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  UGEB 2123 環境危機 - 中國與世界
Environmental Crises - China and the World

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Course Description
Number of Units: 2
Lecture Hours: 2 hours/week
Course Teacher: Prof. XU Yuan (
Language of instruction: Putonghua
Course Outline

This course will provide an introduction of China’s major environmental and energy crises as well as their global impacts. It covers topics from air pollution (both indoor and outdoor), water shortage (due to the lack of water resources and water pollution), transportation especially in urban China, rising energy consumption and associated energy security, and greenhouse gas emissions and 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 possible solutions and emerging norms related to the topics. The course endeavors to inspire students to reflect on their own communities and re-assess the impact of rapid urbanization and economic development, in China and beyond.  

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Highlight of Topics

China’s rapid economic growth in the past three decades not only transformed the country’s society and economy, but also energy and the environment. Moreover, its increasing footprint on the globe has raised both scholarly and public concerns. As a transitional economy, China at present is troubled by environmental and energy problems with the characteristics of both developing and developed countries. On the one hand, like India, industrial energy consumption makes the sky grey and indoor burning of biomass and coal kills hundreds of thousands of people annually. On the other, China’s annual sale of vehicles has far exceeded that in the United States and the associated concerns about oil security, urban air pollution, and climate change are prominent in media and government policies.
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 critically think about the problems beyond any discipline. Because environmental and energy problems are frequently reflected in the media and students’ daily lives, the course will make them more informed in the increasingly globalizing society. The interdisciplinary framework of teaching is made possible by the matched expertise of the two instructors. As indicated in the course syllabus, for every topic, Prof. XU Yuan will first teach the origin, significance and solution from the scientific and technological perspectives. Prof. WU Fengshi will follow with discussion from social and political perspectives.
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Please also refer to the information in the Office of University General Education and CUHK Undergraduate Handbook
(Select Curriculum and then Course Details)