Chris Nielsen

Nielsen is the executive director of the Harvard China Project, a collaborative U.S.-Chinese research program focused on the confluence of economy, energy, atmospheric environment, environmental health, and policy. Working with faculty across schools of Harvard and at collaborating Chinese universities, he has developed and managed the interdisciplinary China Project from its inception.

He co-leads an ongoing initiative that integrates research across fields at Harvard, Tsinghua University, and Nanjing University to evaluate the economic costs and environmental benefits of Chinese national emission control policies. An initial version linked the Project’s research in economics, environmental engineering, and health science to assess taxes on air pollution weighted by health damages, presented in Clearing the Air: The Health and Economic Damages of Air Pollution in China (2007, MIT Press). The framework has now been expanded to encompass the Project’s full atmospheric chemistry model, bottom-up emission inventories, and agricultural science. The latest results, assessing the costs and benefits of both the SO2 controls of the 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010) and prospective carbon tax policies through 2020, are reported in a new book, Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Pollution, Climate, and Economics Goals (2013, MIT Press).

Nielsen also contributes to the Project’s atmospheric science and energy research, including developing and managing the partnership with Tsinghua that in 2004 built and now continues to operate an atmospheric station north of Beijing. With Project scientists he has co-authored a number of articles on emissions, atmospheric chemistry, air pollution damages, wind power potentials, grid integration of renewable power, and related policies in China. These include a cover article in Science and articles in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Atmospheric Environment, Environmental Science & Technology, Energy Policy, and other journals.

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Harvard China Project
nielsen2@fas.harvard.edu
(617) 496-2378