U.S. and China Researchers to Study Sustainable Development

Rice University is the home of a new research partnership between the United States and China. The goal is to find ways to make economic growth and environmental protection work together. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

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Chinese researchers want to learn from Houston's experience. Researchers at Rice University will team up with those at Nankai University in Tianjin. The Center for Environmental Remediation and Sustainable Development will focus on several areas including clean air, drinking and ground water and energy issues. Houston Mayor Bill White...

"It will require some of the best knowledge, best minds and technology, economics. By technology I mean a wide range of the scientific disciplines in order to see what the path forward will be for economic growth that allows a high quality of life and that does not degrade the natural world that is so important."

The Center's Co-Director Mason Tomson says Tianjin and Houston share many similarities.

"If you overlay the Google map search of the Tianjin, if you overlay that with the Houston Galveston gulf area, they are virtually identical geology or geographies are almost identical. Many of the backgrounds are similar based upon the manufacturing and energy technology base."

The center's other co-director is Professor Wie Chen who is on faculty at Nankai University.

"It's really important to learn some lessons quickly from U.S. to avoid, before we sacrifice too much for economy, growth."

Chen's particular area of interest is in protecting ground water. Rice officials point out Houston has experience with doing remediation in contaminated grounds known as brown fields. Rice's Tomson says the center will first focus on the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area which high-tech and new industries are moving into.

"Many of the major companies, oil companies for example, manufacturing, chemical processing companies, this is the area of northern China on the coastal region near Beijing that is going to be where these companies are actually located, many of them are there already and many are planning to move there."

Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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