Huxley Speaker Series 12/7/17: Chris James: After Paris Withdrawal By US, Will China Lead?

Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017 - 1:56pm

Date: Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 5:00pm

Location: AW-204

Chris James, Regulatory Assistance Project

After Paris Withdrawal by US, Will China Lead?
What Does This Mean for Actions by US States and Other Subnational Jurisdictions?


With the United States having announced its intent to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, what does this mean for China and its role to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? And, what might this portend for actions by cities and states in the US, which have made serious commitments to green energy and electric vehicles? This seminar will explore the energy and environmental policy and political drivers in play today that influence the breadth and depth of China’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions and improve its air quality. China can be an enigma; it is important to understand the cultural context for their actions, and what this means for overall global efforts to meet the Paris accord. Mr. James has been working with Chinese government officials for the past decade, and will present on the ground perspectives and evidence that is not often, or accurately, reported by Western media.


Christopher A. James is a Principal at the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) where he advises regulators, advocates, and businesses on how to reduce greenhouse gas, criteria, and toxic pollutants to meet existing and new air standards, improve water quality, and protect consumers. His projects span the areas of air quality, energy efficiency, distributed resources, demand response, and linking energy and the environment in air quality and energy planning processes. Recent projects include working with national- and provincial-level air agencies in China to develop plans to implement the State Council requirements to improve ambient air quality 25 percent by 2017, working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state air regulators to develop strategies to reduce greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions from the power sector, and working with the City of Krakow and the Malapolska Region in Poland to develop an air quality plan that will meet European pollution standards.

Mr. James has 30 years of experience working in air quality, covering nearly every facet of this topic, from developing ambient monitoring networks, emissions inventories, and control measures, to implementing and enforcing such measures. He champions multi-pollutant air quality planning and qualifying energy efficiency as both a reliability resource and an air quality control measure.

Prior to joining RAP, Mr. James was director of air planning and manager of climate change and energy programs for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where he served as staff lead for the state’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Mr. James was also the DEP representative to the Connecticut Energy Conservation Management Board, which provided advice and oversight for utility energy efficiency programs.

Mr. James also worked in the Seattle regional office of the EPA, where he received two “gold medals” for his work to enforce air quality regulations. At one point, he had one-third of all such cases in the United States. Mr. James also worked in the private sector for Synapse Energy Economics and for consultants to the utility and biomass energy industries.

He holds a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a master’s in environmental studies from Brown University, where his thesis focused on mercury emissions from biomedical waste incinerators.

This talk is co-sponsored by WWU's Institute for Energy Studies. The Regulatory Assistance Project is an independent, non-partisan, non-governmental organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to a clean, reliable, and efficient energy future.


The Huxley Speaker Series is hosted by Huxley College of the Environment, at Western Washington University.

The Series is free and open to the public. Presentations are held each Thursday at 4:00 in the Academic Center West (AW-204) on the WWU campus in Bellingham, WA.

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