New York, January 10, 2014—Columbia Law School convened leading energy law and environmental experts from across Columbia University at an interdisciplinary forum in Beijing on Jan. 8 to discuss the outlook for large-scale shale gas development in China.
Columbia Law School Dean David M. Schizer, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law and the Harvey R. Miller Professor of Law and Economics, opened the daylong forum, “Shale Gas in the U.S. and China.” Dean Schizer has been an influential voice in the debate over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique that has released previously inaccessible energy reserves by pumping fluid at high pressure to crack shale and release gas and oil trapped inside.
In addition to Dean Schizer, the conference also featured Columbia Law School professors Michael B. Gerrard, the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and the director of the Center for Climate Change Law, and Edward Lloyd, the Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professor in Environmental Law, two distinguished energy and environmental law experts.
The conference, which took place at Peking University Law School (Beida), also highlighted Columbia University’s interdisciplinary expertise in energy and the environment. Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy; Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy; and East Asia Global Center were all partners in organizing the event.
Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy, which is housed at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, worked closely with Dean Schizer in planning the forum. David Sandalow, former acting under secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy and an inaugural fellow at the center, participated, in addition to scholars and government officials of China, as well as energy industry experts.
The forum included discussions focusing on the barriers to Chinese shale development, possible solutions, relevant lessons from the U.S. shale gas experience, and the geopolitical and economic impacts of the North American shale revolution and increased liquefied natural gas trade.
As the world’s largest energy consumer and recent engine of global economic growth, China leads global oil imports and consumes half the Earth’s coal. By rapidly increasing its imports of oil, gas, and coal, China is placing strains on its trade balance, growth, and environment. The country has the largest shale gas reserves in the world, which, if produced safely and economically, have the potential to reduce pollution from coal and lower China’s energy bill. Fracking has revolutionized energy production in the United States. Many observers, however, believe that large-scale shale gas development in China is years away.
The conference was made possible through the generous support of Gary S. Davis, Columbia Law School Class of 1980.
Columbia Law School has a longstanding relationship with Peking University. This past May, Dean Schizer and Peking University Law School’s Dean Zhang Shouwen signed a memorandum of understanding that broadens opportunities for both schools to collaborate on research and other scholarly activities.
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