China Daily: “Trade and investment deals and business cooperation have been the focus of Premier Wen Jiabao’s tour to four European nations this week. Such fare is common for such visits, but
Wen Jiabao (温家宝), Chinese Premier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
there was a new ingredient in the latest trip: Wen and his delegation have been paying particular attention to green and innovative industries in almost every destination of the seven-day visit, which ends on April 29.
As China switches from high growth to sustainability in the current five-year plan and as the country’s foreign trade growth slows, politicians, businesses and industrial leaders from China and Europe are seeing more opportunities in each others markets. Before his scheduled arrival in Warsaw on April 27, Wen pressed for global action on sustainable development that strikes a balance between economic growth, social progress and environmental protection, instead of focusing exclusively on the environment, at the Stockholm+40 conference in Sweden.”
via Wen paints Europe green in 4-nation trip|News|chinadaily.com.cn.
This relatively new theme of ‘sustainability’ goes along with strenuous efforts to reduce carbon and increase renewable energy sources. Good for China and good for the world.
Related page: http://chindia-alert.org/economic-factors/greening-of-china/
The Times, London: “Asia’s mightiest solar power farm has been switched on in the Indian desert state of Gujarat. It is part of a drive to transform the region into one of the world’s leading green energy producers and to provide electricity to some of the 400 million people who still have no access to it.
The Gujarat Solar Park, which spans a remote 3,000 acres near the border with Pakistan, started generating 214 megawatts of electricity, sufficient to power 90,000 British households, over the weekend. The huge array of solar panels outstrips China’s 200MW Golmud Solar Park as the biggest in Asia. An official said that eventually the facility would reach a capacity of 1,000MW (edit – equivalent to a nuclear power station), bigger than any other single existing solar power plant in the world.
India, which is heavily dependent on imported coal, oil and gas for its energy requirements, is still chronically short of electricity and is aiming to build 20,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020.”
via Solar giant turns the desert green and blue in Gujarat | The Times.
Reuters: “A senior White House aide said on Saturday that China had made some progress toward easing restrictions on its currency but stressed the United States wanted to see more actions taken.
At a briefing with reporters in Colombia, where President Barack Obama is attending a summit with Latin American leaders, White House adviser Ben Rhodes said the Obama administration was closely reviewing Beijing’s announcement that it was doubling the size of its yuan’s trading band against the dollar. “It comes in the continuum of us wanting to see the Chinese take more of these steps to see their currency appreciate to come in line with market value,” Rhodes said. “They’ve made some progress. We’d like to see more movement.”
“The Peoples Bank of China said on Saturday it would allow the yuan to rise or fall 1 percent from a mid-point every day, effective Monday, compared to its previous 0.5 percent limit. Currency experts said the move reflected a belief in Beijing that the currency is near its equilibrium level and that China’s economy, although cooling, is sturdy enough to handle long-promised structural reforms.
China’s currency is a sensitive topic in the United States, where many business leaders believe an undervalued yuan gives Chinese exports an unfair price advantage on global markets.”
via U.S. says China making progress on currency, urges more | Reuters.
Maps of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China Español: Región autónoma de Xinjiang (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Xinhua: “Senior Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang on Thursday demanded infrastructure be improved in the western Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region through projects supported by central government.
Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China CPC Central Committee, urged authorities to give more support to the construction of major projects in the region, including irrigation systems, reservoirs, railways, electricity and natural gas schemes. Antiquated public facilities had created a major bottleneck constraining the regions development, Zhou said at a meeting attended by representatives from the National Development and Reform Commission, the central bank, and ministries of finance, railways, and water resources. These departments and a group of large state-owned enterprises and commercial banks have been tasked to assist the projects.
Zhou called for more financial support and administrative coordination to push forward these projects, which he said will help enhance the regions capability of self-initiated development, ensure sound economic and social development, and create more jobs. The projects should benefit Xinjiang by improving people’s livelihoods, promoting ethnic solidarity and maintaining social stability, according to Zhou. He also demanded efforts to avoid illegal land use, prevent excessive exploitation of resources and protect the environment in Xinjiang.”
via Senior leader underlines infrastructure building in Xinjiang – Xinhua | English.news.cn.
In geopolitical terms, India is lagging behind China in wooing Africa. This is despite a longer history of involvement mainly engendered by British colonialism that imported 100s of thousands of Indian labourers into Africa. Most of whom, a few generations later rose to become the commercial and middle class citizens. Though in Uganda, they ere thrown out by Idi Amin to Britain’s benefit where the Indians have established themselves as excellent business people and professionals at all levels.
Extract from the Hindu: “Noting that economies of developing countries are impacted by climate change, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday pitched for greater cooperation between Asian and African countries to address short and long term challenges in this regard.
“I believe that in the future we will need to tackle the short term and long term environmental challenges that our economies face,” Dr. Singh said while addressing the inaugural function of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation in New Delhi.
Exhorting the scientists and experts to reflect on suitable technology to address the issue, Dr. Singh said, “Our scientists and experts have to reflect on technologies and processes that are most suitable for our rural conditions and circumstances, both in Africa and in Asia.” Underlining the need for African and Asian countries to work jointly, he said, “We have to work together to build a favourable international regime that enables us to access funds and green technologies for rural growth“. …
Noting that three quarters of world’s poor live in Asia and Africa, the Prime Minister said, “Rural reconstruction and poverty eradication are fundamental to our plans for sustainable development and inclusive growth.”
See also: http://chindia-alert.org/2012/12/31/question-who-did-china-woo-in-2012/
China Daily: “Shanghai will spend 10.3 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) on air pollution reduction over the next three years, local environmental protection authorities said Wednesday.
The amount represents a 40-percent increase over the amount spent over the last three years combined, the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection said in a statement.
Shanghai will also begin using the PM2.5 air quality standard in June, a much stricter standard than the PM10 standard currently in place. The PM2.5 standard applies to fine particles thatare believed to pose greater health risks than larger particles.
Local environmental protection authorities will help coal-fired power plants cut emissions and help coal-fired boilers find clean energy sources, the statement said.
In addition, the city will implement the tighter National 5 vehicle emission standard, equivalent to the Euro 5 emission standard applied to passenger and light vehicles in EU member countries,in 2013 or 2014, it said.”
Yet another piece of positive news about the environonment.
China Daily: “Underground water extraction will be halted by 2014 in the urban areas of Beijing asauthorities seek to prevent further land subsidence, or sinking, in the city.
The 800 water extraction wells within the fifth ring road areas in 2012 will be closed as part ofan effort to conserve underground water, Yu Yaping, a publicity official at the Beijing WaterAuthority, said.
The North-South Water Diversion Project will bring 1 billion cubicmeters of water supply to Beijing in 2014. The water could satisfyone-third of the total water demand in Beijing, which was 3.6 billioncubic meters in 2011.
The water diversion project is designed to take water from China’slongest river, the Yangtze River, to feed the drought-prone areasin the north, including Beijing and Tianjin.”
Yet another example of government action on environmental issues.
See also: http://chindia-alert.org/economic-factors/greening-of-china/
China Daily: “China aims to cut its energy consumption per unit of industrial value-added output by21 percent during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), the Ministry of Industry andInformation Technology said Monday.
China is expected to save the equivalent of 670 million tons of coal during the five years,according to the country’s industrial energy conservation plan for the 2011-2015 period postedon the ministry’s website.
The plan also sets detailed targets for cuts by several energy-intensive sectors. The steel,nonferrous, petrochemical and electronics industries are required to reduce their energy useper unit of value-added output by 18 percent from 2010.
The chemical engineering, building materials and textile sectors must cut their energyconsumption per unit of output by 20 percent, while the machinery industry should target a 22-percent fall in energy use per unit of output, according to the plan.
The government has adopted a slew of measures to promote energy savings and emissionreductions and to ease its increasing thirst for energy, including phasing out polluting industriesand building energy-saving buildings.”
As I commented elsewhere, China seems to have decided that the Year of the Dragon (c2012) is the year it will crackdown on corruption, migrants’ and individual rights, pollution and other environmental issues.
China Daily: “Thousands of villagers in the lead-contaminated regions of Lingbao, in Central China’s Henan province, are scheduled to move in May into newly-built houses that area safer distance from lead refineries, local government officials said.
Zhao Tie’an, head of Yuling township in Lingbao, told China Daily that the government has built 102 houses for the residents of Xiayao village, where 355 out of 364 children under age 14 were found to have excessive lead in their blood last July.”
There seems to be a concerted effort by Government to counter the effects of pollution and corrusption. This is one of several actions announced in the last few weeks alone.
Xinhua: China’s deserts are shrinking by 7,585 sq km annually, compared with an annual expansion of 10,400 sq km at the end of last century. The decrease showed the desertification that started in China in the late 1990s had been “primarily brought under control,” said Zhu Lieke, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration.
China has 2.64 million sq km of land eaten up by desertification, which accounts for 27.46 percent of its land territory.
The Chinese government invests 2 billion yuan (250 million U.S.dollars) a year in fighting desertification, but it is difficult to hit the target that all the country’s “curable” desertified land will be restored by 2050. It would cost at least 238.5 billion yuan (29.8 billion U.S. dollars) to reach the goal, said Zhu.
Both the reduction of deserts and the diversion of water from southern to northern rivers, and – of course – the Three Gorges Dam, are signs that a country where the majority of top leaders are trained and experienced engineers will find engineering solutions to its problems. See - http://chindiapedia.org/Politicslocalandgeo.aspx
See also: http://chindia-alert.org/economic-factors/greening-of-china/