Tao Hu, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s China Program, will deliver the first talk of the fall’s Tanaka Lecture Series funded by the Tanaka Memorial Foundation. His lecture will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 in Stern Hall.
An ecologist and environmental economist by training, Tao is a veteran with an insider’s perspective on China’s environmental policy. With almost two decades of experience of working at the Policy Research Center of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, he has witnessed and participated in the formulation of a wide array of national environmental policy recommendations. From smartly pricing natural resources to boost efficiency and cut down pollution, to streamlining the environmental management systems to minimize bureaucracy and empower enforcement agencies, he has been a witness to and involved in much of China’s recent environmental policy making. This experience has taught him that environmental policy is only effective when informed by and built on solid economic thinking.
Tao is a pioneer in China focusing on environmental issues arising out of international trade. He was the chief expert of a special technical team that provided support for China’s negotiation on trade and environment issues under the Committee of Trade and Environment (CTE) of WTO. Tao also advised on China’s Environmental Goods and Services (EGS) negotiation in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
“Given China’s rapid rise in international trade and investment in recent years, China has a significant role to play in promoting sustainability worldwide,” Tao says. “We need to envision solutions that channel and harness these emerging market forces to ensure that China’s growth not only adds to people’s material wellbeing but also protects the health of our natural world.”
Tao earned his Ph.D. in Ecological Economics from the Ecological and Environmental Center at the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences. His areas of expertise include environmental policy and governance, international trade, environmental economics and co-control of air pollutants and GHGs.
Since 1992, the Tanaka Memorial Foundation has been a major contributor to the education and intellectual growth of both faculty and students on campus, enabling them to travel abroad as part of Technos International Week. The transformative experience provides a cross-cultural exchange to two students and a member of faculty each June when Technos International College in Tokyo generously hosts the enriching program.
In addition each year, students are also awarded with the Technos International Prizes on behalf of the Tanaka Ikeuikai Educational Trust. Upon completion of their undergraduate careers, two students – one Hobart and one William Smith – are acknowledged for their global awareness and commitment to international understanding.
The Colleges’ relationship with the Tanaka family dates back to the late 1980s when Dr. Kenji Tanaka visited the campus with his daughters, Makiko and Kimiko. A friendship was forged on that visit between the Tanaka family and the Colleges that has not only continued but has flourished over the years since. Makiko received an honorary degree from the Colleges in 2011.
Over the following years, gifts made to Hobart and William Smith by the Tanaka family supported the Colleges and the Asian Studies program. In 1992, Hobart and William Smith formally received the first of what were to become yearly gifts of support by the Tanaka Memorial Foundation. With the first of these grants, the Colleges established the Tanaka Asian Studies Endowment; and since then, the Tanaka Memorial Foundation has grown that endowment generously, funding the speaker series among other opportunities.