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.