U.S. Clean Tech Expert Works with China to Combat Pollution

A former Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs chairman is using his connections and business savvy to power his conservation efforts. Henry Paulson is focusing his considerable energy into coming up with clean, green tech solutions to the growing crisis of China’s pollution.

Why reach out to China? “There are great synergies between our two countries,” Paulson said in his address at the Environmental Law and Policy Center’s annual gala event in Chicago this past September. He believes the United States and some of its private sectors could be the perfect solution to China’s pollution panic.

China’s Capital Issues “Red Alert” Pollution Levels

The country recently issued an unprecedented “red alert” for Beijing’s poor air quality, as its industrialized nation chokes in smog and carcinogenic toxins.The emergency red alert was declared, and much of Beijing was shut down in an effort to protect its citizens from the man-made pollutants. The city closed public schools, construction sites, and issued a restriction on the number of cars permitted on the roads.

The U.S. Embassy in China reported that at the time of the red alert, the air quality levels for Beijing were recorded at 250, which is classified as “very unhealthy.” 250 is at a level 10 times higher than the World Health Organization’s recommends can be safely inhaled.

Henry Paulson’s Clean Tech Initiative to Help Clean Chinese Air

Paulson has long been an outspoken environmentalist and a proponent for green energy and tech products to reduce the worldwide carbon footprint. And he’s uniquely qualified for the great challenge facing the one of the world’s largest country.

Paulson first approached Chinese officials on greener tech improvements in 2006, and has been working closely with them ever since. From 2000 to 2007, China’s carbon monoxide emissions doubled; a result that Paulson says can be directly traced back to the country’s rapid economic and population growths.

But it’s Paulson’s business experience that is proving most helpful in the teaming up of the U.S. and China in the fight against climate change. “Trade and economic ties are the glue that binds our two nations through the ups and downs of the bilateral relationship. As the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. and China not only have a shared opportunity to foster sustainable economic growth, but also to join together in addressing pressing global problems,” Paulson said.

Major Corporations Join China in Implementing Greener Changes

Even Apple is joining the effort. They plan to use their suppliers in China to provide 2,000 MW of clean energy over the next few years, and will “share the best practices in procuring clean energy and building high-quality renewable energy projects, and provide hands-on assistance to some suppliers in areas like energy efficiency audits, regulatory guidance and building strong partnerships to bring new clean energy projects to China.”

Dow Chemical Co., General Motors Co., Honeywell International Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corp., IBM Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc are also joining Apple. As the world’s biggest technological empires try to help China’s air pollution crisis, they’re also helping to find future solutions to their own concerns in an increasingly industrialized (and therefore polluted) world.

Nasa Finds that the Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Gaining More Ice than It’s Losing

 

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NASA reveals that Antarctica is actually gaining more ice than it is losing. The surprising find shows that  despite fears over global warming, Antarctica’s ice fields are growing faster than they are shrinking. The snow accumulation began 10,000 years ago and is adding enough ice to the southernmost continent to offset the increased losses from neighboring, thinning glaciers.

While known and monitored glaciers are shrinking because of global warming, the new study published in the Journal of Glaciology shows that recent ice gains at other glaciers more than offset the ice losses of the monitored ice fields. “We see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas,” affirms Jay Zwally, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center spokesperson and study author.

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” he says. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctic, there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas,” added Zwally.

Measuring ice in Antarctica is a challenging task. Ice gain or loss is normally measured by tracking elevation changes. Changes in the elevation of ice across the Antarctic ice sheet is measured using primarily laser and also radar altimetry. Scientists have previously wrongly attributed gains in elevations in East Antarctica to recent snowfall due to the use of lasers and satellite altimetry to measure ice gain.

Lasers and sensors measure distances from the satellite to the ice surface. Radar altimeter signals provide very good coverage for ice sheets but have difficulty in accurately measuring sloped and rough terrain, due to some of the satellites’ outdated, low resolution equipment. The low resolution shortfall also makes it difficult to measure smaller glaciers where much of the ice loss in Antarctica occurs.

To avoid error this time, The NASA team led by Zwally used data from 1979 to prove most accurately that the ice cores in the area have actually been thickening, making the study’s findings of ice gain promising.

The findings challenge previous research by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s findings that Antarctica is losing land ice overall and is set to flood coastal cities around the globe. Its 2013 study had concluded that the sea is rising by 0.27 millimeters annually because of the ice melting in Antarctica.

But coastal cities are not out of danger yet. According to Zwally: “The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 millimeters per year away,” he said. “But this is also bad news. If the 0.27 millimeters per year of sea level rise attributed to Antarctica in the IPCC report is not really coming from Antarctica, there must be some other contribution to sea level rise that is not accounted for.”