Education key in global green movement

By Qian Yanfeng (China Daily Shanghai Bureau)
Updated: 2010-05-11 17:36
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SHANGHAI - Edward Guiliano, president and CEO of New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), said education - whether through its traditional role of teaching, or its role of creating knowledge through research, or simply through its role of modeling solutions - is as important as government or business in today's global discourse on sustainability and thinking green.

Speaking at a conference titled "Think Green: Energy, Education, Environmental Initiatives" - a global forum sponsored by NYIT and Nanjing University of Posts and Communications - in Nanjing in early April, Guiliano said while governments provide the necessary policy framework, bringing together business and academic communities with government "is a tested model for innovation, change, and getting things done."

Using NYIT's practice as an example, he said schools could help to stimulate and popularize new ideas by hosting energy innovation conferences, and also serving as the starting point for ideas from the classroom and the laboratory to be applied to the factory and the marketplace.

"As early as 1978, we hosted a conference on hydrogen fuel cells, which led to further development of hybrid vehicle prototypes just now coming into use. The academy, through its traditional role of teaching, scholarship and service, is particularly well positioned and compelled both by mission and compassionate imperative to play a central role in advancing solutions and policies on these vital subjects," he said.

In the battlefront against global warming, Guiliano also believes China is the right place to be.

He noted that many famous American energy and technology companies are building offices and laboratories in China, and are transferring top employees and their families here. Further, an increasing number of Chinese engineering students who studied in the U.S. are now returning to promising, rewarding, and important careers here in China.

Many of the best ideas in green technology - solar wind farms, electric cars, clean coal processing - are also being tested, applied, and brought to the market here in China, he added.

Although China also faces mounting challenges - as the world's largest car market with 2,000 cars added to its streets a day, it has surpassed the United States as the largest producer of greenhouse gases - China has made strenuous efforts to tackle those challenges.

The Chinese government, he said, has been strongly committed to developing green technology since the launch of the 863 Program as far back as 1986. The 863 Program has made it possible to take innovative ideas in wind, solar, electric, and coal energy alternatives first developed in the U.S. and Europe and apply them in China.

"We are here because Chinese and American thinkers and movers must lead along the road to a sustainable future in this century," he said.