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Archive for the ‘Climate’ Category

10 China Myths for the New Decade- Myth #10: carbon emissions

Posted by Author on February 8, 2010


Derek Scissors, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Asia Economic Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, via http://www.heritage.org, January 28, 2010 –

<< Previous

Myth #10: China has an official program to substantially cut its carbon emissions.

Truth: The goal is to cut carbon emissions intensity. Actual emissions will soar in the next decade.

China has not vowed to cut emissions but rather emissions intensity, in this case measured in emissions per unit of GDP. That is, the commitment is to reduce emissions only relative to the size of the economy; if China’s economy continues to grow, so will total emissions. And GDP comes in multiple flavors, with different kinds of inflation adjustments plus adjustments for the currency being used. This leaves a great deal of room to maneuver.

China’s 2005 carbon dioxide emissions, for instance, were approximately 5.43 billion tons, or approximately 2.95 tons of carbon dioxide for every 10,000 yuan of GDP.[22] The pledge is to cut carbon emissions intensity by 40 percent to 45 percent from the 2005 level, which would put emissions intensity near 1.75 tons carbon dioxide per 10,000 yuan of GDP.

From 2000 to 2009, simple GDP in yuan increased about 3.7 times. If that rate of nominal growth continues for the next decade, simple GDP will approach 135 trillion yuan in 2019. Using the target emissions intensity, carbon emissions in 2019 would more than quadruple over 2005, past 23 billion tons.

This is a numerical worst case and it is far more likely that China’s pledge refers to some adjusted version, not simple GDP. But which adjustment?

The difference between the arithmetic change of GDP from year to year and real GDP growth is called the deflator. It is all but impossible to make sense of China’s GDP deflator over time. With 10 years to play with, the Communist Party can announce whatever adjusted GDP it wants. Carbon dioxide emissions are unlikely to quadruple, but they very possibly will double, and Beijing will still be able to claim success in its intensity program.

Amid all the uncertainty, the best bet for the next decade is that the PRC rejects international estimates of its emissions the way it rejects international monitoring now. Beijing will substitute its own measurements, which will have some familiar magical properties. (to be cont’d)

Original from The Heritage Foundation

Posted in air, China, Climate, Economy, Environment, GDP, Investment, News, Opinion, World | Comments Off on 10 China Myths for the New Decade- Myth #10: carbon emissions

10 China Myths for the New Decade- Myth #9: greenhouse gas emissions

Posted by Author on February 7, 2010


Derek Scissors, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Asia Economic Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, via http://www.heritage.org, January 28, 2010 –

<< Previous

Myth #9: China’s greenhouse gas emissions are about the same as America’s.

Truth: China’s emissions are as much as 25 percent larger, and the gap is widening every day.

The effort to limit greenhouse-gas emissions is not usually thought of as a topic when discussing the Chinese economy, but it should be. By itself, the PRC is set to generate the majority of the world’s carbon emissions over the next decade.[20] In contrast, China’s population will fall below 20 percent of the world total. The emissions story is about China’s development model, not size.

In 2006, most monitoring agencies put American and Chinese emissions at roughly equal levels. Three years, however, is a great deal in Chinese industry time. A very conservative estimate puts Chinese emissions growing by 10 percent more than America’s in 2007 and the first half of 2008, before the financial shock hit.

In the nearly 18 months since, the PRC’s extremely aggressive stimulus and orientation toward heavy industry almost surely mean its emissions growthhas remained rapid. Coal production is still expanding between 12 percent and 13 percent annually. The industries most cited by the central government as overinvested and expanding too fast– steel, cement, and aluminum–are major greenhouse-gas emitters.[21] As a result, it is entirely possible that 2009 Chinese emissions were 25 percent larger than U.S. emissions.

All the unanswered questions about Chinese economic data apply to the environment as well. Chinese GDP is likely underestimated; so is energy use and pollution. Government monitoring is skewed by limited funding and political motives. There have been repeated failures to keep unsafe coal mines and outdated steel plants closed, and their output is often ignored because they should have been shut down. The true quantity of Chinese greenhouse emissions is uncertain. (to be cont’d)

Original from The Heritage Foundation

Posted in air, China, Climate, Economy, Environment, GDP, Investment, News, Opinion, USA | Comments Off on 10 China Myths for the New Decade- Myth #9: greenhouse gas emissions

How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room (1)

Posted by Author on December 23, 2009


Mark Lynas, The Guardian, UK, Tuesday 22 December 2009-

Copenhagen was a disaster. That much is agreed. But the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations. The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful “deal” so western leaders would walk away carrying the blame. How do I know this? Because I was in the room and saw it happen.

China’s strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world’s poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait. The failure was “the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility”, said Christian Aid. “Rich countries have bullied developing nations,” fumed Friends of the Earth International.

All very predictable, but the complete opposite of the truth. Even George Monbiot, writing in yesterday’s Guardian, made the mistake of singly blaming Obama. But I saw Obama fighting desperately to salvage a deal, and the Chinese delegate saying “no”, over and over again. Monbiot even approvingly quoted the Sudanese delegate Lumumba Di-Aping, who denounced the Copenhagen accord as “a suicide pact, an incineration pact, in order to maintain the economic dominance of a few countries”.

Sudan behaves at the talks as a puppet of China; one of a number of countries that relieves the Chinese delegation of having to fight its battles in open sessions. It was a perfect stitch-up. China gutted the deal behind the scenes, and then left its proxies to savage it in public.

Here’s what actually went on late last Friday night, as heads of state from two dozen countries met behind closed doors. Obama was at the table for several hours, sitting between Gordon Brown and the Ethiopian prime minister, Meles Zenawi. The Danish prime minister chaired, and on his right sat Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the UN. Probably only about 50 or 60 people, including the heads of state, were in the room. I was attached to one of the delegations, whose head of state was also present for most of the time.

What I saw was profoundly shocking. The Chinese premier, Wen Jinbao, did not deign to attend the meetings personally, instead sending a second-tier official in the country’s foreign ministry to sit opposite Obama himself. The diplomatic snub was obvious and brutal, as was the practical implication: several times during the session, the world’s most powerful heads of state were forced to wait around as the Chinese delegate went off to make telephone calls to his “superiors”…….(more details from The Guardian)

Posted in China, Climate, Environment, News, Politics, World | Comments Off on How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room (1)

China Stands Accused of Systematically Wrecking Global Climate Deal

Posted by Author on December 20, 2009


Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor in Copenhagen, and Jonathan Owen in London report, The Independent, UK, Dec. 20, 2009-

China “systematically wrecked” the Copenhagen climate summit because it feared being presented with a legally binding target to cut the country’s soaring carbon emissions, a senior official from an EU country, present during the negotiations, told The Independent on Sunday yesterday.

The accusation, backed up by a separate eye-witness account from the heart of the talks of obstructive Chinese behaviour, reflected widespread anger among many delegations about the nation’s actions at the conference.

The concluding agreement about tackling global climate change was widely criticised yesterday for being too weak, and was seen as a dashing the hopes of many concerned about the warming threat. The lack of teeth in the “Copenhagen accord” – which, it is accepted on all sides, is inadequate for fighting climate change – was widely blamed by environmentalists on President Barack Obama for not making bigger US commitments to cut carbon emissions.

Yet the key element of the agreement, a timetable for making its commitments legally binding by this time next year, was taken out at the last minute at the insistence of the Chinese, who otherwise would have refused to agree to the deal.

Also removed, at Chinese insistence, was a statement of a global goal to cut carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2050, and for the developed world to cut its emissions by 80 per cent by the same date. The latter is regarded as essential if the world is to stay below the danger threshold of a two-degree Centigrade temperature rise.

The “50-50” and “50-80” goals have already been accepted by the G20 group of nations and world leaders who were negotiating the agreement, including Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel of Germany, Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Kevin Rudd of Australia. They were said to be amazed at the Chinese demands, especially over the developed nations’ goal. The European official said: “China thinks that by 2050 it will be a developed country and they do not want to constrain their growth.”

China, with its rapidly expanding economy, has now overtaken the US as the world’s biggest CO2 emitter, and although at the meeting it agreed for first time to a target to constrain its emissions growth in an international instrument, it is desperate not to have that made legally binding, the official said. He added: “This conference has been systematically wrecked by the Chinese government, which has adopted tactics that were inexplicable at first as we had been led to believe they wanted an agreement.”

Even more pointed allegations about Chinese behaviour came last night from another source at the heart of the negotiations.

The source was present as heads of state and government drafted the final document, and gave the IoS an astonishing eyewitness account. He said: “There were 25 heads of state in the room; this was about six o’clock on Friday night. To my right there was President Obama in the corner, with Gordon Brown on one side, the Ethiopian President on the other, the President of Mexico, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea…

“If China had not been in that room you would have had a deal which would have had everyone popping champagne corks. But this was the first sign that China is emerging as a superpower, which is not interested in global government, is not interested in multilateral governance that affects its own sovereignty or growth. You could tell this lack of engagement through the process; they play a much cleverer game than anyone else. They were running rings around the Americans.

“It’s always easier to block than to try and get something. The Americans will probably be given some of the blame because that’s the conventional narrative all the pressure groups have – that the rich countries are bad, they didn’t give enough money or they would not create enough mitigation targets.”

The source went on: “But the truth is, I was in that meeting and the ‘Annex 1’, rich countries had mitigation targets of 80 per cent by 2050 which everyone supported, and it was taken out by the Chinese. The deal was watered down because the Chinese wouldn’t accept any targets of any sort, for anybody. Not themselves or anybody else. Legally binding stuff was taken out by the Chinese as well and there was a lot of anger in the room. It was controlled but it was very, very clear what the feelings were.

“The Chinese were happy as they’d win either way. If the process collapsed they’d win because they don’t have to do anything and they know the rich countries will get the blame.

“If the deal doesn’t collapse because everyone is so desperate to accommodate them that they water it down to something completely meaningless, they get their way again. Either way they win. I think all the other world leaders knew that by that stage and were just furious that they couldn’t do anything about it.

“It was extraordinary to see, and incredibly worrying for what it bodes for the future of our planet in this century. China is not going to get less powerful, and if this is the way that it’s going to behave, then we have problems.”

Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change who led the negotiations for Britain, said last night: “It’s disappointing that the Chinese insisted we should not commit to a global 50 per cent emissions cut, and it’s disappointing that they didn’t support a legally binding treaty. I think both of these are necessary.”

Additional reporting by Rebecca Buchan and Claire Cooper

Eyewitness: Amid the confusion and chaos, we waited in vain for the hand of history on our shoulders

It was colourful, chaotic and confusing. But the sense most people will probably walk away with after nearly two weeks of talks in Copenhagen is one of intense disappointment and deflation……. (more details from The Independent)

Posted in China, Climate, Environment, News, Politics, World | 1 Comment »

Citing Weather Information As State Secrets, China Refuses Asia Countries To Release Data On Yellow Sand

Posted by Author on February 19, 2008


The Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan, Feb. 18, 2008-

A plan for Japan, China, South Korea and Mongolia to observe and forecast airborne desert sand has been hampered as China has withdrawn from the scheme, citing weather information as state secrets.

The Environment Ministry’s Web site, which is to release forecasts on so-called yellow sand to the public, will start the service later this month as planned, but without the cooperation of the country where most of the sand originates.

According to ministry sources, with China reneging on its promise of cooperation by refusing to provide data, the system’s observation and forecast accuracy will be insufficient.

Between March and May every year, large quantities of yellow sand are sent airborne from the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts, with much of it catching westerly winds that carry it toward Japan, causing numerous problems in places the sand passes over.

In China and South Korea, many residents suffer from respiratory problems due to the sand. In Japan, mainly in Kyushu, laundry is often tinged yellow by the sand and the percentage of faulty products made by precision machinery factories has increased.

According to the Fukuoka Institute of Health and Environmental Sciences in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, when the sand was observed in the prefecture early last April, the concentration of dust in the air exceeded normal levels across the prefecture and the air took on a brownish tint.

The Meteorological Agency currently releases data on airborne yellow sand obtained from observations at 85 sites across the nation. But these observations are done visually, meaning airborne sand is only noted when it reaches the nation. These observations alone cannot accurately forecast the level of yellow sand approaching Japan.

The ministry began testing yellow sand forecasts on its Web site last spring.

Starting later this month, the ministry had planned to release more detailed sand forecasts based on data from one observation site in China, one in South Korea, three in Mongolia and 10 in Japan.

The information to be released by the ministry was to include actual quantities of airborne sand from near ground level up to six kilometers up. It also was to model how the sand is spread.

The Chinese observation site was to be in Beijing, which is right on the main path of yellow sand headed to Japan, making a Beijing observation post essential.

But in April, just before the start of a test run of the international system, Beijing suddenly notified Tokyo of its refusal to provide the data. China had enacted a law prohibiting bringing any weather observation data to be provided overseas, saying weather observation information as a state secret that affects national security and interests.

The situation has remained unchanged since then, forcing the ministry to forecast yellow sand quantities starting later this month without information on how much sand has been stirred up in China.

China also canceled in May a plan to improve its observation network with seven more facilities to be built with official development assistance from Japan.

Japan canceled a 250 million yen worth of grants in aid earmarked in fiscal 2006 for the cooperation.

In January, Japan, China and South Korea started joint research on yellow sand, but as the situation currently stands, data on the origin of the sand is only available from Mongolia. The limited data is expected to hamper future research.

An official of the ministry’s Global Environmental Issues Division said, “We heard from the Chinese side that it would be difficult to allow the information to be publicized on the Internet, even if data could be provided for joint research being done for the Beijing Olympics being held this year.”

Since 2000, the number of days when yellow sand was observed has rapidly increased. Increased deforestation and desertification caused by excessive livestock breeding has been cited as a cause.

Original report from The Yomiuri Shimbun

Posted in air, Asia, China, Climate, Environment, Health, Japan, News, Politics, pollution, South Korea, World | 1 Comment »

100,000 Migratory Birds Disappear in China Snow Storms, “no mass deaths” uncovered, Says Official

Posted by Author on February 18, 2008


AFP, Feb. 17, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — About 100,000 migratory birds disappeared in recent fierce snow storms in eastern China, state media reported Sunday.

About 95 percent of the world’s white cranes, half of the white-naped cranes and 60 percent of swan geese are believed to migrate to a nature reserve at Poyang Lake each year in Jiangxi province, Xinhua news agency said.

Poyang Lake is China’s biggest fresh water lake and an internationally significant wetland area.

Hundreds of workers at the reserve distributed grain, corn and vegetables but found only 40,000 birds, leaving about 100,000 unaccounted for, said Luo Shengjin, deputy director of the reserve.

Luo said no mass deaths had been uncovered and the birds could have migrated elsewhere. But the reserve was still concerned and was planning to employ helicopters to widen the search for the missing birds.

The worst weather in decades hit large areas of China last month, killing at least 107 people and causing more than 15 billion dollars in economic losses, according to official figures.

– Original report from AFP: Migratory birds disappear in China storms

Posted in animal, Bird, China, Climate, Environment, Health, Jiangxi, Lake, News, Poyang Lake, South China, World | Comments Off on 100,000 Migratory Birds Disappear in China Snow Storms, “no mass deaths” uncovered, Says Official

China to Relocate 100,000 Tibetan Nomads From Grasslands Into Towns

Posted by Author on October 3, 2007


BBC News, Tuesday, 2 October 2007-

China is ordering 100,000 nomadic Tibetans to move from grasslands into towns and villages in a bid to protect the environment, state media said.

The Tibetans are being relocated to protect the source area of key Chinese rivers in north-west China’s Qinghai province, Xinhua news agency reported.

The grasslands are suffering from overgrazing, desertification and the effects of climate change, it said.

Some 60,000 people will be moved by year-end and 40,000 more by 2010.

Housing will be provided for all those forced to move, Xinhua said, but the head of one Tibetan community said it was not an easy process.

Tibetan lifestyle

Qinghai province is a source for both the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, but experts have warned of a crisis over water supply.

Climate change is melting glaciers that feed the rivers and subterranean water supplies have been reduced by increased population and industrialisation, experts say.

The relocation programme, aimed at restoring the ecology of the grasslands, is China’s biggest resettlement project, Xinhua said.

Those who move will be given accommodation and greenhouses in which to grow vegetables, Li Xiaonan, an official in charge of the project, told the agency.

But the BBC’s James Reynolds, in Beijing, says that it appears that the nomads have no choice in the matter.

The ruling communist party says that everyone affected is being offered compensation, but that is unlikely to satisfy Tibetans, our correspondent says.

Many argue that China has been determined for many years to destroy their way of life as a people.

Environmentalists suggest that if China is really keen on protecting its environment it should focus its efforts on cleaning up its polluted rivers and reducing its carbon emissions, our correspondent says.

– Original report from BBC news: China to relocate Tibetan nomads

Posted in China, Climate, Economy, Environment, ethnic, housing, Life, News, NW China, People, Politics, pollution, Qinghai, Religion, Religious, River, Social, Tibetan, World | Comments Off on China to Relocate 100,000 Tibetan Nomads From Grasslands Into Towns

China Suffers Severe Drought and Floods in July

Posted by Author on August 14, 2007


By Xin Fei, Epoch Times Staff, Aug 11, 2007-

Recent climate anomalies in China has caused ceaseless droughts in some areas and continuous floods in other places. Experts have pointed out that the global greenhouse effect and other human factors were the main reasons for the disasters.

Continuous droughts and high temperatures have been afflicting many areas including Hunan, Jiangxi, Heilongjiang, Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang, Xinjiang, Fujian provinces and Shanghai City, with Jiangxi and Hunan being the hardest hit. The drought in the mid-eastern part of Inner Mongolia has lasted a long time, and the situation keeps worsening.

According to the latest official figures, this year 23 million acres of cultivated area suffered from the droughts, which is 2.7 million acres higher than average. The droughts affected 21.7 million acres of crops, among which 7.8 million acres are severely affected, and 1.4 million acres completely withered. The drought has also caused a fresh water shortage for 5.88 million people and 4.7 million cattle.

Since this summer, heavy rainfalls have caused floods in many parts of China, especially in Chongqing City as well as Sichuan, Guizhou, Xinjiang, Guangxi and Hubei provinces. So far the flood has killed nearly 700 people, affected 120 million, and caused US$7 billion economic losses.

Jiangxi is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years, with 1.06 million people facing a drinking water shortage, and 1.3 million acres of crops affected by the drought. The drought is still worsening, and is spreading quickly from the middle to the rest of the province.

According to latest figures, from April 1 to July 30 this year, the average rainfalls in Jiangxi is 594 mm, 32 percent below that in the same period of past years, and 20 percent blow that in the same period of 2003.

In Hunan Province the drought has continued for four weeks, which omens a dry autumn. Several million people are facing a drinking water crisis. Rainfall is down by 25 percent compared to previous years, leaving half of the two million water reservoir facilities empty.

According to the Hunan Meteorological Bureau’s forecast, the temperate will reach up to 40° C (104° F) in most of August.

Since June, high temperatures and low rainfall have affected the northeast Heilongjiang and some other areas in the province. The provincial Sanjiang Plain area is afflicted by a summer drought, which has not occurred in that area for many years. Some areas experienced over 40 continuous rainless days. A lot of farmlands are covered with a 30-centimeter (11.8 inches) deep layer of dry soil.

In Fuzhou, capital city of Fujian Province, high temperature as lasted for 31 days by July 30, the longest period since the city’s first official weather record was made in 1880. In many other parts of Fujian, hot weather has also lasted for 26 to 35 days.

In Zhejiang the continuous hot weather has lead to water shortages in many places and the situation is becoming more serious.

Recently Shanghai has suffered continuous hot days with temperature as high as 39° C (102° F) or even higher.

According to a meteorological department report, Shanghai’s temperature peeked at 39.6° C (103° F) on July 29. The last time Shanghai had the same temperature was on July 25, 2003, and it broke a 63 years’ record.

So far nearly 700 people have died as a result of the flood, lightning and mudslides across China. The flood has affected up to 120 million people with economic losses amounting to $7 billion.

Chongqing City recently was hit by the heaviest rainfalls in the century. Millions of people were affected and nearly 100 were killed or missing. The losses reached 2.978 billion yuan ($0.39 billion).

Guangxi Province was also hit by continuous torrential rainfalls, resulting in mountain torrents and river flooding which affected 8.3 million people and caused a direct economic loss of 9.84 million yuan ($1.3 million).

From July 27 to 31, heavy rains hit Sanmenxia City of Henan Province, the south part of Shanxi Province, middle southern parts of Shannxi Province. Serious rainstorms and landslides have occurred in many areas. According to preliminary statistics, 57 people were killed and 43 were missing as of August 10.

Original report from the Epochtimes

Posted in Central China, China, Chongqing, Climate, East China, Environment, Fujian, Guangxi, Guizhou, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Inner Mongolia, Jiangxi, Life, NE China, North China, NW China, SE China, Shaanxi, shanghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, South China, SW China, Xinjiang, Zhejiang | Comments Off on China Suffers Severe Drought and Floods in July

China’s Deadly Pollution of Air, Water, Land and Health Status

Posted by Author on July 18, 2007


According to an 18-month study released recently by the Organisation for EconomicPolluted river- Songhuajiang Co-operation and Development (OECD)  and previous exposed World Bank report,  here’s some numbers showing the deadly pollution of air, water, land  and the health status in China:

(picture: The polluted Songhua river near to the Chinese city of Harbin. Photograph: China Photos/Getty, from The Guardian website)

1. “highly polluted” water, covering:

– 1/3 the length of all China’s rivers
– 75% of its major lakes
– 25% of all its coastal waters

    Caused health problem:

– 300 million people are drinking contaminated water on a daily basis
– 190 million are suffering from water related illnesses each year
– Nearly 30,000 children die from diarrhoea due to polluted water each year

2.  Air:

– overtake the United States as the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases

    Caused health problem:

750,000 Chinese die prematurely each year, Beijing forced the World Bank to delete this figures from a similar report.
– Unless pollution is controlled, by 2020 it will cause 600,000 premature deaths in urban areas and 20 million cases of respiratory illness a year

3. waste:

– More than 17,000 towns have no sewage works at all
– human waste from nearly one billion people is barely collected or treated

– Nearly 70% of the rural population has no access to safe sanitation.

4. Land:
– 27% of the landmass of the country is now becoming desertified

5. City:

world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China

Find related reports from The Guardian (UK), Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) and previous post

Posted in air, Asia, China, Climate, Environment, Health, Life, medical, News, pollution, Report, River, Social, waste, water, World | Comments Off on China’s Deadly Pollution of Air, Water, Land and Health Status

China’s Answer to Climate Change: Sweat Shops

Posted by Author on June 27, 2007


By Ben Quinn, telegraph.co.uk, UK, 27/06/2007-

After years of ignoring global warming, China’s communists are now literally rolling up their shirtsleeves with a new gusto to confront the challenge.

In a move that would put many of the west’s most hardline environmentalists to shame, the country’s cabinet has ordered that air conditioning units in most public buildings should be set no cooler than 26 degrees Celsius.

At one of the hottest times of the year the directive leaves temperatures inside many offices closer to those on the streets of another ‘workers paradise,’ Havana.

True to maoist style, Chinese leaders are striving to lead by example.

They have called on office workers to dress in light, casual clothing instead of heavy suits, so that air conditioners do not have to be used so heavily, while President Hu Jintao and a group of other high-profile figures were this week pictured at a conference wearing open-necked shirts rather than their normal jackets and ties.

The energy-slashing campaign comes at a time when Chinese cities have been struggling with record demand for electricity.

As temperatures soared to 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit) in the capital on Tuesday, air conditioning use lifted electricity consumption to 11.22 million kilowatts by late afternoon, the highest in history, said the government’s official Xinhua news agency.

Niu Jincang, a spokesman for Beijing Electric Power Co., said the maximum capacity for the city was 13 million kilowatts, and that the company was taking measures to ensure adequate supplies.

Tiananmen Square was meanwhile empty of its normal crowds this week as visitors sheltered in the shade.

Other parts of the country, including Shanghai, have already suffered from energy shortages this summer and officials have expressed concerns that supply may not be able to keep up with demand during the hot months.

Chinese leaders have set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2010, but failed miserably in 2006, the first year of implementation.

A report earlier this month revealed that the world’s most populated country has now surpassed the US as the biggest producer of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas.

With demand for energy leading to a surge in construction of coal-fired power stations, China’s production of CO2 was pushed to 6,200m tons of CO2 last year, compared with 5,800m tons from the US.

By comparison, the UK produced about 600m tons, according to research produced for the Dutch government.

original report from telegraph.co.uk

Posted in Asia, Beijing, China, City resident, Climate, Economy, Environment, Health, Life, News, People | 1 Comment »

China Overtakes US As World’s Biggest Air Polluter

Posted by Author on June 19, 2007


AFP, published on Independent Online, South Africa, June 19 2007-

China for the first time spewed out more carbon-dioxide emissions last year than the United States, a Dutch government research body said on Tuesday.

“China’s 2006 carbon dioxide emissions surpassed those of the USA by eight percent,” the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP) said.

In 2005 US emissions were up two percent compared to China. The MNP said the figures were based on its own preliminary estimates derived from recent energy and cement production data.

Industrial processes and the burning of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – are the main causes of carbon-dioxide emissions. Of the industrial processes, cement production is one of the principal sources of greenhouse gas, the MNP said. In 2006 China had a 44 percent share in global cement production, it added.

According to the MNP figures, China’s emissions increased by nine percent in 2006 compared to its 2005 output. In the United States emissions rose 1.4 percent from 2005 to 2006. – AFP

– original report from  Independent Online: China beats US at pollution

Posted in air, Asia, China, Climate, Economy, Environment, News, pollution, USA, World | Comments Off on China Overtakes US As World’s Biggest Air Polluter

Air, Land, River Pollution and Social Unrest in China

Posted by Author on June 19, 2007


By John Boudreau, San Jose Mercury News, USA, 17 Jun 2007-

BEIJING – A pale orange sun hangs low over the evening rush hour, a brake-light procession of Mercedes, matchbox-size taxis and accordion-style buses that cuts through a canyon of skyscraper construction cranes.

On this spring evening, as on most days, this city of 15 million souls is wrapped in a churning brown gauze of foul fumes and gritty dirt.

“It’s a pretty strong cocktail of dust particulates, industrial and automotive pollution,” observed Jeremy Goldkorn, a 12-year Beijing resident and Internet entrepreneur. “It’s something a lot of expatriates, especially people from Northern California, find very difficult. You blow your nose and what comes out is black.”

For China, the 21st century holds boundless possibilities. The awakening economic giant could surpass anything that has come before it. But China is also an environmental time bomb.

Its polluted air is not only choking its citizens but also spreading 6,000 miles across the Pacific, giving Californians – even those with no other ties to China – a personal stake in that country’s exploding environmental crisis.

Microscopic soot particles belched from coal-fired plants across the ocean are settling in Sierra Nevada snowpacks. Low levels of mercury from those plants are showing up in soil and water. And dust from expanding deserts in China and elsewhere in Asia can be found in the air high above the state.

Pollution migration is not new – Europeans, for example, get it from the United States. And the current levels of pollutants from Asia do not pose an urgent health or environmental threat. But experts worry about the potential increase of emissions from China as the world’s fastest-growing economy continues to expand. At the very least, pollution from China will add to the cost and difficulty of cleaning up California’s skies.

For decades, the United States has been the world’s largest polluter, taken to task by other countries for its contribution to global warming. This year, however, China’s annual emissions are on pace to overtake those of the United States. Worse, China’s pollution is projected to be double that of all other industrialized nations combined in 25 years, according to the International Energy Agency.

“The concern about China is that it is going through such a rapid industrialization,” said V. Ramanathan, a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. “It is setting up more coal-fired power plants. The number of cars are increasing.”

Hooked on coal: Plants and factories inadequately equipped

Twenty of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in China, and every year more than 300,000 deaths there are attributed to pollution, according to the World Bank.

Much of that pollution comes from the coal-fired plants that produce about 70 percent of China’s energy needs, compared with 50 percent for the United States and 16 percent for California.

But the problem in China is not just the amount of coal burned. Many of its plants and factories have inadequate pollution-control equipment, if any, and that is unlikely to change in coming years. Rising levels of sulfur dioxide from burning coal is causing acid rain.

Foul air is just one ingredient in the toxic stew that is China’s environment. Seventy percent of the country’s lakes and rivers are so polluted they would make humans sick. Every year, about 45 billion tons of industrial waste and raw sewage are dumped in rivers and lakes.

In late 2005, a chemical plant spill contaminated the Songhua River in northern China, forcing the city of Harbin to shut down its drinking water system. Earlier this month, more than a million residents of eastern China were left without drinking water when a fast-spreading, putrid-smelling green algae covered badly polluted Lake Tai.

The northern half of China is “drying out” as water tables fall, lakes vanish and rivers disappear, observed environmental analyst Lester Brown, founder of Washington-based Earth Policy Institute. Much of the water in the southern half of China, meanwhile, is growing ever more polluted.

The land also suffers.

The government recently reported that 10 percent of farmland has been destroyed by pollution and that heavy metals contaminate 12 million tons of grain a year. Toxic food scares have become common in China, and increasingly are a worry in the United States as food imports from China grow.

Rampant deforestation is expanding the country’s deserts and contributing to disruptive spring sandstorms so big they have shown up on NASA satellite photos as giant blobs of brown passing over Asia and California. About 27 percent of China’s land mass is now desert, or becoming desert.

The Gobi Desert in northern China expanded more than 20,000 square miles, about half the size of Pennsylvania, in just six years in the 1990s, Brown noted.

China also has become the electronic-waste garbage dump for the world. A recent report by the Beijing-based Science and Technology Daily, the official newspaper of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said most of the home electronics gadgets discarded by the developed world end up in China.

“The question of the century is: Can China industrialize in a way that does not crush the planet?” said Erik Straser, general partner in MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures of Menlo Park and an expert in energy company investments who has consulted with Chinese officials.

China’s leaders finally have begun to wake up to the toll from the country’s environmental problems. The State Environmental Protection Administration and the National Bureau of Statistics estimated that environmental degradation, pollution-related health problems and lost work days in 2004 came with a $64 billion price tag, or 3.05 percent of the country’s $2 trillion gross domestic product that year. Some experts believe the cost is much higher.

Earlier this month, with pressure building to put a green face on Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, China announced a strategy to grapple with global warming and pollution, though much of it reiterated earlier goals. The plan included tough measures to cut pollution and promote renewable energy. But the government rejected mandatory emissions caps as unfair to China and other developing countries struggling to combat poverty.

“The environment is very, very much an issue,” said Lai Ming, general director of science and technology with the Ministry of Construction. “If we don’t deal with it now, it will definitely hurt the economy in the future.”

Fight against poverty: Balancing economic, environmental needs

But the challenges are daunting. The nation of 1.3 billion people, most of whom live in poverty, must continue to stoke its economic engine while working to avoid environmental disaster.

“Over the last 20 years, people just focused on GDP, GDP,” said Beijing-based Timothy Hui, chief China representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S. environmental advocacy group. “Now, China is looking at its economic growth and environment. But China has no experience at achieving this balance.”

Now, though, mounting evidence suggests China’s pollution poses problems beyond its own borders.

“It’s apparent there is a lot of pollution coming from Asia and that pollution is increasing,” said Steven Cliff, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California-Davis, whose research has detected matter he believes comes from China.

“A persistent Asian plume is evident in the air over California,” said Cliff, whose air-sampling equipment has been placed at Donner Summit, Lassen Peak and Mount Tamalpais. “It looks vaguely smoky. Generally, you see the type of pollution you might expect from large urban areas in Asia, that might be from a diesel engine or a coal-fired power plant for a cement factory.”

Much of the year, Asian pollution – including soot, ash and dust from farms, factories and coal-fired power plants – hovers high above the Golden State and is, on average, equal to a quarter of the state’s legally allowed concentrations of these particles, said Richard “Tony” VanCuren, a researcher with the California Air Resources Board.

China’s pollution drift is “not an immediate major concern” in terms of public health for the state’s major cities, he said, because California’s coastal areas are protected on most days by the so-called marine layer of air, which acts as a shield against pollution at higher altitudes. But VanCuren said the state is now closely tracking the pollution from Asia because “it will drive up the cost of air pollution control.”

The snow-embedded pollution from China adds to damage already being caused by local pollution, said Ross Edwards, associate research professor at the Desert Research Institute in Reno. “It absorbs sunlight from the atmosphere and melts the snow faster,” he said. “It impacts our ability to store water and contributes to global warming.”

Scripps scientist Ramanathan is embarking on a one-year state-funded study of the trans-Pacific pollution over the Golden State. Using unmanned aircraft and snowpack monitoring devices, he hopes to determine how much pollution is coming from China and what it is doing to local climates.

‘The River Runs Black’: Polluted water sparks protests and riots

Although China’s pollution may be a growing worry for other countries, the brunt of the harm falls on the Chinese.

“One hundred ninety-million Chinese are drinking water that is making them sick,” observed Elizabeth Economy, director of Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of “The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China’s Future.”

Growing health concerns from environmental calamities, such as industrial waste dumped into rivers that provide drinking water to rural communities, have triggered thousands of riots and protests across the countryside.

“It could undermine our social stability,” said Ma Jun, a Beijing-based environmental crusader who heads the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. “The pollution is way beyond our environmental capacity, and it’s increasing,” he added.

Yet China’s growing middle class – estimated to be about 125 million – wants the kind of lifestyle enjoyed by those in the car-loving West. That is evident on Beijing’s wide streets and in auto dealerships that dot the city. China is now the world’s second-largest market for automobiles, and the third-largest car producer.

Every year, about 300,000 new vehicles hit Beijing’s streets, adding to the nearly 3 million already crowding the city.

“Money is no problem,” said car shopper Zhang Qiang, 23, who had grown tired of his 1-year-old Buick and was ready for a new set of wheels.

Chinese such as Zhang want to live like middle-class Americans, said Douglas Ogden, director of the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation’s China Sustainable Energy Program. But he warned that if China reaches current American levels of consumption, it will be disastrous for the planet.

“If each Chinese were to consume the same amount of energy as the average American does, China would be adding 150 percent more carbon dioxides into the atmosphere than does the rest of the world,” he said. “The clock is ticking. We are getting to five minutes before midnight.”

Contact John Boudreau at jboudreau@mercurynews.com or (408) 278-3496

– original report from San Jose Mercury News: Shadow over China’s boom – ECONOMIC PROGRESS COMES WITH A PRICE

Posted in air, Asia, Beijing, China, Climate, Economy, Environment, Food, Health, Life, medical, News, Report, River, Social, water, World | 4 Comments »

China About To Become Top Carbon Emitter

Posted by Author on April 21, 2007


The Financial Times, April 19 2007-

China will overtake the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) either this year or next, the International Energy Agency said on Wednesday.

The estimate is much firmer than the IEA’s previous forecast, last November, that on current trends China would overtake the United States before 2010.

”Either this year or next year,” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told Reuters, in answer to the question of when China would overtake the United States.

The IEA is energy adviser to 26 rich nations and Birol is a key author of the Paris-based agency’s annual World Energy Outlook report.

China is set to become the world’s top carbon emitter just as serious talks start to extend the U.N.-sponsored Kyoto Protocol on global warming beyond 2012, potentially heaping pressure on Beijing to take more action on climate change.

A copy of a so-far unpublished Chinese government global warming report, seen by Reuters, rejects binding caps on carbon emissions until the country’s modernisation, by the middle of this century, opting instead to brake emissions growth.

The United States, which pulled out of Kyoto in 2001, would not join a new climate change regime unless it also applied to China and India, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union said on Wednesday.

”There will be no comprehensive global warming legislation coming out of the United States… that does not include limits or a programme for China, India and the rest of the developing world,” Ambassador C. Boyden Gray told Reuters in an interview ahead of an April 30 U.S.-EU summit.

Few Western climate negotiators expect China to accept caps from 2013 but do want to see a timeline for that. …… ( more from Financial Times’s report )

Posted in air, China, Climate, Environment, News, pollution, World | Comments Off on China About To Become Top Carbon Emitter

Pollution Leaving China Mountains High and Dry, Study Finds

Posted by Author on March 8, 2007


Anne Minard, for National Geographic News, DC, USA, March 8, 2007-

Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels in China is depriving nearby hills and mountains of rain and snow.

That’s the finding of a new study led by Daniel Rosenfeld, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Jerusalem’s Institute of Earth Sciences, in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

To research the effects of pollution on high-altitude areas, Rosenfeld and his colleagues combined records of visibility, precipitation, and tiny pollution particles in the air—known as aerosols—on Mount Hua, near Xi’an in central China.

The results showed that the aerosols are causing clouds to withhold their moisture in hilly regions.

The findings explain the 10 to 25 percent drop in rainfall that has occurred at higher altitudes downwind of cities compared to lowland areas, the team said.

Aerosols are competing to attract the limited moisture in clouds, which reduces the size of water droplets, Rosenfeld explained. Smaller droplets in turn take more time to combine to form raindrops.

“It creates short-lived clouds,” he said. “You don’t have enough time for rain to fall before they get to the downwind side of the hills.”

Worldwide Phenomenon

Scientists have long suspected a connection between pollution and decreased rainfall in many parts of the world.

But there no solid proof until Rosenfeld hit upon a scientific gold mine in China: records of visibility going back 50 years.

Using that data, his team has made a direct connection between aerosols and rainfall on a local scale that’s been missing from observations in other parts of the world.

“It’s an important story,” said William Woodley, who has been documenting the same effect in the Sierra Nevada mountain range downwind of San Francisco, California, for the California Energy Commission.

“[The new study is] corroborating and buttressing what we’ve been doing in California.”

While some governments have taken steps to limit so-called large-particle emissions, research by Rosenfeld, Woodley, and others is showing that even small particles like aerosols can affect weather both on local and global scales.

Earlier this week, a separate study linked Asian pollution with an increase in storm severity in the Pacific and—perhaps more importantly—changes in global air and heat circulation that may be linked to warming in the polar regions.

(Read the story: “Asia Pollution Changing World’s Weather, Scientists Say” [March 6, 2007].)

Rosenfeld says all of the new studies represent a growing awareness of the effects of human activity on the global climate.

“Here we see there is much more than temperature change and rising sea levels,” he said.

“By polluting the air and clouds we are likely changing our weather patterns and water resources.”

Related:
North America Weather Affected by China and India Air Pollution, Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2007

Posted in China, Climate, Environment, News, NW China, pollution, Shaanxi, USA, World, Xi’an | Comments Off on Pollution Leaving China Mountains High and Dry, Study Finds

Book to read: The Coming China Wars

Posted by Author on March 2, 2007


InformIt.com-

Name of the book: Coming China Wars, The: Where They Will Be Fought and How They Can Be Won
Author: Peter Navarro.
Published by: Financial Times Prentice Hall.
ISBN-10: 0-13-228128-7;
ISBN-13: 978-0-13-228128-7;
Published: Oct 19, 2006; Copyright 2007;
Dimensions 6×9;
Pages: 288;
Edition: 1st.

Book Description

China’s breakneck industrialization is placing it on a collision course with the entire world. Tomorrow’s China Wars will be fought over everything from decent jobs, livable wages, and leading-edge technologies to strategic resources such as oil, copper, and steel…even food, water, and air.

In The Coming China Wars, best-selling author Peter Navarro previews all these potential conflicts—and reveals the urgent, radical decisions that must be made to avoid catastrophe.

You’ll learn how China’s thirst for oil is driving nuclear proliferation in Iran, genocide in the Sudan, even Japan’s remilitarization. You’ll discover China’s shocking role in the drug trade and how its reborn flesh trade may help trigger tomorrow’s worst AIDS crisis.

Navarro also reveals how China has become the world’s most ruthless imperialist…how it is promoting global environmental disaster… and, perhaps most terrifying of all, how this nuclear superpower and pirate nation may be spiraling toward internal chaos.

The threat is real. We all must come to understand it and then act! Start here and now by arming yourself with the information and insights of The Coming China Wars.

The “China Price”: Conquering the world’s export markets

The real story behind China’s “weapons of mass production”

China versus U.S.: The “blood for oil” flashpoints

The coming U.S./China showdown over oil

Pirate Nation: China’s state-sanctioned thievery

How China’s counterfeit drugs and products can literally kill you

Triggering tomorrow’s worst AIDS crisis

China’s 21st century flesh trade: The seeds of a global health disaster

Comments:

“Peter Navarro has captured the breadth of areas where China and the United States have fundamental conflicts of business, economic and strategic interests. He puts this into a global context demonstrating where China’s current development course can lead to conflict. His recommendations for nations to coalesce to respond to the challenges posed by China are practical. This book should be in the hands of every businessperson, economist and policy-maker.”
–Dr. Larry M. Wortzel, Chairman, US-China Economic and Security Review Commission

“The Coming China Wars is a gripping, fact-filled account of the dark side of China’s rise that will be of interest to anyone interested in this complex and fascinating country. Navarro makes no pretense toward searching for the middle ground in the China debate. He issues a call to arms for China and the rest of the world to act now to address the country’s mounting problems–pollution, public health, intellectual property piracy, resource scarcity and more–or risk both serious instability within China and military conflict between China and other major powers.”
– Elizabeth C. Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

“What Al Gore does for climate change, Peter Navarro does for China. This book will hit you right between the eyes. A gargantuan wake-up call.”
– Stuart L. Hart, S.C. Johnson Chair of Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University, Author of “Capitalism at the Crossroads”

“This is a well researched and illuminating book and is a necessary counter to a large body of opinion that posits an inevitable and even peaceful rise of China and chooses to ignore most of the author’s message.”
– Richard Fisher, Vice President, International Assessment and Strategy Center

original report from InformIt.com

Posted in AIDS, books, China, Climate, Economy, employment, Environment, Health, Human Rights, income, Law, Life, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Rural, Social, sweatshop, Trade, Worker, World | Comments Off on Book to read: The Coming China Wars

 
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