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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 26, 2008

UI engineer to help write 'environmental report card' for 2008 Olympics

A University of Iowa College of Engineering professor has been named to a five-member, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) team that will issue an "environmental report card" for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Greg Carmichael, Karl Kammermeyer Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, said that he and other team members will travel to Beijing, China, Nov. 30 for a one-week fact-finding mission. While there, they plan to meet with the Beijing Olympic Committee, Beijing Government officials and representatives of NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) to evaluate the effectiveness of environmental measures undertaken for the games.

Among the areas to be investigated are: air quality; transportation; energy; forestry and afforestation; water; waste; sites and venues; climate neutrality; the role of sponsors, contractors, suppliers and hotels; campaigns and communications; and stakeholder's involvement.

"These aspects were included in the green-elements of the Olympic bid," Carmichael said. "We will assess how well these items were addressed, what lasting elements are in place, and we will make recommendations to China for future actions to sustain these efforts, and to the International Olympic Committee about green initiatives for future Olympics."

The report is scheduled to be released in February 2009 at a UNEP meeting of environmental ministers.

During the 2008 Olympics, Carmichael and colleagues at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, used unmanned aircraft to monitor the results of China's efforts to reduce pollution. He also took part in an $800,000 NASA study combining satellite observations with models to attempt to quantify the impact of Olympic emissions controls on local and regional air quality.

Also, this past summer, Carmichael was named to participate in a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study on the significance of the international transport of air pollutants. Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the 21-month study will summarize what scientists know about air pollutants flowing into and out of the United States.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,