(China Daily) – A senior official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Friday that the country disapproved and “will not accept any unilateral and compulsory market measures”, after the European Union threatened Chinese…
This week, the EU decided to impose provisional anti-dumping tariffs of nearly 50 percent of Chinese photovoltaic (PV) solar modules. But Chinese PV manufacturers have until August to curb their anti-competitive practices, before the full impact of the tariffs take effect.
Well, it shows that solar power have become a normal economic commodity. Which is in it self a good thing. It could become much more common to have solarcells on your roof.
For the pessimists, problems that have been lurking beneath the surface glitter are starting to appear. Three months ago, the sense was that carefully calibrated policy action by Beijing would ensure strong growth with low inflation. But last week, the fears of a hard landing were back. Put…
Illustration for the Daily Sundial’s Green Issue opinion piece on Chinese pollution and its effect on the environment.
Rakteem Katakey & Will Kennedy, Bloomberg
Russia’s decision to give China a share of prized Arctic exploration licenses as part of a “breakthrough” deal signals how the world’s largest oil and gas producer and the biggest…
WHY GEOENGINEERING HAS IMMEDIATE APPEAL TO CHINA
By Clive Hamilton, The Guardian:
The political dilemma over geoengineering – deliberate, large-scale intervention in the climate system designed to counter global warming or offset some of its effects – will perhaps be most acute in China.
In December, the country listed geoengineering among its Earth science research priorities, in a marked shift in the international climate changelandscape noticed by China specialists Kingsley Edney and Jonathan Symons.
On the one hand, China’s rapid economic growth has seen a huge escalation in its greenhouse gas emissions, which on an annual basisovertook those of the United States five years ago. Sustained GDP growth provides China’s Communist party with its only claim to legitimacy, its “mandate of heaven”. China’s efforts to constrain the growth of its emissions have been substantial, and certainly put to shame those of many developed nations.
Yet neither China’s efforts nor those of other countries over the next two or three decades are likely to do much to slow the warming of the globe, nor halt the climate disruption that will follow. Global emissions have not been declining or even slowing. In fact, global emissions are accelerating. Even the World Bank, which for years has been criticised for promoting carbon-intensive development, now warns that we are on track for 4C of warming, which would change everything.
China is highly vulnerable to water shortages in the north, with declining crop yields and food price rises expected, and storms and flooding in the east and south. Climate-related disasters in China are already a major source of social unrest so there is a well-founded fear in Beijing that the impacts of climate change in the provinces could topple the government in the capital. Natural disasters jeopardise its mandate.
So what can the Chinese government do? Continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions is a condition for its hold on power, but climate disruption in response to emissions growth threatens to destabilise it.
Geoengineering has immediate appeal as a way out of this catch-22. While a variety of technologies to take carbon out of the air or to regulate sunlight are being researched, at present by far the most likely intervention would involve blanketing the Earth with a layer of sulphate particles to block some incoming solar radiation.
Spraying sulphate aerosols could mask warming and cool the planet within weeks, although it would not solve the core problem of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans.
Scientists and policy-makers in China have been watching the debate over geoengineering unfold in the US and Europe where there has been a boom in discussion and research since the taboo was lifted in 2006, following an intervention by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen calling for investigation of “plan B”.
In the US, there have been several high-level reports arguing for more research into geoengineering — the National Research Council, the House of Representatives’ committee on science and technology and the Government Accountability Office. Influential Beltway thinktanks, like the Bipartisan Policy Center, have joined the fray. Plan B is being discussed in the White House, and the military is keeping a watching brief, and maybe doing more.
China’s decision to initiate a research programme could be motivated by no more than a desire to develop a national capacity to keep abreast of what is happening in the rest of the world. Certainly, there is a good deal of scepticism about geoengineering within China’s scientific community.
Yet as the world remains paralysed by the scale of the warming crisis, and watches while it becomes locked-in, the capacity to implement an emergency response will become ever-more attractive. And in a global emergency — a crippling drought, the Amazon ablaze, Greenland collapsing — the gaze becomes focussed on the urgent to the exclusion of all else, including the interests of other, less-powerful nations whose plight may be worsened if a major power decided to regulate the Earth’s climate system.
While western nations are not ruled by one-party states determined to maintain power at all costs, in truth the tyranny of the economic system is no less absolute. The 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath demonstrated that the structures of power that underpin the system — the banks, the markets, the major corporations and their ties to the political system — are extremely resilient, perhaps every bit as resistant to change as China’s Communist party.
After all, when it comes to responding to climate disruption every report and recommendation — from the Stern report to the IPCC — assumes that measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must accommodate the first imperative, maintaining the rate of economic growth, even though it is GDP growth that escalates greenhouse gas emissions.
So here is a plausible scenario for 2035. Facing a revolt from a population under extreme climate stress, the Chinese government seeks the US government’s consent to cool the planet by spraying sulphate aerosols into the stratosphere. Popular protests prevent Washington endorsing the plan but it tacitly agrees not to shoot down China’s planes. That would be enough, and from that point there would be no going back.
• Clive Hamilton professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra and the author of Earthmasters: The dawn of the age of climate engineering, just published by Yale University Press.
The sky over Beijing taken from the same position and at the same time of the day over 225 consecutive days in 2012.
Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies
Mario Cucinella Architects
China’s Cloud Of Smog Arrives In Japan
The suffocating smog that blanketed swathes of China is now hitting parts of Japan, sparking warnings Monday of health risks for the young and the sick.
The environment ministry’s website has been overloaded as worried users log on to try to find out…