Archive for March, 2018

‘Leapfrog’ ET: 10 years later

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

SAIS Magazine, Winter 2018

One of the really nice aspects of life here at HNC is the collegial nature of the faculty – both Chinese and international professors. Most of the international faculty live right on campus, and many of our Chinese colleagues have full-time appointments here…. and every two weeks, we gather together for a faculty luncheon. An alternating Chinese/international professor will make a presentation about his/her current research, or similarly relevant topic – and it was my turn to do so in mid-March.

Over recent years I’ve given presentations about U.S. & Chinese preparations for the Paris Agreement, and post-Paris carbon trading prospects. But Paris decisions won’t be finalized until later this year, and China has decided to take a slow, deliberate, multi-year approach for its own carbon trading – so I decided to take the Energy paper I wrote ten years ago about a conceptual ‘leapfrog’ approach for emissions trading in China…. & to see how things have changed. A presentation entitled ‘Leapfrog’ Emissions Trading in China: Ten Years Later was the result.

The biggest difference, of course, is that the section about real-time markets introduced the idea of using blockchains….. and, as you might suspect, that created quite a lively post-talk Q&A session. China has been the major site of blockchain ‘mining,’ utilizing massive amounts of electricity from coal-fired power plants to solve cryptocurrency puzzles – and finally banned that practice earlier this year. IBM and its Chinese partner see a potential blockchain future for carbon trading, however…. and others do as well for distributed renewable energy systems in particular.

My presentation certainly didn’t resolve the issue…. but it’s a fascinating topic, & the overall presentation suggests that China is indeed making environmental progress – slowly but surely — over time.

That clearly contrasts with the way things are evolving in Washington DC. The Winter 2018 issue of SAIS Magazine had a cover story describing the impacts of the Trump Administration’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement – and kindly gave yours truly the last word.

200th Posting

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018


I’ve found it rather amusing to look online at some other ‘200th posting’ blog links, because most seem to be of the “Wow… amazing how time has passed by since I started last year!” variety. That’s certainly not my problem, since I started more than a dozen years ago — although all that time has passed by amazingly fast as well.

It took me almost seven years to reach the 100th posting, so you can see that I’m now speeding up….. since it’s only taken a little more than five years for the next hundred. Either my life has become a lot more interesting…. or I’m now getting to be more verbose & talkative as I get older; hopefully it’s more the former. And at this rate, I’ll be blogging every day…. sometime in the 2030’s, I guess.

But you’ve probably also noticed some changes over time – bigger pictures, more ‘non-work’ travel, and also more postings about things I just happen to find interesting. Luckily, I’m now at that stage of life where I can get away with such digressions and musings. My students simply cannot conceive of someone not on WeChat, & my coffee shop buddies smile when I still pay cash for my ‘da bei Americano’ (sometimes thinking I’m the last person in China still doing so!). Fortunately, they all humor me…. & I recognize that people reading this blog probably do so as well.

I know there will be even more changes over the next 100 postings…. & I can honestly say I’m looking forward to them! I’ve been incredibly fortunate in life…. & if you’re reading this, thanks for showing interest & for sharing it with me.

[And once again, a shout-out for Ms. Krissie Gatti, my web-master extraordinaire, who was there for the first one — & all subsequent postings too!]