Shanghai Daily spoke with JUCCCE Chairperson Peggy Liu about training over 550 government officials and executives in topics such as municipal waste management, water treatment and eco-city development.
Peggy Liu, an American-born Chinese whose family is from Taiwan, left her high-powered position in Silicon Valley to focus on clean energy in China.
Liu, who lives in Shanghai, cofounded the NGO Joint US-China Cooperation on Clean Energy in 2007. She was named “Hero of the Environment” by Time magazine in 2008.
Born in California, Liu is the daughter of Leonard Liu, former president of Taiwan-based Acer Group. Her Eastern and Western backgrounds give Liu an advantage in her China work calling on people to change their lifestyle and energy consumption. One of her major programs is training Chinese government officials and officials of state-owned enterprises in sustainability issues.
“China has a major advantage in that we have a smart and determined central government that is very progressive in exploring ways to pursue energy security through renewable energy versus fossil fuels; very determined to put in place policies that emphasize more energy efficient infrastructure,” Liu said.
Her NGO is based in Shanghai.
She attended the recent Slow Life Symposium in Thailand, which focused on solutions to environmental problems. She was interviewed by Shanghai Daily via e-mail.
The clean energy NGO pushes the use of clean energy in China and aims to have some impact in 10 years.
“My satisfaction comes from seeing more people becoming aware of environmental problems, and being concerned about our kids’ future,” said Liu.
After graduating from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science, Liu went to work for Silicon Valley companies, including Zaplet, an e-mail communication platform, and SeeUthere.com.
Her focus changed in 2007, however, when she attended an MIT forum on the future of energy in China. It was the first public dialogue on clean energy between US and Chinese government officials. She founded the Joint US-China Cooperation on Clean Energy as participants agreed on collaboration on clean energy.
“It was perfect timing to establish such an organization,” said Liu. “China was in the process of massive urbanization and infrastructure construction, so it’s in time to discuss energy creation and use.”
Training government officials and SOE officials is key. The program has trained more than 550 officials and executives by working with three leadership training academies, such as the China Executive Leadership Academy in the Pudong New Area. Training covers eco-heritage tourism, municipal waste management, water treatment, energy master planning, and eco-city development.
Liu invites international experts and Western entrepreneurs with green technology to lecture, connecting them with Chinese policymakers and people with authority who actually get things done. The face-to-face connection was cited by Time in naming her a hero of the environment.
Meanwhile, the NGO carries out clean energy and sustainability projects in communities, colleges and schools. It has donated more than 130,000 energy-saving light bulbs in eight cities.
In Shanghai it built a school using only recycled construction materials from nine pavilions at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.
Liu said China needs to develop four “sustainables:” sustainable urbanization, sustainable industry, sustainable power grids, and sustainable consumption.
“However, it is ultimately up to the people who build our buildings and implement those policies to help China go green,” Liu said. “And it is up to all our citizens to lead a responsible life that will be good for us, our children and our communities.”
Liu and her family have been living a low-carbon lifestyle in Shanghai for several years.
“At least 85 percent of our diet is vegetarian,” she said, adding that they get organic vegetables delivered twice a week and the ayi cooks “yummy” vegetarian recipes. They make their own juice and grow their own vegetables on the balcony.
Article by: Lu Feiran