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UGEB2123 Environmental Crises – China and the World


Lecture: Wednesdays 12:30 p.m. - 02:15 p.m.


Professor XU Yuan

Course Description

This course will provide an introduction of China’s major environmental crises at local, regional, national and global scales and at different stages of development. It covers topics from air pollution (both indoor and outdoor), water shortage (due to the lack of water resources and water pollution), soil pollution, waste management, desertification & deforestation, energy transition and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as climate change. The foci will not only cover the causes and seriousness of the crises from the perspectives of science, technology, society and governance, but also solutions and emerging norms related to the topics. The course endeavors to inspire students to reflect on their own communities and how to approach sustainable development goals at a variety of scales.

Multiple of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals are closely relevant to the lectures, including (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (13) Climate Action, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and (17) Partnerships for the Goals.

This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to lead students through relevant key topics. Students from most departments in natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, public health, and business management will be able to find connections between these topics and their own disciplines. The approach will provide students chances to independently think about the problems beyond any discipline. Because environmental problems are frequently reflected in social and individual daily lives, the course will make students more informed in the increasingly globalizing society for their better contribution to more sustainable development.

Learning Outcome

  • To comprehend knowledge of China’s main environmental issues, environmental governance, key policies and international commitments as well as main global environmental issues and related political debates/controversies.
  • To train integrative skills to apply political, public policy and scientific analysis to explain the causes, impacts and solutions of China’s environmental crises and the linkages across different geographic scales.
  • To establish the value to become responsible global citizens and contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.


2 -credits

Sustainable Development Goals