The Bartlett School of Planning


Di Bao

Research subject

Environmental Considerations in Energy Resource Governance: A Case Study of Coal Mining Development in the Ordos League, Inner Mongolia, China

Primary supervisor: Professor Yvonne Rydin
Secondary supervisor: Dr Fangzhu Zhang
Starting date: September 2018
Projected completion date: September 2022

This research concerns environmental and land use issues associated with coal extraction in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Regions of China. Problems such as the increase of landless farmers and herdsmen due to land requisition, land degradation and pollution are undoubtedly contemporary and urgent challenges in China. Increasing energy demands and economic pressures have led to a rapid rush to explore and extract coal, oil and mineral resources across China. As the scale of extracted land and industrial activities rapidly expand, farmers and herdsmen are forced to live and operate in much closer proximity to the resource extractive areas or were moved to urban regions where they have limited knowledge and skills to survive. In recent years, such issues have turned into complex and intense problems, particularly in the western regions of China where large scaled mining activities and land requisitions are more likely to occur.

This research will study case studies of environmental challenges concerning coal resource development in the Ordos League, Inner Mongolia, China using Environmental Justice Theories. This study aims to investigate whether material goods and environmental resources and services are distributed impartially; how have the governance system and policies respected local knowledge, cultures, needs, and vulnerabilities; to what extent local communities have equal access to adequate information about the details of resource development on their grazing lands; to what extent do the rural populations have fair opportunities to participate in the environmental decision-making process; whether government’s response to the public demands is successful; and how environmental justice concerns could be integrated into the energy and environmental governance, and ultimately achieve community and environmentally friendly energy resource development in China.


Before coming to UCL, I graduated with a BA in Combined Honours in Arts and Humanities (Philosophy, History and Chinese Studies) and MA in Politics and International Relations both at Durham University. I have also participated in the research project titled “The Demonstration Platform of Big Data Application of Inner Mongolian Grassland Culture” at the Inner Mongolia Education Publishing Group. With these experiences, foundational problems in social justice and environmental ethics prompted me to pursue for a PhD in Planning at the UCL to study on the topics of environmental justice, energy governance and rural development in China.

Now I am a second-year PhD student at the Bartlett School of Planning under the supervision of Professor Yvonne Rydin and Dr Fangzhu Zhang. My research interest centres around the topics of environmental and energy governance, environmental justice, regional development, and spatial identity in contemporary China.