Environmental protection has become a priority for government policy makers in every major country. But problems are complex, and policy solutions require not only political commitment but also good analysis and design. This panel discussion will explore key issues in environmental risk governance in China and the USA, including strategies, tradeoffs, comparisons, and opportunities for mutual learning.
Junjie Zhang, DKU
Environmental Risk Management in China (30 min)
Jun Bi, Nanjing University
[Maybe discuss the 2015 report on “Environmental Risk Management” for the CCICED, and the current status of its recommendations?]
Risk-risk Tradeoffs, Precaution and Learning in US Environmental Policy (30 min)
Jonathan Wiener, Duke University
We live in a multi-risk world, with numerous risks to health, safety, environment and security. But many well-intended regulatory policies address one target risk at a time. This yields at least three key implications. First, in an interconnected world, each effort to address one risk may also affect other risks, leading to risk-risk tradeoffs – unintended ancillary impacts (potentially ancillary harms or ancillary benefits). These phenomena are ubiquitous, so societies need better policy analysis to confront and weigh risk tradeoffs, and better regulatory policy designs to overcome risk tradeoffs by reducing multiple risks in concert. Second, faced with multiple risks, policy makers have to select some priorities. Although the conventional stereotype is that European regulation is “more precautionary” than US regulation, our review of evidence on actual policies indicates that the reality is selective and diverse application of precaution on both sides of the Atlantic. Third, the future of environmental risk regulation is adaptive learning: from variation across jurisdictions, and from evidence of performance outcomes over time.
Environmental Risk Regulations in China and the United States: A Comparative Study (30 min)
Jianhua XU, Peking University
The relative stringency of environmental risk regulations between countries has great implications on foreign investment and international trade. The entrenched idea is that developed countries have more stringent environmental risk regulations than developing countries. An evidential reasoning approach was used to compare regulatory stringency of a broad range of environmental risks between China and the United States. The result reinforces the findings in other settings that the relative stringency of environmental risk regulation between economic bodies is not a categorical national style of regulation, but rather a diversity of regulatory stringency among risks and sectors.
Discussion and Q&A (30 min)