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Dr. Jiajun Dale Wen

Dr. Dale Jiajun Wen

Fellow in the project „Epochal Life Worlds: Man, Nature and Technology in Narratives of Crisis and Change“ (October–December 2021)

Short Biography

Dr. Jiajun Dale Wen has been working on sustainable development issues for more than a decade, with topics including sustainable agriculture, climate change, energy security etc. She is currently a visiting fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, as well as a special guest researcher in the Environment and Development Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. She was a co-author for the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) – which some call the IPCC of agriculture. Over the last decade she has followed the international climate negotiations closely and has substantial insights on the Chinese government’s reasoning and policy making as well as to what is happening on the ground in China – both in terms of climate action as well as the effects of the current development trajectory. She holds a PhD from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).


Corona and Climate: what can the various pandemic narratives and responses teach us about climate action? - A cross cultural study

There has been ample comparison between the twin crisis of corona pandemic and climate change. In March 2020, Barack Obama tweeted, “We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall.” The corona virus has put all national governments to test, and the responses vary widely. One universal lesson is that the corona virus does not respect any kind of political correctness or human dogma. Whether it is Chinese obsession about social stability, or western insistence on personal freedom , the virus does not care. Almost any disregard of the latest science would create some loophole for the virus to further its spread. Yet “respecting the science” is easy to be said, but hard to practice, especially when the truth is inconvenient. Now more than 18 months into the pandemic, lots of basic facts are still disputed, for example, whether masks work, whether lockdowns work, whether the virus is airborne. When people cannot agree with facts, of course they cannot agree what would be a science based policy. The cultural and institutional factors driving such divide are worth exploring. Needless to say, similar issue exists in climate realm. What are the differences and similarities of the responses of different cultures and nations in the face of the crisis outbreak? What are the underlying cultural and structural factors? What can different nations learn from each other? What are the enabling conditions to encourage all of us to face the inconvenient truth, to really respect the science, thus hopefully put into the necessary actions to handle the crisis? How can we create such enabling conditions, both domestically and internationally? What constructive role international exchange and dialogue can play? These are the questions I would like to further explore with this project.