Archive for April, 2009


Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

In early March I was elected Vice President of PACE, the Professional Association for China’s Environment, an NGO providing a network for environmental & other professionals dedicated to improving China’s environment.  Dr. Gong Yuyang is President of this organization, and he arranged a dinner meeting with several PACE Board members during my Beijing trip (see previous posting), including Dr. Wang Jinnan, VP of the China Academy of Environmental Planning and an expert in the country’s SO2 trading efforts. It turned out that several Board members (including Dr. Wang) had worked on my first UN project in China at CRAES (the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences) back in 1990! It was certainly great to see catch up on things, & thanks much to Dr. Gong for his ongoing efforts for this organization.

Another PACE Board member, Prof. Zhang Shiqiu – Deputy Dean of Peking University’s College of Environmental Sciences & Engineering — invited me to make a presentation about the China ”leapfrog” emissions trading scheme (described several postings below) at her university.  Shiqiu & I had worked together in the 1990s on UN urban projects in China, & I had most recently seen her last May in Singapore (she’s standing directly in front of me in that Singapore posting picture, the fourth person from the right in the front row). I was certainly happy to do so — she knows that I always enjoy my visits to Beida! — and from the questions I received it is apparent that she has a very bright young group of students studying with her right now.

Beijing & Shanghai

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

In late March and early April I was in China again, having a series of meetings with government officials, academics, private sector developers, and energy firms addressing energy efficiency in Chinese cities.  UN ESCAP has made urban energy efficiency one of its strategic goals, and I have been working with personnel there to help develop programs in this area.  The city of Urumqi in western China has also developed a long range energy efficiency plan, developed by a team including the American insulation firm Owens Corning and the German district heating utility MVV Energie.  We were in Beijing to meet with Urumqi officials, and hopefully carbon market financing will help make it happen! 

A number of highlights from the trip: 

In Beijing I had a chance to meet up for lunch with Dr. Wang Weili, of the China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE, a part of the Ministry of Commerce).  CICETE acts as a liaison between the UN and the Chinese government, and Dr. Wang (center in the photo) and I have been good friends for quite a long time (e.g., we co-authored a paper about urban pollution control in PACE’s journal Sinosphere some ten years ago).  On this trip, I had a chance to meet her son Sheng Ming (right), a very bright young mathematician who has now been accepted for graduate study at a number of prestigious U.S. universities (e.g., Columbia, U. Penn, etc.) — & he’s now trying to decide which one to attend.  We’ve had numerous email conversations about the role of “quants” in the U.S. financial sector, and it was nice to finally meet him in person!  Another CICETE colleague, Li Ke (left in the photo), was also able to join us.  Li Ke coordinated most of my UN project missions around China, and also served as my translator in numerous meetings — I followed her bright pink suitcase through many, many Chinese airports, and never got lost!

In Shanghai I had a chance to meet up with Charlie McElwee, an international energy & environmental lawyer with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP.  Charlie writes China Environmental Law, a blog that covers China’s energy/environmental scene – and one which I have long recommended to my students and others interested in this area.  It was great to have an opportunity to actually meet the person behind the blog, & I told Charlie that I’m really amazed that he has time for any other activities, such as teaching at Jiao Tong University or his law firm work — given the amount of effort necessary to produce such a thorough and timely blog.

And on the flight home from Beijing, I sat immediately behind Darryl Dawkins.  Those of you who are old-time basketball fans will quickly recognize the name of “Chocolate Thunder,” the colorful, 6’11” character who played center for the Philadelphia 76ers in the late 1970s, & who claimed to be an alien from the planet “Lovetron.”  What was really amazing to me was to watch him reach up & retrieve articles from the overhead storage compartment — without ever leaving his seat!


Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Adage logo

In recent months I’ve been working on a project for ADAGE, a joint venture between the French engineering company AREVA and the U.S. firm Duke Energy.  ADAGE made a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative last September to build 10-12 fifty megawatt biopower facilities in the U.S. by 2014, and I’ve been working with the ADAGE team on carbon, policy and sustainable development issues.  Reed Wills, the company’s President, is a long time friend and colleague.  He was a Penn Energy student back in the 1980s, and was instrumental in developing the Grays Ferry Cogeneration project in the early 1990s when he worked for O’Brien Energy.

I finalized the first phase of my efforts in a presentation to the company in late March, and we’ve now begun Phase II efforts.  I’m especially excited that a former UN colleague – Ghazal Badiozamani – will be joining me in this phase.  I first met Ghazal in the Division for Sustainable Development, and we worked together on projects in Iran and Colombia.  Ghazal is one of those remarkably talented people (Stanford & London School of Economics background, & fluent in both Farsi and Spanish) — & you can you imagine how valuable such skills were for those projects.  More recently she was with the UN’s Forum on Forests, and is now at the Wharton School – so her contribution on this biomass project will be just as important!