Archive for the ‘China’ Category

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May the force be with you. 🙂

Celebrating 4000 hits. Thank you!

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A gold rush of new investment into renewable power over the past 18 months has led the United Nations to conclude that clean energy could provide almost a quarter of the world’s electricity by 2030.

More than £35bn was injected into wind and solar power and biofuels in 2006, 43% more than the preceding year. Sustainable energy accounts for only 2% of the world’s total but the UN says 18% of all power plants under construction are in this sector.

The findings, outlined in the Global Trends in Sustainable Development annual review, represent a challenge to the received wisdom among energy experts that green power is likely to play only a marginal part in the energy mix until at least the second half of the century.

Says UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner: “One of the new and fundamental messages of this report is that renewable energies are no longer subject to the vagaries of rising and falling oil prices-they are becoming generating systems of choice for increasing numbers of power companies, communities and countries irrespective of the costs of fossil fuels.

“The other key message is that this is no longer an industry solely dominated by developed country industries. Close to 10 per cent of investments are in China with around a fifth in total in the developing world. We will need many sustained steps towards the de-carbonizing of the global economy. It is clear that in respect to renewables those steps are getting underway.”

More on the UNEP report here.

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The Grand Canal system of China (or Da Yun He), 2400 years old and 1800km long, is being revitalized piece by piece. It once connected Beijing at its northernmost extension and Hanghzou at its southernmost point, with many cities in between. Despite the fact that the canal is no longer navigable between Beijing and the city of Jining in Shandong Province, about a third of its length, the remaining section south to Hangzhou remains in heavy use. The complete transport artery once connected China’s great west-to-east river systems, carrying the goods, taxes and official communications that sustained successive dynasties.

In Hangzhou a huge restoration project costing $250m has been under way since 2001 to clean up the effluent from textile and petrochemical factories lining the canal, combined with raw sewage from the surrounding suburbs, which had poisoned this section of the world’s oldest man-made waterway. Historical monuments and buildings have renewed protection, with walkways and parkland now lining sections of the canal and some of China’s most expensive apartment buildings have sprung up in what has become prime real estate.

For a growing number of activists campaigning for the preservation of the 1,794-kilometer canal and its many cultural and historical sites, this success is an important step in reversing almost two centuries of neglect, during which long sections of the waterway that links Hangzhou with the capital, Beijing, were abandoned or fell into disrepair.

“We can borrow from this experience,” said Zhu Bingren, a well-known Hangzhou artist who with fellow activists has called on the central and local governments to develop a comprehensive strategy for rehabilitating the canal. “It can’t be copied for every city, but a lot of experts are generally satisfied with Hangzhou’s method.”

More from the IHT here.

This is a very good example of local environmental activism working in China. The central government and many provincial cities now have the wealth to invest in projects that improve their city environments and invest in further wealth creation such as tourism.

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