Alex Wang

Professor of Law
Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

Alex Wang is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. He is a leading expert on environmental governance and the law and politics of China. His research focuses on the social effects of law, and the interaction of law and institutions in China and the United States. His previous research has examined, among other things, the institutional design of environmental law and policy, environmental bureaucracy, public interest litigation, information disclosure, and environmental courts. His work has addressed air pollution, climate change, and other environmental issues.

His article, “Explaining Environmental Information Disclosure in China,” 44 Ecology Law Quarterly 865 (2018), was selected for presentation at the 2017 Harvard/Yale/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum. Other representative works include: “The Search for Sustainable Legitimacy: Environmental Law and Bureaucracy in China,” 37 Harvard Environmental Law Review 365 (2013) and “Symbolic Legitimacy and Environmental Reform in China,” 48 Environmental Law 699 (2018).

At UCLA, he teaches courses in torts, Chinese law, and environmental law. He has been a visiting assistant professor at UC Berkeley School of Law.

Prior to 2011, Wang was a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) based in Beijing and the founding director of NRDC’s China Environmental Law & Governance Project. In this capacity, he worked with China’s government agencies, legal community, and environmental groups to improve environmental rule of law and strengthen the role of the public in environmental protection. He helped to establish NRDC’s Beijing office in 2006. He was a Fulbright Fellow to China from 2004-05.

Wang holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law and earned his B.S. in Biology with distinction from Duke University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a member and former fellow (2008-10) of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. He is a regular speaker on issues related to China and environmental protection.


  • B.S. Duke University, 1993
  • J.D. New York University School of Law, 2000

Articles & Chapters

  • Symbolic Legitimacy and Chinese Environmental Reform, 48 Environmental Law 699 (2018). Full Text
  • Explaining Environmental Information Disclosure in China, 44 Ecology Law Quarterly 865 (2018). Selected for presentation at the 2017 Stanford/Harvard/Yale Junior Faculty Forum. Full Text
  • Climate Change Policy and Law in China, in Oxford Handbook of International Climate Change Law, (edited by Cinnamon P. Carlarne, Kevin R. Gray, and Richard Tarasofsky, Oxford Univ. Press, 2016). Full Text
  • Chinese State Capitalism and the Environment, in Regulating the Visible Hand? The Institutional Implications of Chinese State Capitalism, (edited by Curtis Milhaupt & Benjamin Liebman, Oxford Univ. Press, 2016). Full Text
  • Regulating Domestic Carbon Outsourcing: The Case of China and Climate Change, 61 UCLA Law Review 2018 (2014). Full Text
  • The Search for Sustainable Legitimacy: Environmental Law and Bureaucracy in China, 37 Harvard Environmental Law Review 365 (2013). Full Text
  • China‚Äôs Environmental Tipping Point?, in China in and Beyond the Headlines, (edited by Tim Weston & Lionel Jensen, Rowman & Littlefield, 2012). Full Text
  • Environmental Courts and the Development of Environmental Public Interest Litigation in China (with Jie Gao), 3 Journal of Court Innovation 37 (2010). Full Text
  • Environmental Courts and Public Interest Litigation in China, 43 Chinese Law & Government (Nov-Dec., 2010). Alex Wang & Jie Gao, editors, No. 6. Full Text
  • The Role of Law in Environmental Protection in China: Recent Developments, 8 Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 195 (2006-2007). Full Text