Pollution Trading in the US and China

I almost forgot to mention that the Environmental Law Reporter recently (last month) published an article by Heather Jarvis and Wei Xu on a comparative analysis of air pollution trading in the US and China. Heather was one of my students at VLS and Wei Xu is a student of my colleague Professor Li Zhiping at Sun Yat-sen University law school. The article may be found on-line at:

Pollution mass protests up almost 30%; more enforcement efforts

SEPA head Zhou Shengxian mentioned recently that there were over 50,000 disputes and protests about pollution last year and that they were increasing at a rate of almost 30% per year. (China Daily 5/4/06). Vice minister Pan Yue also said, as on previous occasions, that such issues are affecting social stability.

I cannot tell what the 50,000 number really means. The reporting is sufficiently ambiguous that it could be read as including both complaints by one person and complaints and dissatisfaction by hundreds or entire communities. It could also include letters about pollution violations and law suits. (This is probably the same problem that one encounters in evaluating the number of social unrest items that are reported by the government.) If complaints by single individuals are all included in the number, then the number does not look especially big or unusual, compared to the size of China and in comparison to the US. On the other hand, the fact that the number of such complaints is rising so quickly, at almost 30% per year, is probably of greater concern.

The comments were made at conference with local environment officials, where another SEPA vice minister (Zhang Lijun) openly referred to corruption as a cause of compliance problems and enforcement failures. As a result 3 new "environment supervision" centers, designed to strengthen enforcement, will be created in the northwest, northeast, and southwest regions of the country. These are in addition to such centers in east and south China. (Xinhua 5/4/06)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Job Posting 5/3 - Columbia Slough Watershed Executive Director

The Columbia Slough Watershed Council is actively seeking an Executive Director to manage and direct the operations and functions of the Council. It is the intent of the Council to recruit and hire an Executive Director that will begin employment on or about July 1, 2006. Application deadline is 5/22.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Job Posting 5/2 - NRDC New York/Urban Program Attorney/Advocate

Here's a job posting from a former student of mine at NRDC. If any current or former students are interested in this opening, please contact me and I will provide a direct contact at NRDC New York.

Urban Program Attorney/Advocate

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
New York Office

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a non-profit national environmental advocacy organization with more than 1.2 million members and online activists. We have offices in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Los Angeles. Our staff of 275 includes attorneys, scientists, policy analysts and educators working to protect the environment and public health through advocacy and education.

Position Summary:
NRDC is seeking an Attorney or Policy Advocate to work full time in its New York City office. The successful candidate will work in NRDC's Urban Program, and in cross-programmatic initiatives, and will focus on major environmental and health issues affecting the New York region. The overall goal of our New York work is to advance long-term solutions to the region's most significant environmental health and natural resource problems and to create models of environmental policy that can be applied in other jurisdictions throughout the United States. Among initial areas of concentration will be solid waste and clean air, although it is likely that the programmatic focus will evolve over time, consistent with NRDC's broad institutional objectives for environmental progress.

The Attorney/Advocate's job responsibilities will include public policy advocacy, coalition-building, participation as lawyer or scientist in legal and administrative proceedings, media work and fundraising. In addition, the Attorney/Advocate may assist in managing NRDC's cross-programmatic New York Regional Initiative. The ideal candidate will have the personal and professional skills to meet the Initiative's objectives of enhancing communication, coordination and priority-setting among more than a dozen NRDC"s staff who work on various issues affecting the New York region.

Skills and Knowledge Requirements:
• Five to fifteen years of experience required
• Exceptional advocacy skills
• Persuasive written and oral advocacy abilities are vital, as is the ability to build coalitions broader than the traditional environmental community, and to address environmental problem-solving in new ways.
• Demonstrated experience in strategic thinking and in planning and implementing successful advocacy campaigns.
• Litigation and political experience is a plus
• A broad understanding of regional environmental issues and of national, state and local environmental and administrative laws is a plus
• Sharing NRDC's commitment to environmental justice

We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, and a pleasant working environment and are committed to workplace diversity.

How to Apply:
Applicants should send cover letter including salary requirements, resume and writing sample to hr@nrdc .org by June 1, 2006. No phone calls or faxes. Please reference where you saw this posting. NRDC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

For further information about NRDC, please visit http://www.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Robert Matsui Writing Competition on Asian Pacific American Issues

The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Washington DC Educational Fund sponsors the Robert Matsui Writing Competition on issues of importance to the Asian Pacific American community. Entries are due July 1, 2006. The winning entry's prize is $1500. For more information and an application, see

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Symposium on China and the Environment

The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law has decided to make China and the Environment the topic of its 2007 annual symposium. While many details remain to be decided, the symposium will take place in March 2007.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

toxic discharges into agricultural areas

The Standing Committee of the National People Congress just passed a law prohibiting "discharges of sewage, waste gas, solid waste or other poisonous substances to the agricultural product production areas." (SCMP 4/30). It is a response to widespread concerns about contamination of agricultural produce. It will become effective Nov. 1.

There was also another report of water pollution that is expected to affected the water supply of 40,000 people in Wuchuan City, Guangdong province. (China Daily 4/29) The pollution is affecting the water in the Sanchajiang river, but the news report does not make clear the source of the pollution or its composition.

Job Posting 4/29 - Climate Change Secretariat Senior Legal Advisor

The UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany has an opening for a senior legal advisor position. Deadline for applications is May 17, 2006. Starting date is asap.
For more info, see

Friday, April 28, 2006

How Beijing will meet air quality standards for the Olympics

The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau may try to go the last-resort avenue to reduce air pollution for the Olympics. On high pollution days and depending on the weather, some cars would be banned from operation. (SCMP 4/27). This is, of course, all being planned in conjunction with traditional environmental regulatory measures, such as emissions controls. Cars kept off the road would be higher emission vehicles, most likely older vehicles.

Also, pollution levels in the Three Gorges reservoir, created by the Three Gorges Dam, is likely to become a significant public health and environmental problem. While pollution control have been stepped up, Professor Shu at a research institute of a PLA's Medical Hospital has said that only 20% of polluted water inflows are treatd. Shu just received an environmental protection award from the central government on Three Gorges reservoir water quality issues. (SCMP 4/27).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Job Posting 4/24 - US EPA Opening in Methane to Markets Partnership

here's job listing that has languished in my e-mail.

April 14, 2006

Program Manager and Environmental Protection Specialist Position
Openings –Methane to Markets Partnership and Natural Gas STAR Program,

This notice is to announce the upcoming availability of two exciting
federal positions to work in the challenging world of international
climate change and energy programs. The positions are located in the
Office of Atmospheric Program’s Climate Change Division (CCD), Non-CO2
Programs Branch (NCPB). NCPB is responsible for the implementation of
voluntary programs that promote profitable opportunities for reducing
emissions of methane and high-global warming potential gases. The branch
is also responsible for the Methane to Markets Partnership (M2M).
Launched in November 2004, M2M will reduce global methane emissions to
enhance economic growth, promote energy security, improve the
environment, and reduce GHG emissions. Through multilateral,
public-private sector cooperation, the Partnership promotes
cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use projects at
agricultural operations (manure management), coal mines, landfills, and
oil and gas systems.

EPA seeks to fill two positions to support the Methane to Markets
Partnership and the Natural Gas STAR Program. The salary range for
these positions is GS-11 to GS-13 ($54,272 - $100,554), dependent upon
qualifications. If interested, please e-mail a cover letter and resume
to the following contact:

Marian Smoak
USEPA (6207J)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460


This invitation for resumes is an opportunity for you to introduce
yourself to us. It is not an official job application process. All job
openings will be announced in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
EZ-hire website ( EPA is an Equal
Opportunity Employer. Selection for these positions will be based
solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender,
national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation,
marital or family status, or any other non-merit factors. U.S.
citizenship is required.

Environmental Protection Specialist, Methane to Markets Partnership

EPA is seeking a highly motivated individual to support the Methane to
Markets Partnership. EPA is the lead implementing agency for the US and
is serving as the M2M Secretariat. The Secretariat is responsible for
facilitating communication among members, planning M2M committee
meetings, and developing outreach and communication materials for the
Partnership. This position requires an ability to manage a wide range
of programmatic issues and operate in a fast paced and dynamic
environment. Work undertaken will include managing and coordinating
communications and activities between US government agencies and
international partner countries, evaluating program effectiveness and
identifying strategic opportunities for program improvement, identifying
and promoting existing and emerging project financing mechanisms,
preparing policy and research analyses, and interacting and fostering
relationships with the private sector, non-government organizations,
foreign governments, and other federal agencies to implement the goals
of M2M.

The ideal candidate will have a master’s degree in environmental
science, public policy, or a related discipline and possess strong
analytical, marketing, communication, international relations, and
presentation skills. Experience in project finance is preferred, but not
required. The candidate must also have a strong commitment to
environmental protection, excellent writing skills, a high energy level,
and some facilitation and outreach experience. The candidate will be
required to operate in an interactive team-based environment with each
member assuming responsibility for a diverse set of activities and
responsibilities. The job will require domestic and international
Program Manager, Natural GasSTAR Program

EPA is seeking a program manager for the Natural GasSTAR Program.
Natural GasSTAR is a voluntary public-private partnership designed to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production,
transmission, distribution, and processing using cost-effective
management practices and technologies. The program works directly with
representatives of the oil and natural gas industry, including
companies, major industry trade associations, governments, and research
organizations. Internationally, the Natural Gas STAR Program is
responsible for implementing EPA’s Methane to Markets Partnership oil
and gas related activities.

This position requires a diverse set of skills including, an ability to
comprehend technologies and technical issues, conduct successful
face-to-face negotiations and interactions with industry, perform
technical and financial analysis, promote new projects, and manage a
wide range of programmatic activities. Work undertaken will involve
strategic program planning, marketing directly to the industry,
performing cost-benefit analyses of new emission reduction technologies
and practices, designing and developing technical and outreach materials
to forward the goals of the Program and the Methane to Markets
Partnership, and managing key program activities.

The ideal candidate will have a masters degree in environmental science,
public policy, or a related discipline, and strong analytical,
marketing, communication, international relations, and presentation
skills. The individual must also have the ability to rapidly learn
technical information and communicate it to the relevant stakeholders.
A petroleum background and international experience is preferred but not
required. The ideal candidate will also have a strong commitment to
environmental protection, excellent writing skills, a high energy level,
strong quantitative skills, project management experience, and an
ability to work well with others. The program operates in an
interactive team-based environment with each member assuming
responsibility for a diverse set of activities and responsibilities.
Domestic and international travel is required.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

local governments lose 30-50% of administrative law suits

Local governments lose an astonishing 30-50% of law suits in China, according a magazine article described in SCMP (SCMP 4/23, "Governments on wrong side of law"). The article suggests that this shows that local government are acting contrary to the law. These law suits are being brought under the China's 1989 Administrative Procedure law. Of these administrative law suits, 30-40% consist of cases concerning land seizures, housing relocations, social security and state-owned-enterprise reform (in essence, folks getting laid off from their state company jobs).

The assertion that local governments oftentimes act contrary to the law and are sued as a result seems pretty unremarkable. However, I am astonished that the plaintiffs appear to win so often. From all the things I have heard, the plaintiffs most of the time come out on the losing end. My sense was that judges would not ordinarily rule against local government officials in such matters. Even if judges in large metropolitan areas like Beijing and Shanghai may be more professional, and so such a high loss rate seems likely in such regions, that is less the case in the rural areas and away from the coast.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Enforcement of law in China - IPR and Environment

The recent announcement of greater law enforcement efforts in the IPR sector is an interesting contrast to what has been going on with respect to environmental matters. In connection with President Hu Jintao's visit to the US, there have been pronouncements that China will be cracking down on violators of IPR, including software pirating. The US Commerce Department seems to estimate that up to 70% of all Chinese software is pirated. In a conversation that I had with a Microsoft manager in Beijing a few months ago, he estimated that only 1 of every 10 copies of Windows used on Chinese computers was actually a legitimate version.

All of this has led to great efforts on the part of the US to prod China to step up its IPR enforcement efforts. While the rhetoric is good, what will actually occur remains to be seen. But within the last year, there have been some high profile enforcement actions, including law suits about knock-off goods against the Beijing silk market and another place that is very popular with foreigners and expats.

I have been wondering whether more dialogue (and prodding) by US officials with Chinese officials could yield a greater commmitment with respect to environmental enforcement. But the first question one would have to ask is why US officials would really care? I am quite certain that EPA and the US government generally "care" about environmental issues in China. But do they care enough to expend some diplomatic capital to raise such issues in high-level ministerial meetings? I don't know what EPA Administrator Steve Johnson discussed with the SEPA director during his recent visit. But was such a meeting maybe a chance to discuss environmental enforcement and law implementation issues as has occurred with respect to IPR in other US/China ministerial meetings?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wen on environmental pollution

Here's one of the recent high-profile exhortations about the need to protect the environment. Premier Wen basically blamed local officials for not paying enough attention to environmental protection and focusing too much on economic development. (SCMP 4/19.)

But there was no effort to take responsibility for the incentive structure that drives local officials to put economic growth over environmental protection and also the lack of an adequate regulatory infra-structure at the national and sub-national level that is a basic prerequisite for an effective environmental protection scheme. As it is well known, the SEPA is way too small to act as the equivalent of the US EPA, especially given the size of China. Sigh . . .

Monday, April 17, 2006

Pesticide Residues in Vegetables

Here's an unsettling item. In Hong Kong, Greenpeace found pesticide residues on vegetables sold at major supermarkets chains that significantly exceeded WHO standards, including some banned pesticides. (SMCP 4/18). In 30% of samples tested, residues of cypermethrin and Chlorpyrifos were found at levels of 1.2 to 12 times above WHO standards that Hong Kong follows. Some also contained banned pesticides DDT, lindane, delta-HCH and methamidophos. Most of the vegetables sold at the supermarket chains came from mainland China farms. Greenpeace's press release on this can be found at:

What's particularly unsettling to me is that it confirms many of the concerns I had about pesticide contaminated produce sold in Chinese markets while in Beijing last fall. If the controls in Hong Kong are insufficient to catch such problems, it is likely to be worse in the markets in mainland China. These findings also confirm how serious the problem of food safety is in China.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Environmental Goals under 10th 5-year plan

Eight of 20 environmental goals set under the 2000-2005 5-year plan were not met, according to SEPA. (China Daily 4/13) Most notable was a 27% increase in sulfur dioxide emissions, which were slated to be reduced 10% from 2000 levels. The increase has been ascribed to a hot economy which led to much higher energy, especially coal consumption.

There has also been a recent flap in the Chinese media about comments ascribed to EPA Administrator Steve Johnson that China is responsible for some mercury deposition in the US because of air emissions that travel across the Pacific. Johnson met with SEPA head Zhou Shengxian on April 10 in Beijing. The EPA Administrator made a special point of pointing out that he had been quoted out of context and that the US alone emits about 48 tons of mercuy into the air. (China Daily 4/14)

In itself, the assertion seems unremarkable and reasonable - that China's significant air emissions might contribute to pollution in the US. And even if the US itself contributes to such emissions, that just means that air pollution is as much a national as well as a transboundary issue. (And there is little question that the US is a major environmental polluter.) But I suppose the more sensitive relations between the US and China require more care in how issues about fault and responsibility are framed. It'll be interesting to see what concrete progress will be made with bilateral cooperation betweeen the US and China.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Worst Air Pollution in Beijing So Far This Year

Air pollution in Beijing was apparently so bad on Sunday that residents were told not to open their windows. (SCMP 4/11) It's the result of the sand storms that come in every year in the spring from the deserts of Inner Mongolia province and Mongolia. The dust combines with traditional air pollutants to create the hazardous conditions. Nevertheless, the Beijing International Marathon was held that same day.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Summer Internship Posting 4/10 - EPA Region 1

Here's a link for PAID summer internships with EPA Region 1:


In an effort to recruit a diverse, highly-qualified summer intern
candidate pool, please pass along this link to students who you feel
would be an asset to EPA.

If you have trouble with the link, please follow the directions below:

Go to Careers Student Opportunities Student Summer
Employment Opportunities Opportunities in EPA Regional Offices
Region 1

Thanks for your help,

Jason Grazick
Student Coordinator

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Job Posting 4/6 - New York Lawyers for the Public Interest - EJ Staff Attorney

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) is seeking applications for a Staff Attorney to work on issues of Environmental Justice and Community Development (EJ). Two to five years of relevant experience is required. Environmental and/or land use, civil rights experience is strongly preferred.

Applicants must have top litigation skills and sensitivity to issues of discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity. Excellent writing, analytic and public speaking skills are essential, as is the ability to work as part of a team in a fast-paced environment. Spanish or other second language is a strong plus.

Please send your application by e-mail to or by post to:

Amanda Matteis
Attn: EJ Staff Attorney Position
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Inc.
151 West 30th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Applications must include a cover letter, a resume, a brief writing sample, and three references (including daytime telephone numbers). Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and should be submitted as soon as possible before the May 8, 2006 application deadline. The position will remain open until filled.

For more info, see

Job Posting 4/6 - Univ. of Washington Law School Berman Env. Law Clinic - Graduate Fellow/Staff attorney position

U.Washington law school just announced this open position in their env. law clinic. Application deadline is May 5 (or until filled). It's a 1-2 year fellowship, starting Aug/Sept 06.

Here's most relevant part of job ad (the entire job description was too long to post here - to get the whole thing, there's a contact name at bottom; or my students can check with me):

QUALIFICATIONS Qualifications for the position include: • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law; • Prior work experience and/or course work in environmental law; • Strong legal writing and communication skills;• The ability to work well with a wide range of people, including students, clients, opposing counsel and members of the University community; Graduate Fellows must be members of the Washington Bar, or take steps to apply for membership (through examination or reciprocity) upon being accepted for the position. In addition, a Graduate Fellow may not hold appointment for more than 6 years after receipt of their terminal degree unless an exception has been approved.

HOW TO APPLYApplicants should submit the following: • Resume • Law school transcript (unofficial accepted) • Two letters of recommendation from law school teachers, attorneys or judges who are familiar with the candidate’s work and ability • A recent writing sample (written and edited by the applicant) • A brief statement (no longer than one to two single spaced pages) explaining the applicant’s interest in the position. Application materials should be sent to: Mr. Harold Daniels Attn: BELC Fellowship Program Administrator, Clinical Law ProgramUniversity of Washington School of Law William H. Gates Hall, Suite 265 P.O. Box 85110 Seattle, WA 98145-1110 No phone calls, emails or faxes please.
Page 5
After review of application materials, a small number of applicants will be selected for an interview at our office in Seattle. The Berman ELC cannot pay applicants’ travel expenses, but will try to arrange interviews at a mutually convenient time. Interviews via video-conference may also be possible. Applications will be accepted until at least May 5, 2006, and the position will remain available until filled.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. The University of Washington is an Affirmative Action/ Equal OpportunityEmployer. Selection for this position will be based solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status or other differences. The University of Washington encourages people of color to apply.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Land takings protests

I mentioned some time ago that many of the issues causing social unrest in China are pollution and land takings related. One more article about village protests, of the many articles that appear in the Chinese news media all the time, focuses on peasants being kicked off land near Tianjin, a large port city close to Beijing. (SCMP 4/4/06). Villagers have been displaced in order to make room for a 177 km express way connecting Beijing with Tianjin. Like in many other instances, they are protesting corruption by local officials that has resulted in the peasants being cheated out of the compensation that the government has paid for the land taking. By some Chinese estimates (Zhou Tianyong of the Central Party School), peasants only get 10% of the value of the land as compensation; the rest is pocketed primarily by corrupt officials. According to the same estimates, the total value of the land that has been taken from peasants with China's modernization amounts to somewhere around 5 trillion RMB.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Job Posting 4/3 - Pew Center on Global Climate Change - International Fellow Position

This is a plum job posting that came across my e-mail last week. The Pew Climate Change Center is a DC-based think tank headed by Eileen Claussen, former assistant secretary of State for Oceans and Environment. The position starts in May/June 06 and involves international work on climate change. The deadline is April 21, 2006. Requirements include Bachelor’s or Master’s in environmental policy, international relations, or related field. For more info, see this link:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Job Posting 4/2 - Columbia University/Earth Institute - Global Roundtable on Climate Change - Coordinator position

Didn't see an application deadline on this - got this on my e-mail on March 16 (so a little dated).


The Global Roundtable on Climate Change is hiring a Program Coordinator. The
Global Roundtable on Climate Change is the Earth Institute¹s effort to
assist global consensus and catalyze effective cross-sectoral action on
climate change. The Roundtable brings together high level stakeholders from
business, civil society and government to discuss responses to climate
change and attempt to reach consensus on some basic elements of an
international strategy to mitigate and adapt to climate change. See for more information.

The Program Coordinator conducts background research on climate related business and policy developments, helps to draft and edit documents and communications, co-authoring conference papers and other publications, assists with the bi-monthly newsletter, handles communication with participant companies, keeps a database of participants, scheduling meetings, supports all aspects of the operation of GROCC, and supervises two student work study employees.

This is a great opportunity for people interested in climate change, environmental policy issues, business and the environment. It is also a good networking opportunity, with lots of interaction with corporate environmental representatives and ngo¹s working on the issue.

This is a Columbia University grade 10 position, with salary in the 40s and full benefits.

Resumes and cover letters should be submitted to:

Kate Brash
Program Manager
Global Roundtable on Climate Change
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
tel. 212-854-6067
fax: 212-854-6309

Job Posting 4/2 - United Nations Development Program Vacancies re climate change adaptation in Panama & Thailand

For more info, see

Vacancy Announcements

Climate Change: Vulnerability and Adaptation

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) seeks three highly qualified individuals to develop and implement projects in Climate Change Adaptation, with a focus in capacity development. We are seeking highly motivated candidates with demonstrated strategic and leadership skills, programming experience, and preferably with a background in climate science, vulnerability and adaptation, and development economics.

§ Regional Technical Advisor for Asia and the Pacific

(Deadline for submissions: 21 April 2006)

(based in Bangkok, Thailand)

§ Regional Technical Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean

(Deadline for submissions: 12 May 2006)

(based in Panama City, Panama)

Level: ICS12 (L-5)

Date of Entry: Immediate

Job Posting 4/2 - Ecofys UK Vacancies

Ecofys has just released the following vacancies in their London office:

- Consultant Energy and Climate Strategies

- Senior Consultant Energy and Climate Strategies

- Consultant Energy in the Built Environment

- Project Developer Onshore Wind and Biomass Projects

Further details on the vacancies and where to direct your questions and applications can be obtained from the website:

Saturday, April 01, 2006

3 more nuclear power plants in Guangdong province

Guangdong province will begin construction of 3 new nuclear power plants this year in order to meet energy shortfalls in the province. (SCMP April 1, 2006.) This is in addition to two existing nuclear power plants. Guangdong province has been suffering from chronic energy shortfalls because of the booming industrial economy. In the past it has imported energy from other provinces. These power plants are supposed to solve some of these problems. When the additional 3 power plants are on line, they are expected to contribute 20% of the province's electric power.