Archive for July, 2007

Paris

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

This year’s IFP groups were truly an international mix – more than thirty students from eighteen different countries in the PEM academic program, and more than twenty executives from a dozen countries in the mini-MBA program (including a relatively large contingent from Indonesia). There was considerable interest about the rapidly growing market for voluntary carbon offsets, and what international post-Kyoto efforts might look like.


The Gould family on the Rue Mouffetard

A highlight of my visit this year was meeting up again with an old schoolmate – Bob Gould, who was the only other chemical engineer in the energy program at Penn when we started together in 1981. Bob now directs environmental projects at BCEOM, a French engineering company, and I hadn’t seen him since the late 1980’s. I had met his wife Garrette — who works at UNEP in Paris — on one of my working visits in the late 1990’s. On this visit I was treated to lunch with the whole family, in a bistro just off the Rue Mouffetard (near the famous market on the Left Bank), very close to where they live. It was certainly a wonderful meal, and we had a chance to walk around the neighborhood afterwards & catch up on things – and I received what was essentially a ‘native’s tour’ since they’ve now lived in Paris for more than fifteen years. Later in the week I had a chance to take a stroll once again in the Jardin du Luxembourg, immediately after a refreshing summer rain – and once again after a filling lunch. (Perhaps you’ll get a hint here about why I avoid the scale after these Paris visits.) 

UK & Italy Road Show

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

In June 2007 I did another ‘road show’ about carbon markets for CLSA, this time in Edinburgh, London and Milan. Some highlights:

The Bonham Hotel
The Bonham Hotel

In Edinburgh, I stayed at the Bonham Hotel, one of those elegant, old world hotels in the ‘New Town’ section of the city – so called because it only dates back to the late 1700’s, instead of the original area of the city near the castle.


Roger’s ’85 ‘mews’ home today

Such stately buildings always had stables behind them called ‘mews,’ and in 1985 I had lived in a beautifully refurbished mews in New Town when I spent the summer as a visiting faculty member at the University of Edinburgh. On this trip, I took off walking to find my old home, assured that my photographic memory would make its location obvious. Several hours later, after wandering the mazes and backstreets of New Town, I returned to the hotel to do a Google search — and was finally able to locate it for a visit. It certainly triggered a lot of very pleasant memories.


The Tate Modern

In London, I had lunch with Prof. Zhang Le-Yin of University College London — a development economist colleague I’ve worked with over the years on projects addressing urbanization in China for UNDP; oil economy restructuring in Iran for UNFCCC; and sustainable cities in Hong Kong for UNDESA. It was really great to see her after several years, and I’m sure our work paths will cross again.


The Turbine Hall

And speaking of cities and urbanization, I also caught an exhibit on ‘Global Cities’ at the Tate Modern during my London visit. This museum is located in the old Bankside power plant on the south side of the Thames (at the foot of the new Millennium Bridge). It’s not Battersea Station – the one I remembered from boyhood train trips to Victoria Station, & the iconic picture on the cover of the Pink Floyd ‘Animals’ album — but the same architect designed both of them. The exhibit was located in the former Turbine Hall, and I have to admit that I found the old cranes still in place there a bit more interesting than some of the modern art within the museum itself.

And, of course, Milan! Lots & lots of tanned, beautiful people in their fashionable white and beige outfits in the hot summer sun, while I had just arrived from rainy & cool Britain, a whiter shade of pale in my black suit. (Do you think they knew I wasn’t native??) I did have a chance to wander around in the marvelous Gothic Duomo (cathedral), as well as the sun-filled Piazza del Duomo; and in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, linking the Piazza to La Scala. It seems, however, that there wasn’t quite enough time to go inside the famous opera house itself. (Perhaps they were worried that I’d start singing??)