Jeremy & Roger on Mount Tai
As part of my GEF/World Bank project in China, I made a trip to Taian in Shandong Province and Taiyuan in Shanxi Province in May, giving presentations about emissions trading to several hundred local officials, company representatives, academics, and other interested parties. Luckily, my friend and colleague Jeremy Schreifels from U.S. EPA’s Clean Air Markets Division was along on this trip. I first met Jeremy in the 1990s in Ukraine, when we were working together on a U.S. AID project there – and have stayed in touch since. He is currently wrapping up a Ph.D. from Tsinghua University on NOx control in China, and since his courses are in Chinese, I was very happy to let him deal with all of the taxis, waiters, and others who normally have to suffer from my indecipherable Mandarin, finger pointing, & awkward pantomimes.
Taiyuan has changed pretty dramatically since I was last there ten years ago, and lots of construction is still going on. A real highlight of the Taian visit was a side trip to Tai Shan, the most important of China’s five great mountains — and a natural landmark long revered and visited by emperors throughout China’s history. Its importance is evident in the fact that an illustration of Tai Shan is included on the country’s five yuan currency note. That note shows the mountain rising above a ‘sea of clouds,’ which was exactly the view we had. Climbing has been a theme of many recent ‘Raufer Update’ postings, but timing constraints (ahem!) forced us to skip the 10+ kilometer hike with its thousands of steps, and take the cable car instead. That still left plenty of climbing at the summit, however, to take in the temple complex, the Immortal Bridge, the carved rock inscriptions, and many other sights. Truly a magnificent experience!