U-Haul chief sustainability scientist Dr. Allan Yang networked with influential officials and shared his expertise at the 2016 Climate Leaders Summit in Beijing, a summit representing the highest level of dialogue between the U.S. and China to address reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
“The U.S. and China are the top two countries in emitting greenhouse gases,” Yang said. “The purpose of this year’s conference was to set new goals for global emissions by 2030.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese State Counselor Yang Jiechi attended the June 7-8 event, also known as the China-U.S. Climate-Smart, Low-Carbon Cities Summit.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton headlined 22 U.S. mayors at the second annual summit. Stanton and Allan Yang have an ongoing working relationship from their time on the Phoenix Sisters Cities project.
The first Climate Leaders Summit was last year in Los Angeles, which U.S. Vice President Joe Biden attended. Next year’s summit will be in Boston.
“Some cities set the goal by 2030 to be back to their emissions output of 1995,” Yang explained after returning to U-Haul corporate headquarters. “In some cases, cities may have set the goal to reduce their carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.”
While the goals established are not binding, they prompt a change in planning and instigate U.S. and Chinese partnerships for a common cause.
The U-Haul Way
Yang spoke on U-Haul adaptive reuse projects and energy-saving strategies during a public-private coalescing at the summit.
“First, I spoke about how we reuse buildings for stores,” Yang said. “I talked about the Detroit case, where we use steam energy to heat the building at U-Haul Moving & Storage of New Center. Steam heating is a very sustainable energy source in terms of low carbon power generation.
“In personal conversations, I discussed truck sharing, equipment sharing, and how we’re selling refillable one-pound propane cylinders in California now.”
There were roughly 1,000 people at the summit, including 50 from the U.S., Yang said. Most of the U.S. mayors were matched with representatives from their Chinese partner cities for one-on-one discussions.
Yang an Important Figure
When anyone from the U.S. contingency needed an interpreter, Yang, who was born in Chengdu and raised in Beijing, got the signal to assist. That made him a very popular man.
“I’m lucky to have talked to almost all of the mayors there,” Yang said. “It was a very successful conference, and we were able to share many things about U-Haul sustainability.”
After the summit, Stanton and Yang spent a day biking through Beijing and interacting with the locals, which included some competitive games of table tennis.
Yang returned to Chengdu in late June for the annual Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fair as a representative of Phoenix Vice Mayor Kate Gallego. Read about the 2015 GIEF conference here.
Familiar with U-Haul Company’s numerous sustainability products and initiatives? If not, see what we’re doing for the environment by visiting uhaul.com/about/sustainability.
What is important to you when thinking about sustainability? Tell us in the comments.