Online Discussion on Environmental Politics in China

This event is online as a podcast here.

Announcement: China is at the heart of the global ecological crisis that is posing an existential threat to humanity. The breakneck economic development in China has wreaked havoc for the environment, extracting and consuming an unimaginable amount of resources and severely polluting land, air and water. And, while Europe and the United States have been historically responsible for the emission of greenhouse gasses, China has overtaken the rest of the world to become the leading emitter as global production moved into China in recent decades. How should we understand China’s environmental crisis and its roots from a left perspective? Is there anything specific to China’s politico-economic institutions that creates and perpetuates the ecological catastrophe? And, as the Chinese government has focused on promoting renewable energy and spoken of ecological civilization, does China hold any solution to tackling global ecological crisis? What strategies and approaches should the international left develop to counter and mitigate the crisis? To discuss these questions and more, we are joined by Richard Smith, author most recently of China’s Engine of Environmental Collapse (Pluto Press 2020).

Date: Saturday, April 3, 2021
Time: 2 p.m. CET/Europe – 8 p.m. CST/China – 8 a.m. EDT/U.S.
: China’s Engine of Environmental Collapse
Speaker: Richard Smith
Moderator: Kevin Lin

The speaker: Richard SMITH wrote his UCLA History PhD thesis on the contradictions of market reform in China and held postdoctoral appointments at the East-West Center in Honolulu and Rutgers University New Brunswick. He is the author of China’s Engine of Environmental Collapse (Pluto Press 2020) and Green Capitalism: The God That Failed (2016). Richard is a founding member of System Change Not Climate Change, a US-based ecosocialist organization ( and also a member of the DSA Ecosocialist Working Group.

Reading list for the event’s Q&A:
Why ecosocialism? A Democratic Socialist Perspective (Richard Smith)
Climate arsonist Xi Jinping: a carbon-neutral China with a 6% growth rate? (Richard Smith)
Why China Isn’t Capitalist (Despite the Pink Ferraris) (Richard Smith)
Despite Pledges to Cut Emissions, China Goes on a Coal Spree (Michael Standaert)

Sponsors: This event is co-sponsored by, Made in China Journal, positions politics, and Critical China Scholars. The foundation Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt (Berlin, Germany) provided financial support for the technical platform.

For other events, please, see the “China and the Left”-series page.