Pavements and road crossings

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics, Environment, Politics, Travel

One unfortunate side-effect of my job is seeing all problems through a climate finance lens. See a problem that need fixing, sort-it with a green loan, possibly credit enhanced and securitised for good measure. But there are a few things in life that money(-markets) can’t buy and government has to dip into its pockets and pay for itself. Pavements are one such problem. I spent the first week of January in New Delhi scurrying around the diplomatic enclaves and the chic district of Safdarjung in southern New Delhi. The city has seen massive investment in its sleek new(-ish) metro system. […]

Four things environmentalists can learn from Hong Kong

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Environment, Politics, Technology, Travel

So my three and a half years in Hong Kong are up and I’m wending my way back to the UK tomorrow via the Silk Road over the next four weeks. In my work here, I often suggest environmental policies from other countries that Hong Kong might adopt. But knowledge transfer has traditionally wafted the other way, from East to West. So I thought I’d use my last Hong Kong blog to about what Hong Kong can teach policy makers in the West.   1.   The MTR (Mass Transit Railway) Now carrying around 5.79 million passengers a day in Hong Kong […]

Train trips in India and China

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Economics, Environment, Politics, Technology, Travel

Christmas and New Year was spent in India attending a cousin’s wedding and a nephew’s thread ceremony. It’s always fun going back to the country of my birth. I love the food, the music, the great value for money and energy of the place. But It’s also depressing seeing how slowly it changes. India’s stagnation was made even more evident, when six weeks later, I visited the beautiful town of Guilin in Guangxi. Arrivals at Mumbai Airport set the tone. The automated fingerprint check, designed to streamline entry into the country, bureaucratically first demanded two thumbs, then four right fingers, […]

Vladivostok: the edge of the Belt and Road

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in History, Politics, Travel

Vladivostok is a city of 600,000 in the Far East of Siberia. Russia grabbed it opportunistically in 1860, back when the Qing Empire had been enfeebled by the Opium Wars and the vicious Taiping Rebellion that left 20 million dead. Russia quickly consolidated its grip expelling the Chinese and transferring people from Ukraine and Belorussia: first by land and ship and by rail once the Trans-Siberian Railway was built. Even though it’s only a stone’s (or perhaps a Scud missile’s) throw from North Korea, there’s no hint of the East in the local gene pool. Lonely Planet calls it San […]