Huw Slater

Huw Slater

Huw Slater

  • Year completed 2005
  • Current position Senior Consultant, ICF
  • Degree(s) Bachelor of Music

Huw is a Senior Consultant at ICF and works primarily on policy measures addressing climate change issues. At the time of writing he is the Project Backstopping Expert on the EU-China Emissions Trading System, supporting China’s development of a national emissions trading scheme.

Huw studied a Bachelor of Music which exposed him to the wonders of China during a conference his honours supervisor encouraged him to attend.

Huw Slater believes his move to Beijing in 2011 was only natural, led by a personal interest in the Chinese culture and a passion for climate change issues.

Now a Senior Consultant at ICF and a Research and Projects Manager at the China Carbon Forum (CCF), it’s been seven years since the move. But it takes time to develop influence on China’s climate change policies.

"When you’re working as a foreign national, you need to spend time to have an impact… by publishing research, getting to know people who are important to the policy making process [in that country]," Huw explained.

Huw regularly publishes CCF insight research notes, manages climate change events, help build relationships and cooperation between the Chinese government and other global leaders, and takes on projects that contribute to the development of policy surrounding the low-carbon economy in China, as efficiently as possible.

His time in Beijing has also given him invaluable insight into how government is driving the low-carbon revolution, in a country with the world's largest population and largest overall carbon emissions.

"China goes through these five-year plan periods where they set high level targets for their economic development but now they’re also setting environmental and social targets," Huw explained.

"Those targets filter down through the system, from the national level to the province to the city level… so getting the policy settings right at the national level is really important.

"The last couple of five year plans have been more focused on low carbon development and less focused on older industrial sectors which is a positive."

But China is still new to the game and a global challenge requires co-operating with global partners which, at the time of writing, is where Huw’s helping out.

"The Chinese government is quite ambitious in its plans for reducing emissions but it doesn’t always have the capacity to implement the polices that it’s aiming to."

"So, in the area that I’m working on at the moment, the emission trading schemes, the Europeans obviously have a lot of experience so there’s been a lot of co-operation between the EU and China working on things like measuring and reporting your carbon emissions accurately, getting third party agencies to verify it, making sure that the system is running efficiently.

"There’s also been policy and dialogue between China and the US which I’ve been involved in. At the moment it’s mostly at the state level in the US, US states that are quite keen to engage with China on things like renewable energy development also emissions trading schemes."

Huw acknowledges the immense hurdles standing in the way of a government trying to create change when “society has a lot invested in the existing way of doing things”.

“Climate change is a really tough issue because there’s a push and pull between those who want to base policy making and economic strategy on the science that underpins climate change versus those who may have an economic interest in the way that the things are done.”

But Huw believes the change that’s happening in China will have to be mirrored by countries all over the world and the war for sustainability is in for the long haul.

“I think the basic underlying trend is towards a low carbon economy globally and so it’s not as though anyone person or industry can change that trend.”

“The question is how can we plan for it effectively, and make sure that we’re maximising the benefits and minimising the losses.”