Let the Sun Shine Through

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17 July 2010 Beijing Sun.jpgWhen James and Deborah Fallows lived in Beijing, Jim regularly featured on his blog pictures of the weather — well, the smog — from his balcony.
This is not from my balcony but it does capture just how thick the smog is in Beijing right now. After several days here of living in a sunless, puffy, misty fluorescent haze, we finally caught a glimpse of the sun. We rejoiced.
When one engages in conversation with Chinese about how they see their country, the biggest area of concern for the future and criticism of the government targets environmental mismanagement. Given the amount of coverage that “green issues” get in the Chinese press — on TV and in print journalism — to some degree it seems like the government is inviting public criticism, or at least trying to give space for this frustration to vent.
Beijing — which is a political city for the most part — is pulsing with change and growth. The people I see are consuming and want more, and the city is being torn up and rebuilt with a peculiar mix of hard labor workers and machines.
I’m increasingly convinced that China is making enormous investments in green technologies and deployment at a level substantially greater than the United States is doing — but it’s dependence on carbon-based energy is erupting upward right along with China’s renewable sectors.
China, it seems to me, will have a mix of every type of energy option built into its economic structure — but the negative environmental consequences have no where to go but get worse.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

10 comments on “Let the Sun Shine Through

  1. David says:

    The engines of progress belch on, even as we know how to make and utilize engines that don’t.

    Reply

  2. Jim Bishop says:

    Mr. Bacon’s assertion above ‘China is not out of water…The South-to-North Water Diversion Project will help to correct that.’ is demonstrably false. The ‘north south solution is years behind schedule; when completed the north south solution will transport sewage and heavy metals; wells, deep wells, are going dry all over the country and particularly in Hebei; the water table is collapsing all over the country – in Hebei, at over two meters a year; the water control agency for Beijing reported months ago that only 3% of the city’s reservoir storage capacity was filled; grain production is in steep decline; and, the Yangtze is black water at its mouth.

    Reply

  3. Jim Bishop says:

    Mr. Bacon’s assertion above ‘China is not out of water…The South-to-North Water Diversion Project will help to correct that.’ is demonstrably false. The ‘north south solution is years behind schedule; when completed the north south solution will transport sewage and heavy metals; wells, deep wells, are going dry all over the country and particularly in Hebei; the water table is collapsing all over the country, in Hebei, at over two meters a year; the water control agency for Beijing reported months ago that only 3% of the city’s reservoir storage capacity was filled; grain production is in steep decline; and, the Yangtze is black water at its mouth.

    Reply

  4. Jim Bishop says:

    Mr. Bacon’s assertion,’China is not out of water…The South-to-North Water Diversion Project will help to correct that.’ is demonstrably wrong. When what water China does get arrives, it comes in a flood, as predicted by climate change scientists, washing away crops, dikes, and villages; the Yellow River no longer makes it to the sea; Hebei water table is declining, on average, at over two meters a year and has done so for many years; wells are going dry all over the country; the CCP itself states that millions will need to be moved due to lack of water; the ‘north south’ solution is behind schedule, and will transport sewage and heavy metals when it is done; the Yangtze is black water at its mouth; and, the problem, no water for a billion people, has no solution

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  5. Leo Sigh says:

    I’m in Thailand and unfortunately most Thais really don’t seem to care that much about the smog and pollution.
    It has improved in the years I’ve been here but still has a long way to go to get to American standards.

    Reply

  6. Don Bacon says:

    China is not out of water, it’s just not all in the right place. The South-to-North Water Diversion Project will help to correct that.

    Reply

  7. Jim Bishop says:

    I just left China after 7.5 years of living there and traveling widely. Nobody should prognosticate on China’s future until they have carefully researched the country’s water problems. China is not just short of water. China is out of water.

    Reply

  8. Michael Miles says:

    Thanks Steve, I shared the post with my friends.

    Reply

  9. susan says:

    We may join the ranks of the most polluted if the utilities companies have their way:
    Utilities Quietly Try to Gut Clean Air Act as Climate Peacocks Squawk
    by RLMiller
    Utilities Quietly Try to Gut Clean Air Act as Climate Peacocks Squawk Thu Jul 15, 2010
    The big fight on the energy/climate bill is supposed to be whether the Senate can find 60 votes for, if not an economy-wide cap on carbon, then at least a utility-only (e.g., coal-fired electric power plants) cap on carbon. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of the flashier climate peacocks, says even that scaled back climate bill can’t find 60 votes to pass the Senate this year.
    The real fight is not on the floor of the Senate, but at the Caucus Room restaurant in Washington, where electric utilities attempt to eviscerate the Clean Air Act: not just relating to greenhouse gases, but also well-known health hazards such as mercury and sulfur dioxide.
    Politico has the story, and it’s not pretty: “The power companies want relief from the air pollution rules as a price of entry into negotiations if they are going to accept a mandatory carbon limit that won

    Reply

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