Posts tagged ‘climate’


China must spend $330 billion more to do fair share on climate – report | Reuters

China must increase spending on emission cuts and clean technologies by 2 trillion yuan ($330 billion) to do its fair share to halt climate change, a report by Beijing\’s Central University of Finance and Economics said.

It urged the government to raise money from carbon markets to fund investments.

The report\’s conclusion contrasted with China\’s official policy that the main responsibility for ramping up action against climate change rests with developed nations.

China, the world\’s biggest-emitting nation, has already pledged to spend 520 billion yuan to help prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2C, according to Chen Bo, co-author of the report.

But that is only a fifth of what is needed if China – trailing only the United States on the list of history\’s biggest carbon emitters – is to shoulder a proportionate burden in global efforts to stop climate change, the report said.

The main responsibility for ratcheting up the extra funds should fall on the government, it said.

via China must spend $330 billion more to do fair share on climate – report | Reuters.

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Growing Concerns About Pollution And Public Health In China

BusinessWeek: “Recently, I was invited to the Beijing apartment of a Chinese friend in his mid-20s. An attentive host, he brought out a tray of washed grapes, but looked dubious when I was about to simply eat one. Because the grapes were almost surely sprayed with too many pesticides—and perhaps other dangerous chemicals—he explained that it was foolish to eat them directly and urged me to peel each grape first.

Growing Concerns About Pollution And Public Health In China

His reflexive wariness about food grown or packaged in China is hardly unique among college-educated Beijing residents. Some 38 percent of Chinese respondents told a recent Pew Research Center poll (PDF) that food safety is a “very big problem” in China. That’s up significantly from 2008, when only 12 percent of respondents agreed.

The Pew research team, which conducted 3,226 face-to-face interviews this spring, uncovered rising levels of concern about sundry public health issues in China. Fully 47 percent of respondents rated air pollution a “very big problem,” and 40 percent said the same of water pollution. That’s up from 31 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in 2008. Poll respondents who were younger (under age 30), wealthy, and living in cities were the most likely to express worry about food safety and product safety.”

via Growing Concerns About Pollution And Public Health In China – Businessweek.

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China gets stake in Russian potash giant to secure supply

A few days ago, China acquired vast areas of farming land from Ukraine, now it is acquiring a secure source of fertiliser.  It’s determined that the population gets fed!

Reuters: “China acquired a 12.5 percent stake in Russian potash producer Uralkali (URKA.MM) in a deal that could help Beijing secure stable supplies of the soil nutrient, put new pressure on prices and reduce the chances of a Russia-Belarus cartel being revived.

A general view of a Uralkali potash mine near the city of Berezniki in the Perm region close to Russia's Ural mountains August 26, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The investment by China’s $575 billion sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC) CIC.UL is the latest twist in a saga that began when the world’s leading potash producer quit the lucrative sales partnership with Belarus in July and led to the company’s chief executive being jailed.

Under the deal, Uralkali said on Tuesday that CIC had received the stake in a bond exchange deal with Wadge Holdings Ltd, which belongs to three shareholders including oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.

The deal is a rare example of China, the world’s largest consumer of potash, acquiring direct ownership of Russian natural resource assets, although it is only the latest in a series of commodity-related investments by CIC.

It also coincides with speculation that Kerimov might sell his 21.75 percent holding over a dispute that has soured Russia-Belarus relations.

Uralkali sent the $20 billion global potash market into turmoil when it quit the marketing alliance with state-owned Belaruskali. Belarus hit back by arresting CEO Vladislav Baumgertner after talks with the country’s prime minister.

Some investors believe the Kremlin wants to repair the alliance to avert a possible collapse in the price of potash, which accounts for 12 percent of Belarus’s state revenue.

“I can see little chance that the government would allow the Chinese fund to acquire a much larger stake,” said Boris Krasnojenov, an analyst at Renaissance Capital in Moscow.

“There is no similar precedent in Russia, and the eventual buyer would probably be a Russian player.”

There are no negotiations to sell Kerimov’s personal stake to CIC, a source close to the businessman told Reuters.”

via China gets stake in Russian potash giant to secure supply | Reuters.


The politics of Chinese dam-building: Opening the floodgates

The Economist: “CHINA has many good reasons not to build the $5.2 billion Xiaonanhai dam on the Yangzi river in Chongqing. The site, on a gentle slope that moves water along only slowly, is not ideal for generating hydropower. The fertile soil makes it one of China’s most productive regions, so it is densely populated with farmers reaping good harvests. And the dam (see map), which would produce only 10% of the electricity of the Three Gorges project downstream, could destroy a rare fish preserve, threatening several endangered species including the Yangzi sturgeon.

Yet it does not matter how strong the case may be against Xiaonanhai, because the battle against a hydropower scheme in China is usually lost before it is fought. The political economy of dam-building is rigged. Though the Chinese authorities have made much progress in evaluating the social and environmental impact of dams, the emphasis is still on building them, even when mitigating the damage would be hard. Critics have called it the “hydro-industrial complex”: China has armies of water engineers (including Hu Jintao, the former president) and at least 300 gigawatts of untapped hydroelectric potential. China’s total generating capacity in 2012 was 1,145GW, of which 758GW came from coal-burning plants.

An important motive for China to pursue hydropower is, ironically, the environment. China desperately needs to expand its energy supply while reducing its dependence on carbon-based fuels, especially coal. The government wants 15% of power consumption to come from clean or renewable sources by 2020, up from 9% now. Hydropower is essential for achieving that goal, as is nuclear power. “Hydro, including large hydro in China, is seen as green,” says Darrin Magee, an expert on Chinese dams at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state.

There is also a political reason why large hydro schemes continue to go ahead. Dambuilders and local governments have almost unlimited power to plan and approve projects, whereas environmental officials have almost no power to stop them.”

via The politics of dam-building: Opening the floodgates | The Economist.

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China to cut coal use, shut polluters, in bid to clear the air

China‘s fight against pollution continues unabated. Hope it is enough to save China (and the world).

Reuters: “China unveiled comprehensive new measures to tackle air pollution on Thursday, with plans to slash coal consumption and close polluting mills, factories and smelters, but experts said implementing the bold targets would be a major challenge.Vehicles past apartment blocks during rush hour in Beijing July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China has been under heavy pressure to address the causes of air pollution after thick, hazardous smog engulfed much of the industrial north, including the capital, Beijing, in January.

It has also been anxious to head off potential sources of unrest as an increasingly affluent urban population turns against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has spoiled much of China’s air, water and soil.

China published the plan on its official website (, also promising to boost nuclear power and natural gas use. Environmentalists welcomed the plan but were skeptical about its effective implementation.

“The coal consumption reduction targets for key industrial areas are a good sign they are taking air pollution and public health more seriously, but to make those targets happen, the action plan is a bit disappointing and there are loopholes,” said Huang Wei, a campaigner with Greenpeace in Beijing.

Beijing has struggled to get wayward provinces and industries to adhere to its anti-pollution measures and there were few concrete measures in the new plan to help strengthen its ability to monitor and punish those who violate the rules.

“We don’t see any fundamental structural changes, and this could be a potential risk in China’s efforts to meet targets to reduce PM 2.5,” said Huang, referring to China’s plan to cut a key indicator of air pollution by 25 percent in Beijing and surrounding provinces by 2017.

Coal, which supplies more than three-quarters of China’s total electricity needs, has been identified as one of the main areas it needs to tackle. China would cut total consumption of the fossil fuel to below 65 percent of primary energy use by 2017 under the new plan, down from 66.8 percent last year.

Green groups were expecting the action plan to include detailed regional coal consumption cuts, but those cuts appear to have been left to the provinces to settle themselves.

Northern Hebei province, China‘s biggest steel-producing region, has announced it would slash coal use by 40 million metric tons over the 2012-2015 period.

Other targets in the plan were also generally in line with a previous plans. It said it would aim to raise the share of non-fossil fuel energy to 13 percent by 2017, up from 11.4 percent in 2012. Its previous target stood at 15 percent by 2020.

To help meet that target, it would raise installed nuclear capacity to 50 gigawatts (GW) by 2017, up from 12.5 GW now and slightly accelerating a previous 2020 target of 58 GW.

It would add 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas trunk pipeline transmission capacity by the end of 2015 to cover industrial areas like the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas in the east and southeast.”

via China to cut coal use, shut polluters, in bid to clear the air | Reuters.

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Holding back the sands of time

China Daily: “Desert dwellers are slowly reclaiming cultivatable land, as Cui Jia and Mao Weihua report from Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Holding back the sands of time

Hotan prefecture in the southwest of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region is famous for two things: jade and sand. The locals still try to pluck the precious stones from the dry bed of the Yurungkash River, also known as the White Jade River, but the rising value of jade means the place has almost been picked clean after repeated treasure hunts, so the chances of making new discoveries are slim. However, in this area bordering the Taklimakan, the world’s second-largest desert, the sand will never disappear.

Almost every one in Hotan lives close to the more than 300 oases, large and small, that are dotted around the southern edge of the Taklimakan. Those enclosed by the desert only account for 3.7 percent of Hotan’s total area. As a result, people have to cope with windborne sand for more than 260 days a year. On a bad day, they have to be prepared to seek cover from sandstorms, which can blacken the sky within minutes and without warning. In addition to the health problems posed by the storms, sand carried at high speed can erode buildings and strip the paintwork from vehicles.

A new artificial greenbelt in Hotan county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. Photos by Mao Weihua / China Daily

In Hotan, the transition between oases, fed by the floodwater from northern Hotan’s Kunlun Mountains, and the desert is almost instantaneous. One minute the scenery along the road is pure yellow desert and the next, tall poplar trees on both sides of the road suddenly begin to provide comfortable shade from the searing heat.

“At the current rate, the prefecture has been losing 33 square kilometers of oases every year, due to the invasion of the Taklimakan and the construction of infrastructure. Meanwhile, the local population is booming, so we have no choice but to create about 66 sq km of oases every year,” said Chen Baojun, Party chief of the prefecture’s forestry bureau, who has 20 years experience in desertification control.

He said the sand from the Taklimakan can be carried as far away as Beijing and sometimes even as far as Japan, meaning control of desertification in Hotan has both a national and international resonance.

Qira county was once a kingdom on the ancient Silk Road in the days of the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220). The county seat has relocated north three times because the sands have eaten up the cultivatable land. The first relocation occurred more than 2,000 years ago and the most recent about 620 years ago.

In the 1980s, the county seat faced yet another relocation because the desert was only about 1.5 km away. Many locals were forced to move because their houses were buried under sand, often overnight.

It was at that point that the government stepped in to provide measures against desertification. In the days before the measures, the locals tried to prevent the sand from encroaching on their homes by erecting fences around the houses, said Chen.”

via Holding back the sands of time[1]|

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China gets tough on air pollution

China Daily: “Updated action plan drawn up in response to severe smog at start of the year, Wu Wencong reports

China gets tough on air pollution

The toughest-ever measures to tackle China’s worsening air pollution have been announced by the government.

The Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan (2013-17) unveiled on Thursday sets out goals for the nation’s 338 cities.

A couple in Beijing’s Jingshan Park take photos against the background of a smog-shrouded Forbidden City as bad air pollution hit the capital on June 30. ZHUO ENSEN / FOR CHINA DAILY

The plan aims for a marked improvement in air quality over the next five years, said Wang Jian, deputy head of the Pollution Prevention and Control Department at the Environmental Protection Ministry.

The concentration levels of breathable suspended particles with a diameter of 10 microns — known as PM10 — or less, must fall by at least 10 percent by 2017 from the levels in 2012.

Tougher objectives have been set for some key areas.

For the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regional cluster, concentration levels of PM2.5 particles — those smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, which can penetrate deep into the lungs — must be cut by 25 percent by 2017 from the 2012 level, under the plan.

The target for the Yangtze River Delta region is a reduction of 20 percent and for the Pearl River Delta region it is a cut of about 15 percent.

The plan takes into account pollution and economic development in different areas, with the aim of reducing PM2.5 levels in the three key regions and PM10 levels in the other cities, Wang said.

“But this does not mean that controlling PM2.5 is not important in the other regions, as PM2.5 particles account for 50 to 60 percent of PM10 particles,” he added.

The plan is an updated version of one released late last year that was designed to tackle air pollution in 13 key areas.

via China gets tough on air pollution[1]|

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Hard Facts on China

I believe that the data in the referenced material below is valid, but not sure of the conclusions.


China’s Coal Thirst Strains Its Water Supplies

BusinessWeek: “The Wulanmulun River once ran through Daliuta, a town in China’s northern Shaanxi province. All that remains of the waterway today is a pond, which locals say is contaminated by waste from the world’s biggest underground coal mine. Environmentalists also contend that mining is sapping the area’s groundwater supplies. “I worry about the water,” says Zhe Mancang, the 58-year-old owner of a liquor store in town. “But my family’s here, and my customers are from the mines.”

The once-mighty Xiang River, in Changsha, Hunan province

Daliuta is the epicenter of a looming collision between China’s scarce supplies of water and heavy reliance on coal, which diverts millions of liters a day for its extraction and cleaning. “You can’t reconcile targets for coal production in, say, Shaanxi province and Inner Mongolia with their water targets,” says Charles Yonts, head of sustainable research at brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Hong Kong.

About 28,000 rivers have dried up across China since 1990, according to the country’s Ministry of Water Resources and National Bureau of Statistics of China, and those that remain are mostly polluted. China’s per-person share of fresh water is 1,730 cubic meters, close to the 1,700 cubic meter level the United Nations deems “stressed.”

The situation is worse in the north, where half of China’s population, most of its coal, and only 20 percent of its water are located. A government plan to boost coal production and build more power plants near mines will lift industrial demand for water in Inner Mongolia 141 percent by 2015 from 2010 levels, causing aquifers to dry up and deserts to expand, according to a report Greenpeace commissioned from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “After five years there won’t be enough water in Ordos in Inner Mongolia,” says Sun Qingwei, director of the climate and energy campaign at Greenpeace in Beijing. “The mines are stealing groundwater from agriculture. Local governments want their economies to boom.”

China’s central government is responding with tighter limits on water usage, a new approach to rates that allows for steep price increases, and plans to spend 4 trillion yuan ($652 billion) by 2020 to boost water infrastructure. Rules enacted this year require the manufacturing hubs of Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces and Shanghai to reduce water use every year even as their economies expand. In May 2012 authorities in the city of Guangzhou hiked prices 50 percent for residents and 89 percent for industrial users to help pay for improvements in the water supply, according to an April report by Goldman Sachs Group (GS).

To alleviate shortages in the north, the central government in 2002 approved the 500 billion yuan South-to-North water diversion project. The plan is to move 44.8 billion cubic meters of water from the Yangtze River annually along three routes. The first leg, slated for completion this year, will measure 1,467 kilometers, roughly double the length of the Erie Canal.

Even this massive undertaking may not be enough: A 2009 report by a group that includes Coca-Cola (KO) and SABMiller (SBMRY) noted that China’s annual demand may exceed supply by as much as 200 billion cubic meters by 2030, unless “major capital investments to strengthen water supplies are made beyond those presently planned.”

Chinese industry uses 4 to 10 times more water per unit of production than the average in developed countries, according to research firm China Water Risk in Hong Kong. Only 40 percent of industrial water is recycled, compared with 75 percent to 85 percent in developed countries, the World Bank says.

If the situation becomes dire enough, companies might consider transferring production elsewhere. “In an absolute worst case you’d see a large-scale shift in economic activity and population further south for lack of water, and manufacturing increasingly moving abroad,” says Scott Moore, a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Sustainability Science Program.

Farmers in some parts of China are already paying the price, as they have to dig deeper and deeper wells to find clean water or are being forced out by local governments who see bigger economic gains from mining. In Zhanggaijie village, in Shaanxi province, Li Qiaoling says she is one of 200 people awaiting compensation after a coal mine polluted the local water supply. Officials have also promised to relocate the villagers. “We’re angry because we have to leave,” says Li, who still grows corn on her small plot, despite the contamination. “We’re worried about moving to a strange place.”

via China’s Coal Thirst Strains Its Water Supplies – Businessweek.


China to invest $375 billion on energy conservation, pollution: paper

Reuters: “China plans to invest 2.3 trillion yuan ($375 billion) in energy saving and emission-reduction projects in the five years through 2015 to clean up its environment, the China Daily newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a senior government official.

The plan, which has been approved by the State Council, is on top of a 1.85 trillion yuan investment in the renewable energy sector, underscoring the government’s concerns about addressing a key source of social discontent.

China has set a target of reducing its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level, and raising non-fossil energy consumption to 15 percent of its energy mix, Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), was quoted as saying.

As part of broader plans to curb pollution, the government will also roll out tiered power pricing for eight energy intensive industries, while sectors that struggle with overcapacity will face higher power tariffs, Xie said.

The government will also gradually expand a carbon trading pilot program to more cities starting from 2015, with the aim of creating a national market, he said.

Seven cities and provinces, including Shanghai, were ordered by the NDRC in late 2011 to set up regional carbon trading markets.”

via China to invest $375 billion on energy conservation, pollution: paper | Reuters.

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