Project Description

The China Project is a research program focused on China’s atmospheric environment, energy system, and economy, collaborating with researchers at Chinese universities and across the schools of Harvard. It conducts interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed studies related to air pollution and greenhouse gases in China, from root causes in the demand for and supply of energy to power its economy, to the chemistry and transport of pollutants in the atmosphere, to their impacts on human health and agriculture.  A fuller introduction to the China Project is here

Most Highly Cited Article

How much wind power could China ideally generate, given meteorology, geography and land uses, turbine technology, and existing deployment policies? An assessment by China Project researchers of the total wind power potential in China was the cover article of ScienceThis research was led by Project Chair Michael McElroy and post-doc LU Xi, taking advantage of NASA global meteorological datasets that have been validated by hundreds of studies of atmospheric transport and chemistry. A good review on the results was in Technology Review. The study was also covered by the China Daily, major international newswires, and other news sources. These can be accessed at the renewable power research page, which also provides more information and other papers on related topics.


New York Times and VICE News Quote Nielsen on China's CO2 and Air Pollution Control

September 21, 2015

Project Executive Director Chris NIELSEN is quoted in the New York Times questioning the permanence of any short-term peak of coal use in China, and emphasizing the dependence of China's carbon trajectory on the course of its faltering economy and policy responses. In VICE News Nielsen notes hopeful trends but also risks of difficulties in China's air quality strategies. 

New York Times Cites China Project Symposium and Investigation

July 14, 2014

Changing regional climate might be increasing atmospheric stagnation in northern China in winter, contributing to recent severe haze episodes. This is an area of active investigation in the atmospheric science community, both within China and beyond. It was one topic explored at a Harvard China Project symposium, "China 2035: Energy, Climate, and Development," held June 18-19 at the Harvard Center Shanghai with leading Chinese scientists, economists, and policy analysts.


Recent China Project Book

Read China Project research results on the economic costs and environmental benefits of prospective carbon taxes and past sulfur dioxide controls in China. Click here for endorsements, a description of the book, and a link to MIT Press

Recent Publications