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Feb052011

Green China - News & Current Affairs for February 2011

 

 

GREEN CHINA

Photo from the book 'Green China' by Heather Angel which you can order here

 Heather Angel Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Sputnik

Most people would assume that 20 years from now when historians look back at 2008-09, they will conclude that the most important thing to happen in this period was the Great Recession. I’d hold off on that. If we can continue stumbling out of this economic crisis, I believe future historians may well conclude that the most important thing to happen in the last 18 months was that Red China decided to become Green China NYT 28/9/09.

 

So while America’s Republicans turned “climate change” into a four-letter word — J-O-K-E — China’s Communists also turned it into a four-letter word — J-O-B-S. NYT 21/9/2010

 

 

ARCHIVE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CCTV9 - Dialogue 30 Minute Discussion - Mending fences in Cancun; China's green campaign

 

 

 See Over for January 2011

 

 

China Daily   26/2/2011

Sectors pile pressure on 2015 energy goal

CPI report shows consumption rise in construction, transport

BEIJING - Construction and transport have become China's largest energy-consuming sectors, according to research released in Beijing on Friday.

A study by Climate Policy Initiative shows energy use in the building sector grew 28 percent from 2005 to 2008 due to rapid urbanization, with carbon emissions rising 25 percent.

Energy consumption in the transport sector also grew 25 percent over the same period and increased rapidly after 2008 due to the 4-trillion-yuan ($608 billion) economic stimulus package, which mainly went to infrastructure construction.

The changes did not hamper China from achieving its goal in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent, said the study report.

 

Three Gorges Project to be completed in 5 yrs

YICHANG - All construction works on the Three Gorges Project will have been completed by 2015, said a spokesman with the developer, China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC), Friday.

 

China to move 190,000 for water diversion

BEIJING - Some 190,000 local residents in central China will be resettled this year to make way for the country's  south-north water diversion project, a senior official said on Friday.

 

The Fight of ‘The Warriors of Qiugang’

In 2004, Zhang Gongli began a legal battle to rid his community of pollution caused by a nearby pesticide plant. The farmer’s once-idyllic village of Qiugang in China’s eastern Anhui province had become choked with toxic waste: Residents fell ill, crops suffered and waters filled with dead fish.

Mr. Zhang’s years-long struggle is the subject of “The Warriors of Qiugang”.

 


Watch the whole documentary HERE

 

CCTV 24/2/2011

CCTV China reviews vehicle tax bill VIDEO

The size of your engine will determine what tax you must pay. That is the assessment of China's top legislature after conducting a second reading of a draft law on taxing vehicles and vessels.

At present a one size fits all process is used when it comes to tax and vehicles. If a new tax bill is approved by the National People's Congress Standing Committee during its ongoing session taxes will be charged at seven different levels, depending on the size of the engines. Bigger means you'll pay more while you'll pay less for a smaller car.

 

China Daily   24/2/2011

Billions to be poured into ailing reservoirs

BEIJING - China will invest nearly 63 billion yuan ($9.3 billion) on reinforcing more than 40,000 small reservoirs across the nation as part of its efforts to cope with the ongoing risks of drought and flooding.

Before the end of 2012, a total of 24.4 billion yuan will be spent on repairing 5,400 small reservoirs that have a capacity of between 1 million cubic meters and 10 million cu m, the State Council, or China's Cabinet, said in a statement on Tuesday after an executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

Another 15,900 small reservoirs with a capacity of more than 200,000 cu m will be consolidated by the end of 2013, thanks to an estimated investment of at least 38 billion yuan.

And the remaining 25,000 reservoirs will be improved with funding from local governments before the end of 2015, according to the statement.

The move means all of the country's reservoirs will have been repaired by 2015 in a campaign that will not only ensure they work efficiently but also eliminate potential safety hazards.

The spending plan is considered part of the country's efforts to reinforce water conservation initiatives and combat natural disasters, such as floods and droughts.

A villager collects water from a pond that is drying up in Jiangling village in Songxian county, Central China's Henan province, on Monday. A severe drought has made it difficult for 3,600 people and 970 cattle in the county to find adequate drinking water.

 

Rare species battle Yangtze's tide of death

River's deteriorating ecological environment hastening demise of finless porpoises. Li Jing reports in Hunan.

Conservationist Zhao Jianguo still remembers the pain when Qi Qi, the world's last known living Yangtze River dolphin, died in 2002.

Four years later, a group of international scientists declared the functional extinction of the 20 million-year-old species, nicknamed "the goddess of the Yangtze" locally, after a six-week intensive search found no trace of the animal in China's longest river.

"It really hurts to learn that Baiji (the Chinese name for the species) was extinguished in our generation," recalled Zhao, a veteran program officer with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Now he fears the fate of the Baiji may recur with the Yangtze finless porpoise, a freshwater toothed cetacean whose population has plummeted in the past 20 years as a result of water pollution, illegal fishing and excessive dredging.

 

China Daily   23/2/2011

Shanghai population may top 23 million

Estimates say migrants up to 9 million in city

SHANGHAI - This city's population might have reached 23 million, far exceeding the earlier estimates of 20 million, a demographer said on Tuesday.

Experts encouraged Shanghai authorities to take more steps to manage the local population and to undertake scientific urban planning in response to a quick rise in the city's migrant population.

Shanghai has an officially registered population of 14 million but, according to estimates, is also home to 9 million migrants, said Ding Jinhong, director of East China Normal University's School of Social Development.

 

World environmental conference to be held in Qingdao

The 4th World Economic and Environmental Conference, sponsored by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and International Energy Conservation Environmental Protection Association (IEEPA) and co-organized by the People's Government of Shandong province and the People's Government of Qingdao municipality, will be held in Qingdao, East China in June 2011.

The conference, with over 1,000 attendees and representatives of various countries, is expected to offer a platform to display development and construction in the urban environmental-protection industry, and a great opportunity to cooperate with enterprises at home and abroad.

Titled "Low Carbon Mission in Economic Transition and Development", the conference incorporates 10 hot spots, 10 topics and 10 meetings, with a focus on topics such as Low Carbon Development and Economic Mode, and Industry Transition and Market Cultivation.

 

Industry steels itself for change in next 5 years

Production to move to coastal areas as sector embarks on economy drive

BEIJING - The China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), the nation's steel lobby said on Monday that steel mills in north and northeastern China should stop enlarging their production capacities during the 12th Five-Year-Period (2011-2015), as the industry prepares for large-scale changes.

Analysts said a developmental trend in China will see steel mills being relocated to coastal areas for financial and environmental reasons.

"The move will be beneficial to the environment because steel production is a process which consumes huge amounts of water. Under the pressure of fewer resources and worsening environmental pollution, it is wise to make this change," said Zhang.

 

The New York Times   22/2/2011

‘Dirty’ Energy Dwarfs Clean in China and India

Many experts agree that for the world to rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions, the galloping economies of China and India would have to figure out how to base their future economic expansion on technologies and fuels that are “cleaner” than the fossil fuels the United States and Europe used in their own industrial revolutions long ago.

We hear a lot about how China and India are becoming world leaders in clean technology, producing and installing solar factories and wind farms at a breakneck pace. Problem solved? Well, no.

Kaixin OpEd – If China found a way to solve all the environmental problems of the world, and implemented it free of charge as a service to the world, the WSJ and the NYT would still find a sinister motive.

China is leading the world in Green Technology. China does not have a magic wand, but it is seriously addressing environmental issues, while trying to balance economic growth.

The ‘west’ had a free ride at the expense of the environment for a few hundred years. The ‘west’ became accustomed to trashing the environment in search of economic growth. It is time the ‘west’ stoped talking about addressing environmental concerns and actually did something, other than complain about how developing countries are trying to manage the issue.

 

Global Times   21/2/2011

Global review: A new global food crisis looms

Soaring food prices, which the World Bank says have hit "dangerous levels," have thrust the issue of food security sharply into the global spotlight over the past week.

From Asia to the Middle East and to Latin America, the trends of food prices have aroused widespread public concerns globally and in the developing world in particular.

World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick warned on Tuesday: "Global food prices are rising to dangerous levels and threaten tens of millions of poor people around the world."

Rising food prices have driven an estimated 44 million people into poverty in developing countries since last June, as food costs continue to rise to near 2008 levels.

The latest edition of Food Price Watch, a research publication by the World Bank, showed that its food price index rose by 15 percent between October 2010 and January 2011. It is 29 percent above its level a year earlier and only 3 percent below its 2008 peak.

Then what are the main factors behind the food price spikes?

The answer lies in the ultra-loose monetary policy of the United States, the financialization of the global farm produce market, the development of biofuels and the extreme weather events affecting harvests in the world's main grain-producing areas.

The US Federal Reserve is driving up food prices by cranking up its dollar printing presses and devaluing its own currency. As the US website of Business Insider puts it: "The food crisis is a dollar crisis."

 

China Daily   19/2/2011

Project to tackle heavy-metal pollution

BEIJING - A long-awaited project to tackle heavy-metal pollution has been approved by the State Council as part of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).

The national blueprint for 2015 has set an emission-reduction target for five heavy metals, in key polluted areas, by 15 percent from 2007 levels, Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian, told a televised conference on Friday.

The metals are lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium and arsenic.

 

Caixin Online   18/2/2011

Goldwind Blows Open Door to U.S. Wind Profits

A wind farm near Chicago has given a Chinese company a U.S. foothold and a business model worth imitating

The push began with an office in Chicago, the launch of a U.S.-based subsidiary, an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, and a single wind turbine contract.

And now, Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Xinjiang Goldwind Science and Technology Co. Ltd. is working to fill a major order for its biggest U.S. market break to date: A long-term contract to supply power to the Chicago-area utility Commonwealth Edison from a 106 megawatt wind farm in Lee County, Illinois.

 

 

China Daily   18/2/2011

Suntech Power wins $80m UN contract

Suntech Power Holdings Co announced that it signed an agreement on Wednesday with a Chinese supplier of the United Nations for producing more than $80 million worth of solar power equipment.

This is the largest contract the United Nations has signed with a Chinese company. The solar panels will be used by UN peace-keeping forces.


CCTV Actions speak louder: Building irrigation facilities out of own pocket VIDEO


East China's Shandong province is bracing itself for its worst drought in a century. A local village head is building irrigation facilities out of his own pocket to help people cope with the dry spell. Our reporter, Shen Le, went to find more about his motives and deeds.

Building dams on the river bed. When I meet him at Lijiahu village, Han Bangtai is supervising an irrigation project. He left the village when he was young and built up a small fortune running a construction company. In 2007, he returned and became the village chief.

Han tells me the new project will catch more water for irragation purposes.

 

CCTV Drought affects tea production in Shandong VIDEO

A severe drought is hampering tea farmers in east China's Shandong Province. CCTV reporter Shen Le went down to a major tea production base in the region to find out more about how the tea growers there are coping with the dry spell.

 

 

 

China Daily   17/2/2011

China waters 1 million hectares of arid farmland

BEIJING- China's central and local governments have helped bring water to more than 16 million mu (1.06 million hectares) of farmland in winter wheat regions as part of the battle against prolonged drought since last October, the country's drought relief authorities said.

 

China Daily   16/2/2011

'Drought will not hit world grain prices'

BEIJING - China sought to ease fears on Tuesday about the global impact of a drought in its wheat-growing regions that has raised concerns about world food prices.

The situation "will not affect international food prices", Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters during a regular press briefing.

"The recent drought may have some impact on winter wheat production but the authorities are taking active measures to minimize the impact," he said.

China has "abundant" reserves of grain, he added, that are sufficient to meet the nation's needs.

 

Caixin Online   14/2/2011

Heavy Metals Tainting China's Rice Bowls

Researchers say cadmium and other sewage toxins have poisoned large amounts of a Chinese staple

As much as 10 percent of China's rice may be tainted by poisonous cadmium, a heavy metal discharged in mine and industrial sewage that makes its way into rice paddies, according to agricultural researchers at a major university.

Much of this poisoned rice is consumed by farm families or sold in areas of the nation's food market beyond the reach of government safety regulators.

 

The Guardian - SLIDESHOW   12/2/2011

The price of success: China blighted by industrial pollution – in pictures


A Greenpeace report has called on the Chinese textile industry to clean up its processes after finding high levels of pollution in the southern industrial towns of Xintang – the "jeans capital of the world" – and Gurao, a manufacturing town 80% of whose economy is devoted to bras, underwear, and other clothing articles.

The report said the pollution is emblematic of textile manufacturing in China and the industry must review its practices.

Kaixin OpEd – In Kaixin’s opinion China’s Green Credentials are without doubt.

However it certainly allowed the environment to bear the brunt of its rapid economic growth over the first 30 years, from 1979.

The focus was not the environment, it was economic growth.

However the Chinese people are not stupid, nor are they mindless grey automons of the State. The Chinese people know a problem when they see it, and for many, breathe, drink and eat it.

Kaixin spoke to an American engineer in Li Jian in 2006. He had been living in China for many years and made the observation that much of the technology to clean up the environment in China had already been developed in the west. When China decided to focus on the environment it would not take long to address the problems.

From 2006 to 2011 China has certainly decided to focus on the environment. It is now a world leader in many areas and challenging the west.

However, after 30 years of environmental pillage and lax controls, there are still many areas to address.

Also, China is certainly wrestling with the problem of corruption ( as defined by the west). It was the way things were done in China for millennia, so it will take some time.

It allows instances like that reported to occur.

The central government is serious about controlling it (Kaixin does not believe they can stamp it out, and do they really need to follow the western model??).

The Chinese people on the street certainly are.

They are fed up with the vagaries of officials who respond to bribes. The Chinese people are using what Kaixin defines as Tech-Democracy (the www & mobile phones) to bring instances of corruption out into the light, to be dealt with.

However, the west has to have little patience. China is a large densely populated country and the further you are removed from Beijing the less effective is central government control.

The government in Beijing is often portrayed as all-powerful. It is very powerful, but it is not all-powerful.

Also, NGO’s such as Greenpeace can play a role when they highlight problems.

 

Global Times   11/2/2011

Water will define China's future

2011 in China began with a severe dry spell. However, the nation needs to fight not only against a year but a century of drought ahead.

This is now the third severely dry season in three years. Persistent drought now appears to be a common natural scenario. China's water usage per capita is merely 28 percent of the world's average level, whereas the nation is setting an ambitious goal to exceed the global average living standard during this century.

It can be predicted that China will have to contend with a developing yet thirsty civilization.

We cannot expect more precipitations to ease this reality. More and more Chinese citizens now want a modern life - equipped with modern bathrooms, washing machines or using the car wash.  All these call for more water.

The 21st century will be the driest of China's history. Unfortunately, applicable drought combating experiences from other countries are limited. The Western civilization rose with abundant water resources. The US and Europe have plenty of water resource and arable land but still give resources over to gardening. Israel is quite successful in fighting against drought, but the experience from that small country is hardly replicable here.

China has to launch a large-scale water-saving movement. People should be well aware of water conservation and recycling practices. The entire nation should become a huge reservoir, for example, maximizing the usage of rainfall run-offs.

China should stand out as a pioneer in watercourse regulation. Ancient China once towered in this regard - as exemplified by the Dujiang Dam.

In recent decades, modern China diverted massive amounts of water from the south to the north. Other miracles in managing water will continue to emerge, and become a cultural legacy for future generations.

China also needs to sharpen its technology for seawater desalinization. Such technology now supports the major water usage in small booming Middle East countries. China should further develop this technology, and gradually apply it to serve densely populated cities.

Fresh water is essential for life, and China will witness an increasingly sensitive struggle between various interests all craving a limited water supply. The Chinese government must now gear up for this fight. China's rise needs to be irrigated by water, and the government should build indisputable expertise in water usage regulation.

Lagging behind the US in overall water storage, China faces huge challenges in creating a huge modern civilized state in the 21st century. Can China realize such a goal?

Each Chinese citizen is weighing on the decision when they turn on the tap.


CCTV Reasons behind labor shortage in cities VIDEO

There are always two sides to a coin and with prices rising across China, some prospective employers are facing a shortage of workers. Even at job fairs, many vacancies are overlooked and as Jie Bai finds out, it is causing alarm in many industries.

Lao Yu manages a small department store in Nanjing. He's looking for cleaners and pays 14 hundred yuan per month along with meals and accommodation. But nearly all job seekers are snubbing his offer.

Lao Yu, employer in Nanjing, Jiangsu province,said, "There's too much competition among employers but few applicants. The minimum wage set by the government is actually only 11-hundred and 40 yuan. But I still couldn't find one worker for that money. "

Three days have passed and Lao Yu is still waiting to interview the next applicant.

What's worse, many factories that use cheap labor are moving to the countryside, further draining labor from cities.

 

The Guardian - SLIDESHOW    11/2/2011

The price of success: China blighted by industrial pollution – in pictures


A Greenpeace report has called on the Chinese textile industry to clean up its processes after finding high levels of pollution in the southern industrial towns of Xintang – the "jeans capital of the world" – and Gurao, a manufacturing town 80% of whose economy is devoted to bras, underwear, and other clothing articles.

The report said the pollution is emblematic of textile manufacturing in China and the industry must review its practices.

Kaixin OpEd – In Kaixin’s opinion China’s Green Credentials are without doubt.

However it certainly allowed the environment to bear the brunt of its rapid economic growth over the first 30 years, from 1979.

The focus was not the environment, it was economic growth.

However the Chinese people are not stupid, nor are they mindless grey automons of the State. The Chinese people know a problem when they see it, and for many, breathe, drink and eat it.

Kaixin spoke to an American engineer in Li Jian in 2006. He had been living in China for many years and made the observation that much of the technology to clean up the environment in China had already been developed in the west. When China decided to focus on the environment it would not take long to address the problems.

From 2006 to 2011 China has certainly decided to focus on the environment. It is now a world leader in many areas and challenging the west.

However, after 30 years of environmental pillage and lax controls, there are still many areas to address.

Also, China is certainly wrestling with the problem of corruption ( as defined by the west). It was the way things were done in China for millennia, so it will take some time.

It allows instances like that reported to occur.

The central government is serious about controlling it (Kaixin does not believe they can stamp it out, and do they really need to follow the western model??).

The Chinese people on the street certainly are.

They are fed up with the vagaries of officials who respond to bribes. The Chinese people are using what Kaixin defines as Tech-Democracy (the www & mobile phones) to bring instances of corruption out into the light, to be dealt with.

However, the west has to have little patience. China is a large densely populated country and the further you are removed from Beijing the less effective is central government control.

The government in Beijing is often portrayed as all-powerful. It is very powerful, but it is not all-powerful.

Also, NGO’s such as Greenpeace can play a role when they highlight problems.

 

China Daily   11/2/2011

Time for Zhejiang to put brakes on growth

Hangzhou - The economic development in East China's Zhejiang province, one of China's greatest economic powerhouses, must slow down during the next five years to accommodate efforts to clean up industry and protect the environment, according to the governor of the province.

"We know clearly that there are many problems in Zhejiang's current economic development, especially the long-standing structural ones that can be largely attributed to our over-dependence on low-end industries and low-cost labor," Lu said in a written interview with China Daily. "Our emphasis should now be shifted to ensuring quality and sustainability in the economy."

He said the province is faced with increasing pressure to conserve energy and reduce emissions of pollution. He said Zhejiang's current economic growth is dependent on the over-consumption of natural resources, which has somewhat stymied the expansion of industry and stifled the spirits of entrepreneurs. That must change, he said.

See Kaixin's - ECONOMIC CHINA

 

Rare earth mining zones aim for sustainable use

BEIJING - China's decision to set up its first group of rare earth mining zones with state planning is aimed at protecting  resources as well as the environment, an official with the Ministry of Land and Resources told Xinhua Thursday.

The ministry announced last month the establishment of 11 state-planned rare earth mining zones in Ganzhou Prefecture of east China's Jiangxi Province, an area rich in ion-absorbed-type rare earth.

The 11 mining zones have a combined area of 2,500 square kilometers, with rare earth reserves estimated at 760,000 tonnes.

The ministry also designated two state-planned iron mining zones in Panzhihua, western Sichuan Province. The two iron mining zones have an area of 460 square kilometers.

The official, who requested anonymity, said mining of rare earth metal is destructive to the woods, soil and farmland. The waste released after mining also damages the environment, he said.

The current mining and supplies are unsustainable, the official said.

"To set up state-planned mines is out of consideration for protection of the resources and the environment," the source said.

 

Green' financing channels for green industry

China will establish easy financing channels for companies that manufacture energy-saving and environment-protecting equipment, the Shanghai Securities Journal reported Friday.

The government will issue its 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015) for this sector soon, Zhou Changyi, director of the Energy Saving and Comprehensive Use Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, told the Shanghai Securities Journal.

Zhou said China will set standards for the equipment or products manufactured to save energy and protect the environment, aiming to help this sector develop in an orderly way.

 

China Daily   10/2/2011

$1 b to help battle worst drought in 60 years

2.6 million people suffer shortages of drinking water

BEIJING - The government will spend $1 billion to battle the drought plaguing huge areas in the north, as wheat prices continued their climb and the UN warned of serious consequences for the winter harvest.

The drought is the worst in six decades in many areas, and has left a swathe of grain-producing regions reeling from a lack of any significant rainfall in more than three months.

The government will spend at least 6.7 billion yuan ($1.02 billion) to divert water to affected areas, construct emergency wells and irrigation facilities, and take other measures, the State Council, or the Cabinet, said in a statement on Wednesday after an executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The move was included in a 10-measure package to spur grain production and tackle the persisting drought, which poses a grave threat to wheat production.

 

Reaching for the sky to open the heavens

BEIJING - Local meteorological departments have resorted to weather manipulation to relieve the drought in major wheat-growing areas in central and northern provinces.

Cloud seeding has been carried out in Henan, Shandong, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces in recent days to generate snow.

 

Nuclear power sector target too 'aggressive', says expert

BEIJING - An "over-aggressive" target for the nuclear power industry by 2020 may harm the sector's healthy development, an industry expert from the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC) think tank cautioned.

 

CCTV   10/2/2011

CCTV China suffers worst drought in 60 years VIDEO

Minimal rainfall or snow this winter has crippled China's major agricultural regions, leaving many of them parched. Crop production has fallen sharply, as the worst drought in six decades, shows no sign of letting up.

Shandong province has seen only 12 millimeters of rain since last September, fifteen percent of the normal level.

Despite more than 4-thousand pumping stations continuing to supply water, the situation is severe.

More than half the 4 million hectares of land used for growing wheat have been hit by drought.

Special funds are now being allocated to combat the situation.

 

CCTV China inject 1.2 bln yuan to help farmers VIDEO

The State Council has held a executive meeting to discuss government efforts to boost grain production throughout the country. The meeting decided that the central budget will increase funding to ensure the country's grain security in face of the current drought.

 

CCTV 16 mln acres of wheat affected by drought VIDEO

The severe drought impacting many parts of China this winter has lasted for more than 100 days. The Ministry of Agriculture's Wednesday meeting discussed emergency measures being carried out to battle the dry spell.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, about 16 millions acres of wheat, across eight provinces, have been affected by the drought. That equals 22% of all the land allocated to growing the crop in these areas. And the dry spell shows no sign of letting up.

 

CCTV Anhui: Local farmers battles winter drought VIDEO

The northern part of eastern China's Anhui Province is among the hardest hit by drought conditions. With the region being the major wheat production hub for the country, the prolonged drought is raising daunting challenges for farmers during the spring season.

 

 

Asia Times Online   10/2/2011

Chinese weather on Tahrir Square
By Spengler


Egypt has no oil, insignificant industry, small amounts of natural gas, and 40 million people who are about to become very, very hungry. Without figuring out how to feed the destitute bottom half of the Egyptian population, all talk of political "models" is window-shopping. And if, after bad weather, China, usually self-sufficient, is forced into the world market to buy millions of tons of wheat, Egypt's problems will get a whole lot worse.

See Kaixin's OpEd

 

The Wall Street Journal   10/2/2011

U.N. Cites Risk to China's Wheat Crop

SHANGHAI—A United Nations agency said this year's wheat crop is at risk in at least five Chinese provinces, echoing continuous warnings from China that its major northern wheat growing areas are facing an epic drought.

 

The Wall Street Journal   9/2/2011

U.N. Says Drought in China Puts Wheat Crop at Risk

SHANGHAI—A United Nations agency said this year's wheat crop is at risk in at least five Chinese provinces, echoing continuous warnings from China that its major northern wheat growing areas are facing an epic drought.

China's government maintains major stores of wheat, which amounted to at least 53 million metric tons at the end of 2010, said Ma Wenfeng, an analyst with Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultant Ltd., an agency that closely tracks China's grain markets. While Beijing was a net seller of reserves last year, the reserves give cushion to China to alleviate shortages.

Farmer Qi Aiyun checks on her withered wheat plants in a dry field on the outskirts of Juancheng, Shandong province.

 

The New York Times   9/2/2011

Op-Ed Columnist
China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN


Of course, China per se is not fueling the revolt here — but China and the whole Asian-led developing world’s rising consumption of meat, corn, sugar, wheat and oil certainly is. The rise in food and gasoline prices that slammed into this region in the last six months clearly sharpened discontent with the illegitimate regimes — particularly among the young, poor and unemployed.

Kaixin OpEd - Kaixin has noted for some time the emerging crisis in food supply for the world.

While the world has been distracted with other issues, this issue has been slowly heating like a pot of boiling water. It would appear it is near boiling point.

It this the first signs of the pot boiling over?

The price of food (and water) will come down to simple economics, supply and demand. The price will rise as demand outstrips supply.

Those who can pay, will, those who can't, will go hungry.

No .... of course it is not that simple.

Will a country let its food be exported if it cannot feed its own people?

What if foreign countries or nationals own the land on which the food is produced? Is it not their food?

Will governments see their people go hungry or starve rather than take control of that land?

Will foreign countries with very big armies allow that to happen?

I fear the world is headed for what the Chinese saying warns against: "May you live in interesting times"

 

Cost of Feeding World's Poor Leaps

LONDON—The cost of feeding millions of starving people increased markedly in 2010 as rising grain prices pushed up the cost of staple foods, data from the World Food Program showed Tuesday. 



U.N. Issues Warning on China Drought


HONG KONG — The United Nations’ food agency issued an alert on Tuesday warning that a severe drought was threatening the wheat crop in China, the world’s largest wheat producer, and resulting in shortages of drinking water for people and livestock.

 

CCTV   9/2/2011

CCTV China suffers worst drought in 60 years VIDEO

Minimal rainfall or snow this winter has crippled China's major agricultural regions, leaving many of them parched. Crop production has fallen sharply, as the worst drought in six decades, shows no sign of letting up.

Shandong province has seen only 12 millimeters of rain since last September, fifteen percent of the normal level.

Despite more than 4-thousand pumping stations continuing to supply water, the situation is severe.

More than half the 4 million hectares of land used for growing wheat have been hit by drought.

Special funds are now being allocated to combat the situation.

 

China Daily   9/2/2011

UN: Drought endangers Chinese winter wheat harvest

ROME - China's winter wheat harvest is at risk because of a drought that has also led to shortages of drinking water for people and livestock, the U.N. food agency said.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said the North China Plain drought is already putting pressure on wheat prices in China, with average flour prices rising more than 8 percent in January compared to the previous two months.

The impact on global wheat production and prices was unclear. FAO said Tuesday that China hadn't exported wheat for the past two years, although there were some exports before 2008 of about 1.5 million tons.

The North China Plain region produces most of China's winter wheat, which is harvested in June. Low precipitation has meant there hasn't been enough snowfall to protect dormant plants from frost, and has affected soil moisture needed for the growing season, FAO said.

A fishing boat flounders on a dried-up part of Xiangjiang River in Changsha, capital of Central China’s Hunan province, on Tuesday, Feb 8, 2011 after the lengthy drought that has affected much of the country lowered the level of the water

 

Three Gorges water level drops to lowest level

YICHANG, Hubei - The water level at the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest water control and hydropower project, dropped to 170 meters on Tuesday, the lowest level after it reached its designed highest mark of 175 meters for the first time in October last year.

 

CCTV Serious drought continues in Northern China VIDEO

Northern China, and areas along the Yellow and Huaihe Rivers, continue to suffer a drought that's now in its fifth month. Conditions are so severe, that nearly a third of wheat farmland in Henan province has been affected, while 130 thousand people living in mountainous areas lack drinking water.

The last rainfall in this area was 150 days ago. These wheat sprouts haven't been watered since they were planted. The farmer is worried...

Li Fengtao, Farmer of Sishui County, said, "These wheat spouts are not growing well. You see it's yellow. They're supposed to be all green."

A lack of water sources, and the high cost and slow process of well-drilling are proving a challenge for local irrigation departments.

 

ChinaDialogue   9/2/2011

Brighter outlook ahead?


New data from an American research group suggests China’s energy demand will peak by 2030. Linden Ellis asked Mark Levine, the man behind the numbers, about their implications.

 

Asia Times Online   8/2/2011

A Snow Dragon in the Arctic
By Joseph Spears


China is stepping up its activities in a warming and changing Arctic Ocean Basin. While Beijing's interests and policy objectives there remain unclear, it is increasingly active and vocal on the international stage on issues concerning the region.

To that end, China is actively seeking to develop relationships with Arctic states and participate in multilateral organizations such as the Arctic Council.

 

The Guardian   5/2/2011

China: the year in environment - in pictures


As the Chinese celebrate a new year of the rabbit, Asia environment correspondent Jonathan Watts looks back on some of the stories from the year of the tiger.

 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek    5/2/2011

A Setback for China's Solar Industry

As the Chinese ramp up capacity, austerity-minded governments in Europe are scaling down their solar subsidies

As the Chinese ramp up, austerity-minded governments in Europe are scaling down their solar subsidies.

 

The Wall Street Journal   5/2/2011

Coal Foes Play China Card

Critics of Export Terminal Warn of Environmental Harm Abroad From U.S. Fuel

LONGVIEW, Wash.—A battle over a proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River has taken on a global dimension, as opponents say local officials have to consider the potential environmental harm when the U.S. fuel is burned at its destination—in China.

 

China Daily   5/2/2011

China steps up assistance to drought areas

BEIJING - The Chinese government Friday initiated a relief and assistance program for eight drought-ravaged provinces, said a statement on the website of Ministry of Agriculture.

The government had implemented a grade II emergency response, meaning a 24-hour alert, daily damage reports, and the dispatching of experts and relief materials, said the statement.

The ministry had sent teams to help with relief work in the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Jangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi and Gansu, said the statement.

The four-month drought had affected 35.1 percent of wheat crops, -- 96.11 million mu (6.4 million hectares) -- accounting for 21.7 percent of total farmland in the provinces, it said.

The wheat growing area in the eight provinces accounted for more than 80 percent of the country's total, said the statement.

The provinces have received little rainfall since October last year, it said.

 

The New York Times   4/2/2011

Chinese Leaders Are Alarmed by Drought

HONG KONG — A severe drought in northern China has badly damaged the winter wheat crop and left the ground very dry for the spring planting, fueling inflation and alarming China’s leaders.

President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao separately toured drought-stricken regions this week and have called for “all-out efforts” to address the effects of water shortages on agriculture.

 

China Daily   1/2/2011

China to invest $608b in water projects

Massive investment planned to ensure conservation of resource

BEIJING - Efforts will be intensified to promote water conservation as well as the sustainable use of the precious resource, and the task will be a multi-trillion yuan national priority, a central policy document said.

The country will invest 4 trillion yuan ($608 billion) into projects during the next decade to improve water conservation, Chen Xiwen, director of the office for the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's Leading Group on Rural Work, said on Sunday.

 

Nujiang hydro project back on agenda

BEIJING - The country is set to resume its development plans for the Nujiang River in Southwest China due to increasing demand for energy.

The hydropower project was shelved eight years ago because of environmental concerns.

"I think it's certain that the country will develop the Nujiang River," Shi Lishan, deputy director of the new energy department under the National Energy Administration, told a meeting in Beijing on Sunday.

The Nujiang River is originated from the southern slope of the Tanggula Mountain Range in Tibet Autonomous Region, flowing north to south across the Tibet Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province, with a total length of 2,816 kilometers and a drainage area of 324,000 square kilometers. The name of the river is changed into the Salween River after flowing into Burma from China, and it finally empties into the Andaman Sea of Indian Ocean at the Moulmein.

 

 

 

China Themes

Green China  

Economic China

Yuan Revaluation & Internationalisation

China Real Estate

 

 

 

 

Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007

"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set in Zanzibar in 1910, it is the story of two people from different worlds falling in love. Susan immerses herself in Zanzibar. Asim falls in love with this woman from the nation that killed his wife. Susan is a spy. Asim is the chief advisor to the Sultan of Zanzibar. Germany and France are holding secret negotiations to form a Pan European alliance, which would isolate Britain and destroy her power. Susan and Asim are caught up in all this and their love is finally dashed on the cold, hard reality of international high politics.

 

 

Available on Amazon's Kindle $4.99 - Over 400 Pages

 

 

 

 

 Chapter One

Zanzibar

'A maharaja’s ruby cast on a Persian carpet by the blackest of hands'

 

 

Their souls danced, honouring his promise.

The ancient dhow stirred in the soft morning breeze. Like a sleepy lion, it began to move through the water, snuffling about the other boats on the harbour; some scurrying, some at anchor, some darting before a brief gust of wind. The lateen sails a bustling panorama of blood-red and sun-bleached white.

Aft, the woman's eyes searched the skyline, drinking in the architecture of Stone Town, the heart of Zanzibar; its jagged, cluttered silhouette so familiar, so much a part of her soul.

Abruptly, her eyes ceased their restless searching, jagged by an invisible hook, transfixed by the grand buildings on the northern shore, Beit-al-Ajaib, the House of Wonders, Palace to the great Sultan of Zanzibar. The distinctive architecture captured in the tropical light: coconut white outlined by contrasting shadow plays of pepper black.

A smile, ever so slight, started to play on the edge of her mouth then disappeared. A memory that should have been fond instantly turned to sharp unbearable pain. Her eyes hardened and moved on.

Without warning the captain threw the rudder over. Stumbling, the woman barked her shin on a wooden box, a rough-hewn coffin. She recoiled, knocking over an untidy stack of cane baskets. Imprisoned in the baskets, rusty cockerels, their scruffy heads straining through the latticework, snapped at her, cried out to her; their raucous din overwhelming her, drowning her.

Dimly, through the fog of noise, the strident swearing of the sailors in Kiswahili seeped into her conscious. Understanding, she smiled mirthlessly.

The coffin had been carelessly stowed, a chore, rather than a labour of respect or love.

 

 

 

 

London 1910

 

“Hello, who are you? I am Oliver, is Edward at home?”

The words were spoken by a tall, impeccably dressed young man as he rushed into Edward’s flat shaking off surplus water and calling for whisky while shoving his umbrella into a stand. It was a blustery, grey, bitterly cold February afternoon in the heart of London. He brushed a curl of soft auburn hair from his forehead and smiled charmingly.

Susan laughed, her hazel eyes dancing with the exhilaration of the new. “Yes, he is having a bath. I think he is trying to get warm. I’m Susan, Susan Carey, his sister.”

“Ahhh yes, from Australia. How do you do?” said Sir Oliver, smiling broadly and offering his hand. He noticed the laughter in her eyes, and the depth, particularly the depth, intensified by jade flecks that made them striking and alluring. “So, you have arrived, good trip I trust.”

“I am very well thank you, and yes, it was a good trip,” replied Susan.

He laughed and glanced at the sitting room, “whisky?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, please come in…….. that was silly of me, after all, it is your flat.”

Oliver smiled and gestured for Susan to lead the way. He followed her into the room, and after helping himself to a generous portion of whisky, walked over to the fire.

Shortly after, Edward, wrapped in a huge ruby-coloured dressing gown and wiping soap from his ear strode into the room. He was of similar age to Oliver, late twenties, well built, if slightly podgy, with dark auburn hair and a full moustache. Susan looked up and smiled to herself, she could see now where he had picked up some of his new mannerisms.

“Thought I could hear voices. I see you two have met, no need for introductions then.”

As he was speaking, Edward walked to the side table and grabbed a whisky decanter by the neck. He glanced at Oliver who nodded. A long finger snaked into one of the tumblers followed by the distinctive clink of crystal. He swept the decanter off the table and carried it to where Oliver was sitting. After pouring the whisky, he sank into a lounge chair and sipped from his glass, enjoying the warm glow as it spread through his body.

Suddenly he sat up exclaiming, “Sorry sis, would you like something to drink?”

“Kind of you to remember, but no thank you, and yes, Oliver has already inquired.”

Edward nodded and sank back into his lounge chair.

They chatted, tentatively at first, getting to know one another. Edward had not seen Susan for two years and was unsure how his sister would take his new relationship. Oliver was intrigued by Susan. An attractive, self-assured young lady of high intelligence with a degree was a rare find. And, as fate would have it, she was also a trained and experienced teacher. He suggested a picnic at Oxford, which was met with ready acquiescence. Arrangements were made for the following Sunday.

“I’ll see if the Rolls is available,” mused Oliver. “Must ring father, haven’t spoken to him in ages.”

Oliver, Sir Oliver Marchmaine, was an unaffected young man of intense intelligence who saw life as a great adventure to be lived to the full. He was also unyieldingly loyal to his country, England, which is why he had joined Military Intelligence on leaving Oxford.

It was 1910 and Europe was stirring. It was a time full of interest, intrigue and danger. The European chessboard was becoming increasingly complex, the moves more subtle. A time when an unexpected move or feint could have profound consequences.

 

 

Regaining her balance, the woman’s eyes were drawn, hesitantly at first, resisting back to Beit-al-Ajaib. She wondered if it was still the same. Still the same centre of power and intrigue that had been so much a part of her life all those years before; that had defined her life.

She remembered those first few moments, remembered standing in the foyer of the palace, .………… remembered the breathtakingly beautiful Persian tapestry ........

The sea breeze stirred her clothes. She smiled a little sadly, and in her mind the tapestry gently swayed. Two small apparitions ran giggling up the stairs: two small exquisitely rich burkas disappearing along the first floor landing. Childish squeals of mischief and joy left in the air.......

“Move to seaward, you accused of Allah! Move!”

Her thoughts were clawed back to the dhow, the captain crashing the tiller over to avoid another boat on the crowded harbour. The woman instinctively ducked her head to avoid the heavy boom as it swung over her, the rusty cockerels squawked their raucous indignation, their heads straining through the latticework, relentless.

The collision avoided, the dhow continued on its way. The cacophony dying down to the occasional command by the captain or the cry of a seagull.

The woman's thoughts returned to Beit-al-Ajaib

  …………. laughing and giggling, girls of seven or eight. A door on the first floor slammed and all sounds of them disappeared. Silence. The woman smiled. She could see herself, a young woman, dressed plainly, unselfconsciously, her sexuality tantalisingly just out of reach, hidden beneath the thin veil of her clothing. She remembered standing alone in the foyer, looking around, perplexed. Asim came through a door to the left of the tapestry.

“Salaam.”

The woman started and looked around. Then, realising, was cold again. Alone again. Alone, rocking to and fro to the rythm of the sea. Alone, beside a rough-hewn coffin.

 

 

 

 

 

Now Available on Amazon's Kindle $4.99 - Over 400 Pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graeme has been using ChinesePod since 2007

"I highly recommend ChinesePod, I haven't found any Online teaching programmes that come close."

 

 

 

 

ChinaLoveCupid/ChineseLoveLinks - Serious Chinese Dating Relationships