Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is starting a climate-change program through his Chicago-based think tank to fund research and advocate for more aggressive environmental action.

The Paulson Institute’s initiative will begin this month in Beijing and bring together Chinese and international specialists to share strategies on reducing the country’s air pollution and identify ways to measure compliance with government targets, the group said in a statement yesterday.

“It’s very, very important that we get traction on this,” Paulson said in an interview. “There’s a lot to be done.”

Ellen Carberry, founder and managing director of the Beijing-based China Greentech Initiative, will direct the program, seeking “practical and pragmatic solutions to the problems of air pollution and climate change.”

Carberry, a former IBM Corp. executive will oversee research, demonstration projects and advocacy aimed at addressing climate change and air pollution, the institute said.

Paulson, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a trip to China in July, said Chinese leaders are determined to act on environmental issues.

Cleaning up China’s air also will benefit Americans because airborne pollutants ride the jet stream to the U.S., Paulson said.

Seattle Announcement

The announcement about Paulson’s program came in Seattle where the Boao Forum for Asia is holding a conference on energy and sustainable development. The group is headed by China’s former ambassador to the U.S., Zhou Wenzhong.

Paulson, 68, the former chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group in New York, served as U.S. Treasury secretary during the global financial crisis. Since leaving office in 2009, he has used his own wealth to promote environmentally-sound economic growth in the U.S. and China.

His environmental activities in the U.S. include co-chairing the Risky Business Project, a 2013 effort to highlight the economic costs of runaway climate change. Along with Paulson, that project is headed by hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP.