Magee on China’s Neighbor Relations – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Magee on China’s Neighbor Relations

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Darrin Magee, a geographer with expertise in water and energy in China, was recently quoted in an article about the threat to regional stability posed by China’s complex dam system and, particularly, its lack of clear and effective communication about them. “Troubled waters: the Mekong River crisis,” appeared in Financial Times magazine.

The article details a number of severe and damaging highs and lows the Mekong River experienced this past winter, attributed by many to be caused by actions taken at China’s upstream dams. It discusses difficulties officials from a number of countries – as well as the Mekong River Commission – have had obtaining information from China to determine the actual cause of these fluctuations and states, “China’s communications about its dams are anything but effective, let alone unimpeded.”

“I’m the last person you would go to to find a China-basher,” Magee said. “There’s no rational explanation for not sharing some of the data if indeed these dams are having as little impact as they claim they are.”

The full article appears online.

Magee, who joined the Colleges faculty in 2008, is currently serving as a fellow of the prestigious Rocky Mountain Institute, which seeks to develop the plan for China’s energy future. He earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Washington, along with a B.A. in French and B.S. in mathematics from Louisiana State University. His doctoral dissertation was titled “New Energy Geographies: Powershed Politics and Hydropower Decision Making in Yunnan, China.”

He has authored a number of articles on China’s water and energy and has presented his work at conferences and institutes throughout the world, including Oxford University, the University of Colorado, and the National Youth Science Foundation. In 2011, Magee was named director of the HWS Asian Environmental Studies initiative. That same year, he was selected as one of 20 Public Intellectuals Program Fellows by the National Committee on United States-China Relations.