China | Workshop summary: Toward a Sustainable and Healthy Energy System

REEI Energy System Transformation Workshop 2016:
Toward a Sustainable and Healthy Energy System

Workshop Summary


Beijing — On October 20-21, 2016, experts in the fields of energy, environment, and public health held a two-day discussion about the best way to reach a transformation from fossil fuels to a sustainable and low carbon energy system in China.

Organized by Rock Environment and Energy Institute (REEI), the Healthy Energy Initiative’s partner in China, the workshop focused on the use of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) and other policy impact assessment tools to analyze, measure, and guide the process of energy system transformation.

Three experts on health from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Thailand presented research and case studies on the constraints of energy system transformation from a health perspective. Suphakij Nuntavorakarn of Thailand’s Healthy Public Policy Foundation introduced Thailand’s legislation on incorporating health effects into the national energy policy, which served as an inspiration for the Chinese colleagues attending. Dr. Michael Holland, an expert in public health at Ecometrics Research and Consulting in the UK, gave a history of air pollution governance in the UK. He discussed how the government supports air pollution control through the Governmental Regulatory Impact Assessment, and suggested the wide implementation of Health Impact Assessments in public policies. This viewpoint was supported by Dr. Linda Rudolph of the Public Health Institute in the US. She discussed the importance of Health Impact Assessments becoming a core part of public policy, and that there should be a movement towards a Health in All Policies practice. She also introduced the difficulties that California is having in implementing Health in All Policies. Dr. Rudolph explained that Health Impact Assessments have only been used in developed countries for about ten years, and they still need some time before they can play an important role in public policy making.

Additionally, regarding the economic, environmental and societal factors of the transformation, Aditya Ramji from India’s Council on Energy, Environment and Water outlined the opportunities and difficulties of India’s energy transformation. Despite the fact that India and China are at different stages of their transformations, China can learn a lot from India’s previous challenges, especially in terms of energy security and social equality.

Collectively, these speakers presented a compelling case to Chinese energy professionals that any energy policy should consider health impacts, along with environmental and social concerns, in order to achieve the most health-enhancing, equitable, and sustainable outcomes for China’s energy system transformation.

Learn more about the 2016 Energy System Transformation Workshop in the full report from REEI in English or Chinese.

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