Tag Archives: China

When will China reverse its carbon emissions?

13 Nov

From Tyler Cowen, note the last  paragraph below, which I’ve bolded:

Fourth, if you look at the history of air pollution, countries clean up the most visible and also the most domestically dangerous problems first, and often decades before solving the tougher issues. For China that highly visible, deadly pollutant would be Total Particulate Matter, which kills people in a rather direct way, and in large numbers, and is also relatively easy to take care of. (Mexico for instance has been getting that one under control for some time now.) The Chinese people (and government) are much more worried about TPM than about carbon emissions, which is seen as something foreigners complain about. Yet TPM is still getting worse in China, and if it is (possibly) flat-lining this year that is only because of the economic slowdown, not because of better policy.

When will China cap carbon emissions? “Fix TPM and get back to me in twenty years” is still probably an underestimate. Don’t forget that by best estimates CO2 emissions were up last year in China by more than four percent. How many wealthier countries have made real progress on carbon emissions? Even Denmark has simply flattened them out, not pulled them back.

The Chinese really are making a big and genuine effort when it comes to renewables, it is just that such an effort is dwarfed by the problems mentioned above.

The media coverage I have seen of the U.S.-China emissions “deal” has not been exactly forthcoming in presenting these rather basic points. It’s almost as if no one studies the history of air pollution anymore.

I understand why a lot of reporters want to “clutch at straws” — it’s good for both clicks and the conscience — but a dose of realism is required as well. The announced deal is little more than a well-timed, well-orchestrated press release.

via When will China reverse its carbon emissions?.

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Seeking Identity, ‘Hong Kong People’ Look to City, Not State – NYTimes.com

8 Oct

HONG KONG — If there is one phrase that has come to define the protests that have swept across Hong Kong in the last week and a half, appearing on handwritten billboards and T-shirts, and heard in rally speeches and on radio shows, it is this: “Hong Kong People.”

“I wouldn’t say I reject my identity as Chinese, because I’ve never felt Chinese in the first place,” said Yeung Hoi-kiu, 20, who sat in the protest zone at the government offices on Monday night. “The younger generations don’t think they’re Chinese.”

More than 90 percent of Hong Kong residents are ethnically Chinese. However, ask residents here how they see themselves in a national sense, and many will say Hong Konger first — or even Asian or world citizen — before mentioning China. The issue of identity is one that the Chinese Communist Party has grappled with since Britain turned over control of this global financial capital to China 17 years ago.

via Seeking Identity, ‘Hong Kong People’ Look to City, Not State – NYTimes.com.

From Tibet to Taiwan, China’s Outer Regions Watch Hong Kong Protests Intently – NYTimes.com

6 Oct

BEIJING — As hundreds of protesters continue to occupy the streets of Hong Kong, challenging China’s Communist Party leaders with calls for greater democracy, much of the world anxiously awaits signs of how Beijing will react to their demands.

But the anticipation is perhaps most keenly felt along the periphery of China’s far-flung territory, both inside the country and beyond, where the Chinese government’s authoritarian ways have been most apparent.

Among Tibetans and Uighurs, beleaguered ethnic minorities in China’s far west, there is hope that the protests will draw international scrutiny to what they say are Beijing’s broken promises for greater autonomy.

The central government’s refusal to even talk with pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong, exiled activists add, also highlights a longstanding complaint among many ethnic minority groups in China: the party’s reliance on force over dialogue when dealing with politically delicate matters.

via From Tibet to Taiwan, China’s Outer Regions Watch Hong Kong Protests Intently – NYTimes.com.

Bleg: Beyond/Beneath the Nation-State

21 Sep

Two days ago I put up a post in which I asserted, by the time-honored method of pulling it out of my arse, that

in the long run, more and more political action which shift to cities and thereby ‘hollow out’ the increasingly sclerotic system of nation states which governs the earth and the global level. In a century the nation states will be husks of what they are now and most of the world’s civic business will be conducted by shifting coalitions of cities and regions.

I’m interested in exploring that notion.

Very.

Anyone have ideas, suggestions for things to check out, etc.? Any relevant science fiction?

* * * * *

In that post I cited, as examples,

  • the Second Vermont Republic, a group of citizens who want Vermont to secede from the USofA,
  • the Transition Town movement, folks who are adamantly apolitical but who, in anticipation of peak oil, are working toward local self-sufficiency in food and energy and all that that implies, and
  • Mayors of Peace, an international organization of cities seeking to end nuclear weapons by 2020.

What else is there like that, where “like that” is interpreted generously? Continue reading

Atmospheric scientists release first ‘bottom-up’ estimates of China’s CO2 emissions

7 Jul

“The levels of uncertainty indicate that Chinese domestic frameworks to set control targets for CO2 emissions at scales larger than individual factories, such as provinces or sectors, may reflect unwarranted confidence in the measurability and verifiability of the impacts of policy interventions,” says senior author Michael B. McElroy, Gilbert Butler Professor of Environmental Studies at SEAS.

“Such levels of uncertainty aren’t unique to China among developing and emerging economies,” Zhao cautions. “All have less-developed data systems than those that have been built up over decades to serve energy markets and environmental regulation in the United States and other industrialized countries. It’s critical that international agreements to limit CO2 emissions recognize these differences in national data conditions.”

I’ll bet chinese officialdom isn’t the only one that has trouble with effective measurement.

via Atmospheric scientists release first ‘bottom-up’ estimates of China’s CO2 emissions.

The Revenge of Wen Jiabao – By John Garnaut | Foreign Policy

30 Mar

The final paragraph of a fascinating article about recent events  at the top and heart of Chinese politics. In this ‘too big to fail’ world, what happens in China affects us. They hold our debt, they manufacture our electronic goods.

Wen Jiabao sees Bo’s downfall as a pivotal opportunity to pin his reformist colors high while the Communist Party is too divided to rein him in. He is reaching out to the Chinese public because the party is losing its monopoly on truth and internal roads to reform have long been blocked. Ironically, he is doing so by leading the public purging of a victim who has no hope of transparent justice, because the party to which he has devoted his life has never known any other way.

via The Revenge of Wen Jiabao – By John Garnaut | Foreign Policy.

Robert Scheer: Apple’s China Comes Home to Haunt Us

18 Feb

Forty years ago Nixon cut a deal with China:

At the heart of the deal was a rejection of the basic moral claim of both egalitarian socialism and free market capitalism, the rival ideologies of the Cold War, to empower the individual as the center of decision-making. Instead, the fate of the citizen would come to be determined by an alliance between huge multinational corporations and government elites with scant reference to the needs of ordinary working folk.

It was understood by both parties to this grand concord that monopoly capitalism could be constructed in China to be consistent with the continuance in power of a Communist hierarchy, just as in the West capitalism was consistent with the enrichment of an ostensibly democratic ruling class. Sharp income inequality, the bane of genuine reform movements bearing the names populist, socialist and democratic, came to be the defining mark of the new international order.

via Robert Scheer: Apple’s China Comes Home to Haunt Us.

Is China our future? – U.S. Economy – Salon.com

17 Feb

And GE Consumer & Industrial CEO James Campbell reiterated it when he recently told the New York Times that “making things in America is as viable as making things any place” because domestic labor costs are now “significantly less with the competitive wages” — read: far lower wages — now accepted by American workers.

Now that this consensus is finally out in the open, the real question for America is simple: Do we accept an economic competition that asks us to emulate China?

If our answer is yes, then we should support current state legislative proposals to reduce child labor protections; back federal legislation to eliminate all environmental, wage and workplace safety laws; and applaud corporations that crush unions and further reduce wages in America. We should also probably encourage our fellow countrymen to follow Apple Inc.’s Chinese workforce by simply accepting $17-a-day paychecks, 12-hour workdays and six-day workweeks.

via Is China our future? – U.S. Economy – Salon.com.

A Horrific Crash Sets Off Online Anger in China – NYTimes.com

19 Nov

As China sped toward its new status as the world’s second largest economy, the already yawning gap between the rich and poor grew wider. By sociologists’ calculations, income inequality here is not that far from levels that have spurred social unrest in other nations.

But some things are not easily reduced to statistics. There is an argument, buttressed by the Gansu tragedy, that what truly eats at people here is not so much the rich-poor gap as the canyon that separates the powerful from the powerless.

“Most Chinese aren’t angry about rising inequality,” said Martin K. Whyte, a Harvard sociologist who specializes in research on Chinese social trends. “It’s not rich versus poor. It’s the system of power and procedural injustices that they’re upset about.”

And in fact, many episodes in the litany of scandal and misfortune that has consumed Chinese Web surfers in recent years had little to do with money.

via A Horrific Crash Sets Off Online Anger in China – NYTimes.com.

Thousands Chip In to Help Dissident Artist Pay Fine – NYTimes.com

6 Nov

BEIJING — In the days since the Chinese government delivered a punitive $2.4 million tax bill to the artist Ai Weiwei, thousands of people have responded by donating money in a gesture that is at once benevolent and subversive.

More than 20,000 people have together contributed at least $550,000 since Tuesday, when tax officials gave Mr. Ai 15 days to come up with an amount that was more than three times the sum he was accused of evading in taxes.

via Thousands Chip In to Help Dissident Artist Pay Fine – NYTimes.com.