Searching for Impurity – Part 3/3

May 23, 2012

On page 23, Worst Polluted.org reported, “Almost every country in the world has some kind of industrial estate, with Vietnam and Sri Lanka estimated to each have 50 to 60 industrial areas, and India and China reaching hundreds of industrial clusters…”

On page 32, the report said, “Studies in China have found that certain crops, such as corn, are particularly susceptible to lead accumulation when grown in close proximity to smelters.”

There was also a list of four countries at the top of page 32 on regions most impacted by lead pollution and lead smelting. China was in last place with seven sites impacting 158,100 people. The other three countries/areas totaled more than 1.8 million people impacted by this type of pollution.

On page 43, there was a picture of a lead-zinc mining facility in China.

On page 59, there was a picture of a chemical manufacturing plant in China.

That was it. In seventy-six pages, China was only mentioned five times. What a disappointment. I was expecting so much more considering the amount of criticism heaped on China by its enemies and critics.

One city in China was listed as the most polluted in the world in 2006. I wondered why it didn’t make the list for 2011.

Linfen, China is situated in China’s southern Shanxi province along the banks of the Fen River.  In 2010, this city had a population of about 4.3 million inhabitants.

Then in 2007, Times Magazine said that China was home to 20 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, and said, “Only 1% of China’s 560 million urban residents breathe air that is deemed safe by European Union standards.”

However, it was tragic to learn that China is now leading the clean economy race. The Chinese government is “going for the gold” and “taking this challenge much more seriously than others … doing things differently, making longer-term, sustained commitments that are much larger,” wrote Andrew Winston in the Harvard Business Review. [ Harvard Business Review “China Leads the Clean Economy Race” Sept. 23, 2010 ]

China is investing about US$75 to $100 billion EACH year in clean energy for the 10 years between 2010 and 2020, according to the “country’s ten-year plan that made some jaws drop”. [ Harvard Business Review “China Leads the Clean Economy Race” Sept. 23, 2010 ]

China retained the top spot in 2010 as the world’s leading investor in low-carbon energy technology, according to a report by the US Pew Environment Group, which wrote that China’s “ascendance has been steady and steep … With aggressive clean energy targets and clear ambition to dominate clean energy manufacturing and power generation, China is rapidly moving ahead of the rest of the world.” [ Pew Environment Group report “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race 2010?”; BBC News “China tops global clean energy table” March 29, 2011 ]

On an end note, Worst Polluted.org mentioned the United States three times, Canada once and India twenty-three times. I didn’t check for any other countries on this report. As I finished posting this series, I realized that I could not score any points with China’s enemies and critics, since it was a country that many in the West love to hate. In addition, I suspect India is mostly ignored by these same people because it was a Western style democracy.

Return to Searching for Impurity – Part 2 or start with Part 1

For more on the topic of pollution, see The cause of China’s pollution or Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Conservative Carbon Conspiracy

October 27, 2011

Although China suffers from air pollution in its major cities and rivers, there are cities and rivers with cleaner air and water, such as Chengdu (more than 14 million people), Haikou (more than 2 million), Xiamen (about 3.5 million), Dalian (more than 6 million) and Zhuhai (1.5 million), and the Qi River in the north and the Li River in the south in addition to the Wusuli and Ussuri Rivers in the Northeast, and the Nenjiang River in the midwest.

Since the Western media often focuses on the pollution in China, this may come as a surprise to many, but China, like the United States, has environments that are not polluted.

After three decades of pollution, China is struggling to clean its environment, which in a capitalist, profit driven economic system is a challenge as it is in the United States.

Evidence of China’s efforts to clean its environment reveal itself in the fact that China has more hydroelectric dams (about 26,000—half the world total) than any nation, is replacing its old dirty coal-burning power plants with the latest clean-air technologies in coal power, and is the leader in solar and wind generating electricity in addition to developing safer, cleaner nuclear energy.

In fact, China produces more than 200 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from its hydroelectric dams while the US only produces 80 GW in third place behind Canada’s 89 GW.

However, in the US, conservatives from the Republican Party fight hard to curb environmental laws designed to decrease carbon based pollution due to coal burning power plants and the combustion engine.

There is an old saying in America that harkens back to the revolution, “Give me liberty or give me death,” but today, the unspoken conservative slogan should be “Give me carbon, profits and lower taxes or give me death.”

For example, the Huffington Post reported, “Obama’s Ozone Standards Retreat Angers Environmental Groups, Ignores Science… Only national enforcement will protect us here in Rhode Island from the ‘bad air’ days we experience due to ozone caused by out-of-state power plants,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement. “Many of these Midwestern power plants have inadequate pollution controls or none at all, and use tall smokestacks to launch the pollution into prevailing winds that bring ozone here to Rhode Island.”

Why would President Obama do this? The answer is pressure from the conservative majority in the House of Representatives that value profit over life.  Conservatives ignore the fact that cutting back on ground-level ozone could save, according to the EPA, an estimated 12,000 American lives, 58,000 asthma attacks and 2.5 million missed school or work days annually.

Meanwhile, the war of words in the US over global warming between conservatives supporting the oil and coal industries and environmentalists continues.

More evidence that increased carbon in the atmosphere is causing global warming was reported in World Without Ice by Robert Kunzig in the October 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine. “Fifty-six million years ago,” Kunzig wrote, “a mysterious surge of carbon into the atmosphere sent global temperatures soaring. In a geologic eye blink life was forever changed.”

What happened 56 million years ago is called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM.  Global warming during the PETM was caused by a massive and geologically sudden release of carbon. The PETM lasted more than 150,000 years until the oceans and forests reabsorbed the excess carbon. It brought on droughts, floods, insect plagues and extinctions.

If you doubt that carbon spewing into the atmosphere is not causing current global warming, I suggest reading the piece in National Geographic (link provided above).  Once the earth was hot and ice free, the ocean levels were 220 feet higher than they are now.

If we ignore these facts and continue business as usual as conservatives want, imagine what global warning and melting ice will do to property values and profits in areas that may soon be under water.

Discover The Cause of China’s Pollution

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China’s Green Challenge

October 6, 2010

After reading chapter 15 in, “Hot, Flat, and Crowded“, I decided to learn more about Thomas Friedman, the author, and discovered he has been the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and writes a foreign affairs column for The New York Times.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to discover that Chapter 15 in Friedman’s book is about China.

He has visited China regularly since 1990—nine years more than I have, and in chapter fifteen he writes in detail why it is so difficult to get things done there.

The China he describes is the one I’ve learned about since 1999 – not the China that the Western media and American politicians paint as dark and forbidding, while they pander to many Americans who suffer from Sinophobia.

Friedman mentions how China’s government is authoritarian but quickly dispels the power of that image by pointing out the lack of control China’s leaders have over the rest of the Communist Party scattered across a country the size of the US with a population five times larger.

China’s leadership in Beijing became aware of the environmental problems years ago, attempted doing something about it and was ignored by most of the 73 million Party members.

Friedman also justifiably pointed out how unfair it is to criticize China for pollution when the Western industrialized countries started long before the Chinese did.

He also says that the West shipped most of its dirtiest manufacturing industries to China.

The chapter concludes with Friedman urging China’s leaders in Beijing to enlist the help of more than a billion people in a partnership that would force the entire Communist Party to obey the environmental laws and clean up China’s air and water.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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China’s Going Green Challenge

July 15, 2010

For decades, the world watched the American lifestyle through TV and the Internet.  Now, the citizens of nations like China and India want the same lifestyle.  The downside is that having 1.3 billion people living like Americans means five times the pollution America produces.

It isn’t as if China is not doing what it can to go green and reduce pollution.  The problem is the number of people who expect a better standard of living.  China has also promised 700 million rural Chinese that the electric grid is coming their way and along with it electricity-dependent home appliances. Source: Huffington Post

Even with inefficient factories, like Guangzhou Steel, being closed and replacing more than a thousand older coal-burning power plants (like those still used in the US), China worries that the demand by Chinese consumers will foil China’s goals to reduce carbon emissions. Source: New York Times

If Americans are unwilling to give up their energy dependent lifestyles, why should the Chinese do without?

See China Going Green

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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