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2007-10-29 | News

Swedish minister inaugurated EfD in China

Sweden´s Minister for Enterprise and Energy, Maud Olofsson inaugurated the new Chinese research institute of environmental economics that Peking University has started in collaboration with the Environmental Economics Unit, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.

The institute, named the Institute of Environment and Economy (IEE), College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, was inaugurated in China on October 29th by Sweden´s Minister for Enterprise and Energy and Deputy Prime Minister, Maud Olofsson.

The institute’s main research areas are forestry reforms and environmental economics policy instruments for handling climate changes.
In the prospect of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the institute will study efficient ways of improving the Beijing air quality.

The institute, managed by Professor Jintao Xu and Professor Shiqiu Zhang, constitutes one of six environmental economics research centers within the so-called Environment for Development initiative (EfD). The EfD collaborates with the University of Gothenburg with financial assistance from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The institute will receive five million Swedish Kronas from Sida during a three year period, and its research will focus on environmental economic analysis and advice on environmental policy.

The study of cost-efficient ways of improving the Beijing air quality before the Olympic Games is performed together with the American environmental economist and researcher Alan Krupnick, active at the Resources for the Future institute in Washington. Krupnick has studied welfare effects of urban air pollution in Asian cities for many years.

"The air quality study for the Olympic Games is being conducted by Professor Shiqiu Zhang, a senior member of the EfD in China. The project is directly commissioned by the Olympic Games committee of China and should have direct impact on all the solutions adopted by the committee," says Professor Jintao Xu, coordinator of the EfD center in China, which is called EEPC (Environmental Economics Program China).

"Our intention for the EEPC is to build a world class environmental economics research center which produces high quality academic products as well as policy recommendations," says Professor Jintao Xu.

In connection with the inauguration, Professor Thomas Sterner at the University of Gothenburg, one of the initiators of the EfD, will present his book Policy Instruments for Environmental and Natural Resource Management. The book was recently translated into Chinese.

"China is the biggest and fastest growing country in the world. With such a growth rate come environmental problems that may heavily affect the global environment. It is therefore important that we, through the EfD center, contribute to the best of our ability to handle the problems,” says Sterner.

"China has made many wise decisions for reducing the environmental influence. Still, the problems are immense. I hope that my book will contribute with knowledge on how market economic policy instruments often can achieve greater environmental effects at lower costs to society than traditional regulations.”

The overall objective of the research network EfD is to support poverty alleviation and sustainable development through increased use of environmental economics in the policy making process. To attain this goal, the EfD will continue to build capacity for environmental economics research, teaching, and policy advice at existing universities and academic institutions in Costa Rica (for Central America), China, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. Initiators of the EfD are Professor Thomas Sterner and Associate Professor Gunnar Köhlin, both active at the Environmental Economics Unit, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg.

For more information, please contact:

Professor Thomas Sterner

Phone: +46 31-786 13 77
E-mail: thomas.sterner@economics.gu.se

Associate professor Gunnar Köhlin

Phone: +46 31-786 44 26 Cell phone: +47 705-35 05 08 E-mail: gunnar.kohlin@economics.gu.se

Karin Backteman, Communications Officer

Phone: +46 31 786 25 95, Email: karin.backteman@economics.gu.se