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China’s Next Act: How Sustainability and Technology are Reshaping China’s Rise and the World’s Future


Scott Michael Moore headshot

Book Talk with Scott Michael Moore

October 19, 12-1 pm


Scott Michael Moore headshot

If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it is that the world is bound together by shared challenges—and that at the center of those challenges stands China. Thanks to decades of breakneck growth and development, Chinese officials, businesses, and institutions now play a critical role in every major global issue, from climate change to biotechnology.

China’s Next Act re-envisions China’s role in the world in terms of sustainability and technology. This reframing is essential both because none of these increasingly pressing, shared global challenges can be tackled without China, and because they are reshaping China’s economy and its foreign policy, with major implications for the world at large. At the same time, sustainability and technology issues present opportunities for intensified economic, geopolitical, and ideological competition—a reality that Beijing recognizes.

Drawing on the book, this talk explains that the danger is that China’s next act will drive divergence on the rules and standards the world desperately needs to tackle shared challenges in the decades ahead. In some areas, like clean technology development, competition can be good for the planet. But in others, it could be catastrophic: only cooperation can lower the risks of artificial intelligence and other disruptive new technologies.

With a particular focus on climate change, this talk will address China’s role in providing global public goods and addressing global challenges, against a backdrop of growing economic, geopolitical, and ideological rivalry with other powers.