Seminar on Climate Change Governance and Judicial Capacity Building in Climate Litigation

On March 24, 2023, ELI hosted a webinar on climate change governance for judges from the southwest of China. The webinar compared climate change legislative approaches in the U.S. and China as well as litigation in each country. Experts included Scott Fulton, President Emeritus of ELI, Bie Tao, Director of the Department of Regulations and Standards of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, LeRoy Paddock, Distinguished Professorial Lecturer in Environmental Law, The George Washington University Law School, Michael Gerrard, Director, Sabin Climate Change Law Center, Columbia University, : Sun Qian, Senior judge of Supreme People’s Court, Huang Cheng, Deputy Chief Judge of the Environmental Resources Division of Chongqing Higher People's Court, and Wang Kefeng, Beijing Zhixing Law Research Center.

Natural Resource Liability Litigation in the United States

On September 1, 2021, ELI hosted a webinar examining natural resource damage (NRD) assessment. The webinar discussed the relevant US legal framework, the process for determining injuries and developing restoration, and the process of valuing claims for damages. Case examples were considered, and cross-comparisons drawn between the legal systems of US and China for NRD assessment. The webinar featured the following experts as panelists: William Brighton, Attorney at the US Department of Justice, Environmental Enforcement Section; Greg Baker, Environmental Scientist at NOAA, Assessment and Restoration Division; Carol Jones, ELI Visiting Scholar; and Yu Fang, Senior Researcher at the Center for Environmental Risk and Damage Assessment, Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning.

Third CIBDEG Roundtable

On September 5, 2019, the China International Business Dialogue on Environmental Governance (CIBDEG) held its third roundtable meeting in Beijing, China. Representatives from 12 multinational corporations including Apple, Boeing, and Ford Motors participated in a productive discussion with officials from China’s National People’s Congress, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP). Participants convened to share knowledge and deepen their understanding of issues in environmental enforcement and compliance. Topics of discussion ranged from environmental public interest litigation, environmental criminal law, and the friction between national laws and provincial practices. This event was led by ELI, Latham & Watkins LLP, and China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF).  

Global Environmental Governance and Cooperation between China and the U.S.

On August 28, 2019, ELI hosted a workshop sponsored by the Professional Association for China’s Environment (PACE) to discuss how to promote cooperation between China and the U.S. to solve global environmental governance issues. Over 35 experts attended the event, including representatives from the U.S government, intergovernmental groups such as the World Bank, nonprofit organizations such as the World Resources Institute, and universities including Johns Hopkins and Renmin University of China. Practitioners from the U.S. and China shared experiences and challenges in U.S.-China cooperation and discussed opportunities posed by current developments in China, the U.S., and the field of global environmental governance. Scott Fulton, ELI President, and John Pendergrass, ELI Vice President for Programs and Publications, attended the workshop.

Development of Environmental Law and Enforcement in China

On July 29, 2019, ELI and the Woodrow Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum hosted Matt Leopold, EPA General Counsel, Jeffrey Clark, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) at the DOJ, and Jonathan Brightbill, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the DOJ to discuss their recent visit to China and meetings with their Chinese counterparts. The panel, which took place at ELI, compared their recent experiences and discussed Chinese environmental law developments, new approaches to enforcement, and the effects of Chinese environmental laws on U.S. companies.

Second CIBDEG Roundtable

At the China International Business Dialogue on Environmental Governance (CIBDEG) roundtable meeting in mid-January 2019, representatives from 15 leading multinational corporations from sectors including chemical manufacturing, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and consumer products participated in productive discussion with representatives from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), provincial enforcement officials, and compliance experts from major Chinese energy companies. The theme of this roundtable was sharing best practices in environmental enforcement and compliance. Topics of discussion ranged from industrial park shutdowns and redline zones, pollution discharge permitting, and opportunities for improved communication and cooperation between multinationals and regulators. ELI, Latham & Watkins LLP, and leading Chinese think-tank Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy (PRCEE) organized this roundtable.

NGO Environmental Public Interest Litigation Workshop at Renmin University

From October 2018 through January 2019, Renmin University Law School in Beijing hosted three workshops on environmental public interest litigation. ELI and its Chinese partner China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF) co-organized these workshops. In total, approximately 360 NGO workers, judges, prosecutors, and public interest lawyers attended these workshops. Leslie Carothers, former ELI President, and John Pendergrass, ELI Vice President for Programs and Publications, presented at these workshops alongside Chinese experts from China’s MEE, Supreme People’s Court (SPC), Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) and academia. These workshops were generously supported by the Hewlett Foundation and Tilia Fund.

MEE Delegation Visits ELI: NIMBY and Environmental Justice

On November 14, 2018, a delegation from MEE visited ELI to learn and share information about “NIMBY” and control of social risk in the United States and China. ELI experts led by James McElfish, Senior Attorney and Director for Sustainable Use of Land Program, engaged in productive discussion with the delegation.

CIBDEG Keynote Presentation by PRCEE Director, Li Liping

On October 24, 2018, Director of PRCEE’s Institute for International Environmental Policies and ELI visiting scholar Li Liping gave a keynote presentation about environmental enforcement under the newly established MEE at Latham & Watkins LLP in Washington DC. Representatives from major multinational corporations and the US EPA attended the presentation.

MEE Delegation Visits ELI: Environmental Compliance and INECE

On October 17, 2018, a delegation from MEE visited ELI for a discussion about performance measurement environmental compliance and enforcement in the United States and China. Scott Fulton, ELI President, and John Pendergrass, ELI Vice President for Programs and Publications, represented ELI and INECE secretariat in receiving the delegation lead by Mr. Xia Zuyi, Deputy Director General of MEE’s Bureau of Law Enforcement.

Supreme People’s Court Delegation Visit

On August 22, 2018, a SPC delegation led by Judge Zheng Xuelin attended the Global Symposium on Judiciary and the Environment co-hosted by ELI, OAS, UNEP and IUCN. Judge Zheng sat on a panel moderated by John Pendergrass, ELI Vice President for Programs and Publications, and discussed Chinese judiciary’s innovative use of guiding cases and specialized environmental tribunals to promote environmental rule of law. Judge Zheng was the inaugural chief judge for SPC’s Department of Environment and Resources.

PRCEE Delegation Visit

On August 15, 2018, a delegation of representatives from PRCEE and MEE, led by Ms. Tian Chunxiu, Deputy Director General of PRCEE, met with ELI experts. The discussion focused on comparative best practices on co-benefit and co-control as well as the next steps of CIBDEG.

CIBDEG Inaugural Roundtable

Launched on May 9, 2018 in Beijing by ELI and PRCEE, CIBDEG is a working group designed to facilitate discussion between multinational businesses and Chinese authorities regarding best practices in government and industry in the area of environmental regulation, as well as the forward movement of environmental policy and regulation in China. As ELI’s advisor on this matter, Latham & Watkins is deeply involved in this project.

In addition to helping the Chinese government understand the concerns of multinational business and how environmental regulations function in the United States and Europe, CIBDEG will help multinational businesses understand the direction of Chinese environmental regulation in order to prepare for and fully comply with new regulations. The group aims to attract businesses from several sectors including aerospace, electronics, oil and gas, chemical, consumer products, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, and logistics.

The forum featured speakers including senior officials from the Laws, Regulations and Standards Department of MEE and PRCEE. The multinationals participating in the launch included Axalta, BP, Chevron, DowDupont, FMC Corporation, General Electric, and Henkel. In addition, the United States Information Technology Office participated in discussions.

NGO Environmental Public interest Litigation Workshop at Tianjin University

From January through May 2018, ELI worked with CEPF in organizing five successful workshops at Tianjin University Law School in Beijing. As a result of the workshop, ELI and CEPF trained 265 environmental NGO workers, judges, prosecutors, and attorneys from 26 provinces. The faculty at these workshops included international experts and Chinese experts.

The Chinese experts from the MEE, SPC, SPP and academia covered China’s environmental legal framework as well as the diverse and acute challenges faced by NGOs, prosecutors, judges, attorneys, and defendants participating in environmental public interest cases. ELI experts introduced best practices for designing litigation strategies, collecting evidence, managing scientific uncertainty, using citizen science, structuring remedies, and conducting negotiations. In addition, ELI highlighted how citizen suits in the United States have helped promote a culture of compliance among businesses. These workshops were generously supported by the Hewlett Foundation and Tilia Fund.

Brown Bag Lunch on Environmental Justice and Rule of Environmental Law in China

On Thursday, February 5, 2009, ELI held a Brown Bag Lunch with Ms. Jingjing Zhang on environmental justice and strengthening the rule of environmental law in China. Ms. Zhang is an attorney working for the Centre for Legal Assistance of Pollution Victims (CLAPV) at the China University of Political Science and Law. In 2009, Ms. Zhang was selected to participate in Yale's World Fellows Programme.