Archive for July, 2011

Paris

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Sciences Po
In addition to the regular academic and executive training programs at IFPEN, this year’s visit included a half-day lecture at Sciences Po (more formally the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris), one of France’s elite universities. They offer a joint Executive Master’s degree with IFPEN in Energy and Globalization, and my lecture covered the development of emissions trading markets, the status of today’s carbon market, and some discussion about recent work in China.


Alchemy at Notre Dame?

I was reading Graham Robb’s book Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris on this visit, a book which has gotten mixed reviews on amazon.com — but I really enjoyed it. One chapter has a rather strange story about alchemy, the transmutation of matter by nuclear physicists, and Notre Dame Cathedral. I’m not even going to try to summarize it, but it sent me over to the cathedral looking for supposedly alchemical carvings – and I found them on the front portals, as described in the text.

Allee Pierre Loti
I also had dinner with my good friend and colleague Li Shaoyi, who has now moved to Paris from Bangkok, to work for the UN Environment Programme. Given the restaurant that he chose and the wine selection, it is apparent that Shaoyi has learned the Parisian lifestyle very, very quickly — and Paris is never too hard to take! I walked through the Champ de Mars by the Eiffel Tower on the way over to our meeting point in the 16th arrondissement, including a nice stroll along the Allée Pierre Loti (whom you might remember from the July 2006 Istanbul posting).

Tianjin

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011


Ferris Wheel over the Haihe River

Another highlight of this China trip was a visit to Tianjin – and a powerful reminder of just how much China has changed over the past two decades. I left my hotel near Beida and took the new subway (cost: 2 yuan, or 30 cents) to the new Beijing South railway station, and there hopped on the new high-speed rail connection to Tianjin – and arrived just a half an hour later. The beautiful (& comfortable) bullet trains travel at 200 mph through the countryside, and were certainly the equal of anything I’ve traveled on in Europe or Japan. (Hopefully, we’ll get some soon in the US!) I had never been to Tianjin before, and expected to see a grimy industrial/port city – but the walkways along the Haihe River were beautiful, the preserved foreign sector with its restaurants & nightclubs was quite charming, & the architecture impressive. There was a 110 meter diameter Ferris wheel on a bridge above the river (the only one in the world like that) which takes visitors up as high as a 35 story building at the top – even taller than London’s version.


Century Clock

The landmark Century Clock at the railway station represents the fact that China’s modern industrial development began here. And, of course, you can’t go to Tianjin without stopping in at the Goubuli restaurant for some of their steamed stuffed buns! A great visit, and many, many thanks to Ms. Yuan Fang (formerly of NDRC, now with Shell Oil) for arranging it.

Beijing

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011


Dr. Wang (left) and Prof. Tang

I spent another three weeks as a guest of Peking University in June, meeting with the faculty and students, catching up on China’s environmental news, doing some plant site visits, lecturing, etc., etc.  On this trip I had a chance to have lunch with my Chinese faculty mentor and good friend Prof. Tang Xiaoyan, who guided me around China on my very first 1990 visit, and who has worked with me on numerous projects over the years. You can see her in the photo, along with Dr. Wang Weili, the Vice Director of CICETE (the group that acts as the liaison between the Chinese government and the UN on energy & environmental projects; you might remember Dr. Wang from an April 2009 posting). Prof. Tang travels even more than I do, and she’s been away during my recent trips, so it was really great to see her once again!

I also made a full-day presentation for a new GEF/World Bank project I’ve been working on, addressing SO2 emissions trading in Shanxi and Shandong Provinces. This effort is part of a larger GEF China Thermal Power Efficiency Project, and my presentation covered international experience with this kind of emissions trading. I’ll be working with this Shanxi/Shandong group over the next year, as well as with their national consultants from Tsinghua U. and the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, and I’m very much looking forward to that!


Shanxi & Shandong GEF/World Bank meeting