Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is today focused on making new construction in China more energy efficient by working with leaders to upgrade building codes.
Paulson has worked on the front lines of environmental protection in China for years and has the ear of the top Chinese leadership, the Wall Street Journal reports.
China is constructing more than half of all the new buildings in the world, Paulson says, and buildings account for 40% of global greenhouse-gas emissions. As the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, China could help to significantly reduce worldwide emissions if it upgrades its building codes.
“There’s nothing else I could do in the U.S. and have that kind of impact,” Paulson told the Journal. Paulson, a former head of the Nature Conservancy, recently hosted leading multi-national business executives at a Beijing hotel along with leaders of State Grid Corp., a gigantic monopoly power distributor, and China State Construction Engineering Corp. to discuss ways to reduce China’s greenhouse gas impact.
Some 100 million rural workers in China are expected to move to cities before 2020, keeping demand for new construction strong.