Alyssa Gilbert (Director of Policy and Translation at Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment), Jeff Swartz (Director, Climate Policy & Carbon Markets at South Pole), Sam Gaell (Executive Director at chinadialogue) and Yijing Li (Lecturer in Urban Informatics at King’s College London)

Room BH (SE) 2.10, King’s College London (Bush House, Southeast Wing), Strand, London, WC2R 2LS

Co-hosted by Young China Watchers and Lau China Institute

Despite being the largest contributor to global carbon emissions, China has taken a remarkable and effective stance on curbing climate change at home and abroad but can China solve the global climate crisis?

In the past decades, China has pivoted from economic growth at all costs to prioritising the building of an ecological civilisation that builds greener, sustainable and circular growth. Far-reaching measures and transformative innovations in renewable energy infrastructure, electric vehicle adoption, green finance systems and more recently, large scale recycling reforms suggest China is on track to curb domestic climate change.

Amidst the undoing of the United States as a global climate leader, China has jumped onto the world stage to carry the torch of the Paris Agreement and set a guiding path for other industrialised and developing countries to transition to more green economies. Whilst China’s global climate leadership harbours positive contributions to the sustainability and security of the planet, other Chinese foreign policy initiatives such as large-scale foreign coal investments under BRI contradict China’s ecological ambitions and suggest there are limitations to the reach of China’s green finger.

Join Young China Watchers and Lau China Institute as we talk to leading experts at the intersection of China and the climate to understand how and why China is leading the climate change conversation, whether or not their targets will be met and if there’s an opportunity for China to do more to solve one of the biggest global crises we face today.


Alyssa Gilbert,
Director of Policy and Translation, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment

Alyssa Gilbert is the Director of Policy and Translation at the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College London where she connects relevant research across the university with policy-makers and businesses. Prior to joining the university, she worked at the specialist energy and climate consultancy Ecofys for over eleven years researching a range of topics including Emissions Trading policy and market-based mechanisms, broader carbon pricing developments, Forestry and REDD+, adaptation to climate change and climate finance. She has worked with government clients at the international level, in the UK and for other national governments. She is also a member of NERC’s Advisory network. Alyssa has also worked a researcher for the Deputy Mayor of London and as a journalist on Environmental Policy in Brussels. Alyssa has a degree in Natural Sciences (and speaks very basic Chinese).

Jeff Swartz
Director, Climate Policy & Carbon Markets, South Pole

Jeff directs South Pole’s overall strategy and services on carbon markets, leveraging his over 10 years of experience in international carbon markets and climate negotiations. He leads South Pole’s advisory practice on carbon pricing and climate policy which consists of more than 20 experts. He leads work for some of South Pole’s most strategic clients including energy firms, international financial institutions, airlines and government agencies. Prior to joining South Pole, Jeff was the Managing Director at the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA). He represented IETA and its +140 members on all aspects of international climate change negotiations with a special emphasis on carbon pricing and its role in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Additionally, he set up IETA’s ‘Business Partnership for Market Readiness’, which is shaping the next generation of carbon markets. Jeff also spent five years in Beijing working on the UN CDM for both the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation and Evolution Markets. Prior to this, he started his career in China with the U.S. State Department at the U.S Consulate in Guangzhou. Jeff holds an M.A. in International Environmental Policy from Middlebury – the Monterey Institute of International Studies, as well as a B.A. in Chinese and a B.A. in International Relations – both from the University of the Pacific. He is fluent in Mandarin and French.

Sam Gaell
Executive Director, chinadialogue

Dr Sam Geall is Executive Director of chinadialogue, Associate Fellow at Chatham House and Associate Faculty at the University of Sussex. He has a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester, and edited China and the Environment: The Green Revolution, published by Zed Books in 2013. He is also Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS; Fellow of the RSA (FRSA); and Trustee of the EU-China NGO Twinning Exchange. His current research focuses on climate and environmental politics in China, and China’s overseas impact through the Belt and Road Initiative, particularly in the Mekong region.

Yijing Li
Lecturer in Urban Informatics, King’s College London

Yijing joined King’s College London in 2018 as a lecturer in CUSP London. Before this, she was a teaching fellow in CIM, University of Warwick from 2017 to 2018; and a lecturer in China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP) from 2014 to 2017. She holds a PhD degree in Geography of Crime from University of Cambridge, and a MSc degree in Urban Ecology from Peking University, China. Yijing’s expertise lies in spatial data analysis visualisation and data-driven policy making influence, with a research focus on climate change and the geography of crime. Yijing’s research on climate change includes carbon-footprint resilience evaluation for Belt and Road Countries, vegetation cover change during rapid urbanisation in China, water-footprint vulnerability evaluation for BRI countries, carbon-dioxide emission comparison among global cities and China’s actions on adaptation to climate change. Previously, Yijing held the role of Program Leader for a series of executive training programs entitled ‘Leadership Capability on Addressing Climate Change, Promoting Green Low Carbon Development’, which was organised by China National Development and Reform Bureau. The program brought together all policy makers on climate change and carbon reduction in China at city level and enrolled more than 200 national and local policy makers on climate change.

Venue Details for King’s College, Strand, London

Address: WC2R 2LS.
Room BH (SE) 2.10 is accessible via the Southeast Wing at Bush House.

London – YCW / LCI: Climate Change: What has China done? (11 Feb, Tues)
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