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)

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.