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Vermont Law School Co-Sponsors Major Environmental Law Conference in China

May 2, 2007

SOUTH ROYALTON—Vermont Law School (VLS) and Sun Yat-sen University (SYSU) in Guangzhou, China, will hold a conference entitled "Energy Efficiency & Circular Economy" on May 11–12 at the campus of SYU. The conference will address the draft laws on energy efficiency and circular economy now pending before the National People's Congress of China.

Last year, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a substantial grant to VLS to engage in a collaborative program with SYU to advance environmental and energy law and policy in China under the rule of law. The program brings together the institutional capacities of the leading institution of higher education in Southern China and of the leading law school program in environmental law in the United States. The thrust of the programmatic activities is designed to strengthen the capacity of institutions and individuals to engage the legal and regulatory system on energy and environmental law issues.

This conference, co-sponsored by VLS, SYSU law school, USAID, and the Guangdong Province Economic and Trade Committee, is the first major event in Guangdong Province of the VLS-SYU Partnership for Environmental Law. It is designed to bring government officials and advisors, business leaders, NGOs, and academics together to discuss energy conservation and industrial waste management issues. The focus will be on the most recent drafts of the Energy Conservation Law and the Circular Economy Law (as well as provincial implementation). There will also be presentation and discussion of an innovative Asian Development Bank project, an "Efficiency Power Plant" (EPP) in Guangdong province. An EPP is a virtual power plant that "creates" energy not by building a bricks and mortar facility but rather by a program that creates energy savings and therefore frees up energy for use elsewhere. Some confirmed conference speakers include Dr. Youhai Sun, director of the legislative office of the Environment and Natural Resource Committee of the National People's Congress and the key drafter of the circular economy law, Barbara Finamore of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an expert on energy law and director of NRDC's China Program, and Professor Wang Canfa from the China University of Political Science and Law and director of the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims.

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