Chris P. Nielsen

Chris P. Nielsen

Executive Director
Chris P. Nielsen

Nielsen is the executive director of the China Project, based at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Harvard University. Working with faculty at collaborating Chinese universities and across the schools of Harvard led by Prof. Michael McElroy, he has managed and developed the interdisciplinary China Project from its inception. See the main China Project website for a summary of this work, starting with research and editing of the book that launched the Project, Energizing China: Reconciling Environmental Protection and Economic Growth (1998, HUCE and Harvard U. Press, with McElroy and Peter Lydon). 

Nielsen co-led a major initiative integrating China Project research at Tsinghua University and four Harvard schools to assess costs and benefits of green taxes in China, reported in Clearing the Air: The Health and Economic Damages of Air Pollution in China (2007, MIT Press, with Mun S. Ho).  A more recent edited book, Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Pollution, Climate, and Economics Goals (2013, MIT Press, with Ho), links the economics-based framework of Clearing the Air with the Project's atmospheric model of China and its improved national emission inventories. It assesses the economic costs and environmental benefits of two sets of emission control policies: the SO2 controls of the 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010) and prospective carbon tax policies for the future (2013-2020). Researchers at three schools of Harvard, three schools of Tsinghua University, and one school of Nanjing University contributed to this collaboration.

Nielsen also contributes to the Project's atmospheric science and energy research, including developing and managing the partnership with Tsinghua that built and operates an atmospheric station near Beijing. With Project scientists he has co-authored a number of articles on emissions, atmospheric transport and chemistry, impacts of air pollutants, wind power potentials, and grid integration of renewable power in China. These include a cover article in Science and another in Nature Energy, as well as articles in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Environmental Science & Technology, Atmospheric Environmentand other journals, as listed on the publications page

Nielsen has a B.A. in Geology from Colorado College, where he was a Boettcher Scholar, and an S.M. in technology and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earlier lived in Taipei, Taiwan, working for the Colorado state trade and investment office.

   Science Cover Article on Wind Power Potential in China   Cover of Clearing the Air   


Contact Information

Harvard China Project, SEAS
Pierce Hall G2F
29 Oxford St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617-496-2378