Why You Should Study Environmental Policy In China

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Updated September 12, 2021 Updated September 12

Sponsored by Duke Kunshan University

What do the state of California and China have in common? You might not think a lot, but the US state and Asian superpower actually both have the resources, talent and resolve to tackle prescient environmental challenges. There’s currently a vacancy for global leadership in environmental policy, and China’s filling it.

The observed adverse effects of temperature rise and precipitation changes have made the Asian leader all too conscious that climate change is no hoax. Indeed, at the same time the US were threatening to pull out of the Paris Agreement in June, Beijing made clear its intention to be at the forefront of any global environmental initiatives.

If you want to make a difference and help the world resolve key challenges, there’s a chance you’ve already considered careers in environmental policy, but here’s why China specifically should be on your radar.

China’s made huge strides in environmental policy

As much as 30 percent of China’s aluminum smelting capacity could be closed every year in an effort to reduce what many call “the airpocalypse”, while coal consumption dipped by 4.7 percent last year.

The government has taken stringent measures to, in the words of Li Keqiang, “make our skies blue again”, including clamping down on factories that fail to meet tighter environmental standards, and investing over US$60 billion to develop reforestation. The country is also artificially breeding 230 endangered species to maintain stable population levels.

The Chinese government has also invested in eco-friendly businesses. Air pollution kills approximately 1.1 million people each year in the country, so it’s no wonder sustainability features high up in President Xi Jinping’s agenda.

Chinese universities are running the best programs in the world

In recent years, Chinese universities have been gearing up to cater to a growing number of international students looking to develop expertise in a particular field and develop an international profile. Among them, the prestigious Duke Kunshan University offers a master’s in environmental policy taught in English, which includes a semester abroad at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in the US.

The two-year program draws together economics, political science, sociology, history, law, statistics and environmental science to educate the next generation of business leaders, policy-makers and startup CEOs about sustainability.

Future-proof job opportunities across tech, policy and industry

Aside from the personally rewarding aspects of working in sustainability, environmental careers are possibly the most future-proof of sectors. Climate change will remain a global challenge in the next 100 years, and it will affect all nations. What’s more, there will be many opportunities in sustainability across sectors, including manufacturing, technology and government, as demand for environmental products like air-pollution face masks or sustainable food continues to grow.

Businesses are already shifting toward sustainability, with market leaders such as Unilever, Sainsbury's, WalMart and Marks & Spencer stepping forward and setting climate targets, having realized the financial benefits of investing in reducing waste. So, whatever sector you hope to move into, studying environmental policy at university will give you an edge over other graduates, as recruiters seek to tap into your expertise and network of contacts in China.

Apply online to Duke Kunshan University’s competitive master of environmental policy here or contact the institution with your queries directly at (+86) 512-57779988.

This article was originally published in October 2017 . It was last updated in September 2021

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