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Clearing the air in China | PRI’s The World

‘Australia has issued a health warning about air pollution for travelers to Hong Kong. Australians with pre-existing breathing conditions or heart problems should be careful visiting the city. Much of the bad air in Hong Kong blows in from Guangdong, China’s most important manufacturing province. But there is plenty of evidence many factories are closing and many workers have left because the international economic crisis has cut demand for Guangdong’s industrial goods. That should mean less air pollution.

…Trade associations had been pressuring the local government to ease up on enforcing environmental regulations on struggling factories. But Wu Hong Jie, who heads the Pollution Control Division in Guangdong’s Environmental Protection Department, says no one’s backing down on enforcement. He says, “Whatever happens, we should stick to the environmental standards. We can find other ways to help companies survive. We shouldn’t just let them pollute.” But economic growth has long come first in this region.’

via Clearing the air in China (3:30) | PRI’s The World.

Three Mile Island’s 30th Anniversary Sees Nuclear Renaissance

Caught between a rock and a hard place:

‘Three decades later, fears of an atomic catastrophe have been largely supplanted by fears about global warming, easing nuclear energy into the same sentence as wind and solar power. Dogged by price spikes and an environmental assault on carbon dioxide emissions, fossil fuels are the new clean-energy pariah.’

via Three Mile Island’s 30th Anniversary Sees Nuclear Renaissance.

Nuclear Power Timeline: Meltdowns And Build-Ups

‘_ 1955: A U.S. government reactor makes Arco, Idaho, the world’s first town electrified by nuclear power.

_ 1957: The U.S.’ first commercial nuclear power plant becomes operational in Shippingport, Pa. (Nuclear reactors were already in service in the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom). It was retired in 1982.

_ March 29, 1979: Three Mile Island Unit 2 in Middletown, Pa., melts down. No one was killed or seriously injured that day, but the public relations disaster sets back the industry for decades.

_ April 26, 1986: Chernobyl nuclear power plant explodes in Soviet Ukraine, killing thousands. A radioactive cloud floats over much of Europe and large areas of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are contaminated.’


via Nuclear Power Timeline: Meltdowns And Build-Ups.

China launches vast water clean-up – SciDev.Net

‘[BEIJING] A project to improve water quality in China has been launched by the government, which says it is the largest expenditure on environmental protection since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

The project, which has an estimated budget of more than 30 billion Chinese yuan (around 4.4 billion US dollars) over 12 years, aims to counter the deteriorating water quality affecting millions of Chinese people and their livelihoods.’

via China launches vast water clean-up – SciDev.Net.

Nations Start to Agree on Paying for Climate Pledges –

‘March 23 (Bloomberg) — Nations are starting to agree on how rich countries could help pay for greenhouse-gas reduction and climate-change adaptation in developing markets, the United Nations said.

A proposed registry would list “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” by developing countries such as China and India and match them with pledges of financial and technological support by developed nations, the UN said in a document on the Web site of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Countries are “converging” on how the registry would work as part of UN climate talks this year, according to the March 17 document. The negotiations will culminate in a December meeting in Copenhagen. Emerging markets want richer countries to cut emissions first, saying the U.S., the European Union and other industrialized nations have contributed most to climate change. Only developed countries have targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which runs through 2012.’

via Nations Start to Agree on Paying for Climate Pledges (Update1) –

U.S., China worlds apart on climate change curbs – World AP –

‘WASHINGTON — China’s top climate negotiator’s visit to Washington Monday sent a fresh signal that the two countries, which account for about half the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, have a long way to go to reach a common agreement on how to cut emissions to prevent serious climate change.

China shouldn’t have to take responsibility for the 15 percent to 25 percent of its emissions that result from making products for the rest of the world, said Li, the director of the Department of Climate Change in China’s National Development and Reform Commission. ‘

via U.S., China worlds apart on climate change curbs – World AP –

Professor Lord Nicolas Stern video excerpt from Copenhagen.

March 12, 2009 Copenhagen, Denmark

Excerpt from Professor Lord Nicolas Stern’s plenary address at the Climate Conference:


“This is about a choice between patterns of development which look extremely different… these are about very different kind of choices so we have to bring the right kind of economics to bear…

The third feature of this story is that it is a flow stock problem, the flows each year build up into stocks, and the stocks of greenhouse gasses trap the heat and cause the problem of climate change. That of course is a very big part of the story, and it comes directly from the simple science of the story.

But it tells us some very powerful lessons for economics as well here, it tells us the costs of delay are very big. This is not a WTO negotiotiation which if it falls apart one year you pick it up again five years later and your more or less in the same position that you were before.

If you delay this one, because its a flow stock process, the stocks build up and you start in a significantly worse position with a five or ten year delay. Now these are all very powerful lessons for economic analysis from the simple structure of the science, and those are what we have to take on board if were translating the economics into policy.”