Green tech tries to clean up China air

April 18, 2008 8:59:14 PM PDT
Silicon Valley tech companies and academics are joining forces, hoping to motivate China to tackle its pollution problems which are now affecting California.

There were architects, scientists, and researchers banding together to offer China a path toward a clean energy future.

The need is abundantly clear. Air quality in many Chinese cities is poor. The problem grows as more factories spew emissions and as more workers can afford to buy cars. And as China's pollution becomes Calfornia's problem.

"We are getting pollution from China now, and the key to keeping California's air quality clean and healthy is working with China on their air quality," said Dian Grueneich, a California Public Utilities Commissioner.

Doing that may not be easy. China is known to resist advice from overseas. However, Bay Area business leaders believe China will be receptive to ideas from Silicon Valley's green tech companies.

"So one of the most important things is to identify the common interests between the U.S. and China, then we focus on that and move ahead," said Robert Wu, an U.S. China Green Energy Council chairman.

China already is trying to shift away from coal-powered power by adding nuclear, hydro and wind power generation.

Zhoa Zhongxian is a Chinese physicist and vice chair of the Chinese Association for Science & Technology.

"Right now I think (we) in China pay more attention to how to use electricity from wind power, including the storage of the power," said Zhongxian.

Bay Area venture capitalists say there's interest in helping companies sell green tech to China. Especially as China's carbon footprint keeps growing. It is a common issue on both sides of the Pacific.

"The more they confront the fact that they can't continue to grow in terms of energy usage and emissions in the same way as they have in the past, then I think the confluence is even greater," said PG&E Environmental Affairs Vice President Steve Kline.

The conference organizers say this is not a one-shot deal. They intend to go to Shanghai and Beijing in November to have similar dialogues, in hopes of having a lasting impact.


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