Monthly Archives: October 2008

China to launch nationwide survey of energy conservation

A more detailed breakdown of who or which sector is consuming at what energy percentage would be very helpful in deciding where to put the most effort in improving energy efficiency. Does MEP have this data?

China to launch nationwide survey of energy conservation measures_English_Xinhua

China’s government is to conduct a nationwide survey of efforts by local governments to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The government has set a target of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and major pollutant emissions by 10 percent from the 2005 levels by 2010, in a bid to protect environment and insure a sustainable development.

“However, the country still faces great difficulties in fulfilling the commitment, and the situation remains arduous,” said National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) deputy director Xie Zhenhua on Monday.

In the past two years, energy consumption per unit of GDP had only been reduced by 5 percent annually, according to NDRC figures.

China liberalizes farmers’ land use right

China liberalizes farmers’ land use right to boost rural development_English_Xinhua

BEIJING, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) — The Communist Party of China (CPC) issued a landmark policy document on Sunday to allow farmers to “lease their contracted farmland or transfer their land-use right” to boost the scale of operation for farm production and provide funds for them to start new businesses.

The Decision on Major Issues Concerning the Advancement of Rural Reform and Development was approved by the CPC Central Committee on Oct. 12 at a plenary session.

According to the full text of the document, markets for the lease of contracted farmland and transfer of farmland use rights shall be set up and improved to allow farmers to sub-contract, lease, exchange and swap their land use rights, or joined share-holding entities with their farmland.

Such transfers of land-use rights must be voluntarily participated by farmers, with adequate payment and in accordance with the law, the CPC Central Committee said.

Environmental damage tops GDP growth in some areas

From China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection Media News

Human activities such as pollution and over-grazing, and natural disasters such as sandstorms, mudslides, landslides and floods, are inflicting damage amounting to 200 billion yuan (US$29.2 billion) each year to China’s most fragile ecological regions. In some regions the cost of environmental degradation is higher than GDP growth, according to a report published by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The report – An Outline National Plan to Protect Ecotones – concentrates on eight key regions that are important areas for the preservation of biodiversity but are particularly sensitive to environmental disruptions and climate change. The regions – called ecotones – are transitional areas between distinct ecosystems.

The ecotones lie in five main areas – the arid and semi-arid zones of northern China, mountainous areas in south and southwest China, the Tibetan plateau, and flood prone wetlands in east China. They are home to many of the 23.6 million Chinese people who live in absolute poverty.

I am in search of the Chinese version of this report, assuming that it has not been translated yet.

Another blogging tool

While Windows Live Writer has served the purpose of offline blogging fairly well, I recently discovered ScribeFire, which works fairly well with my Drupal site. One big disadvantage, as others have pointed out, is that its tagging function does not work yet. I hope the ScribeFire team will fix this soon. Another disadvantage is that selected pictures do not show up on the blog. Else, I am quite satisfied with it because I don’t need to open up another application.

Bohai Sea may solve drought problem in North China

Looks like another big project is on the way. Can we have access to the feasibility report?

Bohai Sea may solve drought problem in North China — china.org.cn

Water from the Bohai Sea in north China may be channeled to the Xilin Gol league (prefecture) in Inner Mongolia to ease conditions in the drought-troubled region, officials said in Beijing.

A file photo of the Bohai Sea in north China

A feasibility study on the project distributed at a seminar Wednesday showed that the league planned to channel 365 million tons of water from the Bohai Sea every year.

Zhao Ping, an official from the energy department of the Xilin Gol league government, was quoted in the report as saying they planned to complete the seawater project within three years.

Water Diversion Scheme

Water shortage and water diversion scheme…

Beijing’s water shortage | A shortage of capital flows | The Economist

 THE water level at Wangkuai Reservoir, one of the biggest in Hebei province, is close to an historic high—in a region gripped by drought. This has been achieved by hoarding the water. Local farmers say they have received none for two years. A hydroelectric plant by the huge dam is idle. Wangkuai is preparing for what officials call a “major political task”—channelling its water to Beijing, to help boost the city’s severely depleted supplies.

On September 28th, after more than four years’ work on a 307km-long (191-mile) waterway costing more than $2 billion, Beijing began receiving its top-up. Two other large Hebei reservoirs, Gangnan and Huangbizhuang (see map), were the first to feed the new channel. Wangkuai is due to open its sluices in December, says a dam supervisor. Oddly for such a large and supposedly vital project, the launch was low key. Yet the channel’s inauguration was the most notable achievement so far of what, in the coming years, is intended to become a far more grandiose diversion scheme: bringing water from the Yangzi basin to the parched north, along channels stretching more than 1,000km.

China’s leaders have reason to be sheepish. Controversy has long plagued the South-North water diversion project, as the scheme is formally known. Launched with much fanfare in 2002, it was described as a move to fulfil Mao Zedong’s vision of 50 years earlier, when he had said that to solve the north’s chronic shortage it was “OK to lend a little water” from the south. But many worried whether the water would be clean enough, and about the risk of perpetuating the north’s reckless water-consumption habits.

National Energy Bureau

The National Energy Bureau might be something to watch for.

Great Expectations — Beijing Review

On August 8, as millions of Chinese families sat around television sets in brightly lit rooms to watch the opening of the Olympic Games, a government body was launched with the aim of shaping the country’s energy industry and keeping the power on.

At the official launch ceremony of the National Energy Bureau (NEB), Zhang Ping, Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said its creation was a landmark. He added that the most important mission of the NEB, the government regulator of the energy industry, is to ensure adequate energy supply and energy security.

[...]Some analysts suspect the NEB to be merely a figurehead. They were
somewhat disappointed that the NEB has not been given as much
decision-making power as previously expected. The most crucial energy
pricing power is still in the hands of the NDRC.

Additional information from Wikipedia:

Land Use Reform

Several news articles from NYT talk about China’s land ownership reform proposed by President Hu Jintao, but it is running into political opposition. The use of land is crucial not only for China’s agricultural development, but also for potential biofuel development.

China May Let Peasants Sell Rights to Farmland – NYTimes.com

BEIJING — Chinese leaders are expected to allow peasants to buy or sell land-use rights for the first time, a step that could draw hundreds of millions of farmers more firmly into the market economy, now centered around the cities.

Hint of High-Level Discord on China Land Reform – NYTimes.com

BEIJING — Chinese leaders have yet to announce details of a rural reform policy they said they adopted on Sunday, contributing to speculation that Communist Party officials are in disagreement on major aspects of the policy.