Enormous grassland fires in Siberia/Mongolia this morning.
Posts tagged china.
China’s car dream sours - turning in BMWs for bicycles.
Great piece by the Financial Times.
China’s pollution problem in photos
Chinese ship runs into protected UNESCO reef in Philippines — while transporting 11 tons of illegal Pangolin meat
A Chinese vessel that ran into a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines held evidence of even more environmental destruction inside: more than 22,000 pounds of meat from a protected species, the pangolin or scaly anteater.
The steel-hulled vessel hit an atoll on April 8 at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site on Palawan island.
Coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said Monday that 400 boxes, each containing 25 to 30 kilograms of frozen pangolins, were discovered during a second inspection of the boat Saturday.
The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines said the Chinese vessel F/N Min Long Yu could have been carrying up to 2,000 of the toothless, insect-eating animals rolled up in the boxes, with their scales already removed.
The boat’s 12 Chinese crewmen are being detained on charges of poaching and attempted bribery, said Adelina Villena, the marine park’s lawyer. She said more charges are being prepared against them, including damaging the corals and violating the country’s wildlife law for being found in possession of the pangolin meat.
Here’s a NatGeo video of the endangered pangolin.
Rare Chinese Porpoises Dive Toward Extinction. Above, A Carcass of a Rare Yangtze Finless Porpoise.
“There are just 1,000 individual Yangtze finless porpoises left in the wild, according to a new report. That’s less than half of what a similar survey of the porpoises found six years ago.
The rapidly dwindling numbers have conservationists worried that the species could vanish from the wild as early as 2025.
“The species is moving fast toward its extinction,” said Wang Ding, head of the expedition to count the porpoises and a professor at the Institute of Hydrobiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Yangtze finless porpoises, the only freshwater finless porpoise in the world, live mainly in the Yangtze River and China’s Dongting and Poyang lakes. They are threatened by shrinking food resources and man-made disturbances like shipping traffic.
The expedition, which took place over 44 days last fall, comes after a similar trek along the Yangtze in 2007 failed to find any surviving Baiji dolphins, a close relative of the finless porpoise that was subsequently declared functionally extinct.
The new report showed that some finless porpoises are splintering off into relatively isolated groups, which could hurt their ability to reproduce. The scientists also noted that more of the animals seemed to be flocking to wharf and port areas, perhaps to look for food. ”
drawing by Adolfo Arranz
A must click.
Destruction in China.
Preserving old Shanghai: “Fake historic architecture … it’s like Disney World”. (Video report Financial Times)
This occurred shortly after 178 countries, including the US, rejected an agreement to protect elephants from ivory poaching. The demand for ivory is driven by Asia’s fast economic growth, lack of education, the Catholic church (yes), and corruption.
Poachers have killed 28 endangered forest elephants in the Nki and Lobeke national parks in southeast Cameroon in recent weeks, the conservation organization WWF said on Wednesday.
With demand for ivory rising from Asia, poachers have reduced the population of Africa’s forest elephants by 62 percent over the last decade, putting the species on track for extinction, conservationists say.
The parks of southeast Cameroon, along with parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, have some of the last significant populations of forest elephants.
“Elephants in these two protected areas in the Congo Basin are facing a threat to their existence,” said Zacharie Nzooh, WWF Cameroon representative in the East Region.
Nzooh said that between February 10 and March 1, WWF found the carcasses of 23 elephants, stripped of their tusks, deep in the Nki national park. A further five were found without their tusks in the Lobeke national park, further to the east.
“The poachers used automatic weapons, such as AK-47s, reflecting the violent character of elephant poaching,” he said, adding that park wardens lacked good weapons.
The US military - not politicians - is leading the federal government on climate change action.
America’s top military officer in charge of monitoring hostile actions by North Korea, escalating tensions between China and Japan, and a spike in computer attacks traced to China provides an unexpected answer when asked what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region: climate change.
Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, in an interview at a Cambridge hotel Friday after he met with scholars at Harvard and Tufts universities, said significant upheaval related to the warming planet “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’
“People are surprised sometimes,” he added, describing the reaction to his assessment. “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.”
Via Boston Globe
Before/After - Map shows shrinking range and dwindling populations of elephants in Africa. All eyes are on China, which is fueling the illegal slaughter of thousands of elephants for their tusks.
VANISHING ELEPHANTS Killing African elephants for their ivory is devastating a species that’s already losing ground to a growing human population. Via
Development knows no bounds.
Two million tombs in Zhoukou, one of the oldest cities on the mainland, have been removed over the past few months under a new provincial government policy to make more land available for agriculture.
A spokesman from the city’s civil affairs bureau, which is in charge of the grave demolitions, said the city government had no intention of halting the campaign, even though the State Council last Friday struck out a clause from regulations that allowed for forced demolition of grave sites.
“We are still clearing graves for farmland and we will definitely continue doing that,” he said. The spokesman said the State Council announcement only meant the civil affairs bureau had no right to carry out compulsory demolitions. “The courts and the police bureau will instead take responsibility for execution,” he said.
The revised version of the funeral and interment control regulation removed a sentence in Article 20 that allowed for forced demolitions.
We have a situation where no significant reform can be enacted in our congress without getting approval from the special interests first.
Gore is plugging his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. Much talk about China’s new carbon tax and carbon trading pilot programs. Worth listening to.
The continental United States endured its hottest year on record in 2012, and the planet’s 13 hottest years have all occurred since 1998,” David Leonhardt reminds us in the New York Times today.
“Major storms and wildfires are increasing in many regions. The air in much of China resembles soup. The seas are rising faster than forecast only a few years ago, and the costs of extreme weather are rising, too… In the end, the strongest economic argument for an aggressive response to climate change is not the much trumpeted windfall of green jobs. It’s the fact that the economy won’t function very well in a world full of droughts, hurricanes and heat waves.
David Leonhardt makes an economic case for tackling climate change in another op-ed in the NYTimes, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” He concludes with a rare and reasonable solution. Usually op-eds like this one concludes with a call to “action” and “we must do something,” which frankly we should all be sick of hearing by now.
Op-eds and similar ‘calls to action’ need to conclude with a discussion of solutions, no matter their difficulty.
I devoured Lord Stern’s now famous report six years ago (has it been that long!?). At the time Stern’s report was very controversial. It focused primarily on the economic impacts from climate, and had included some incredibly high numbers. It was widely thought to be out-of-touch with reality - that his numbers were wildly overestimated and his analysis of the models was flawed. True, this reception has softened somewhat over the years.
Now Stern says he didn’t go far enough.
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more “blunt” about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.
In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: “Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then.”
The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are “on track for something like four “. Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, “I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise.”
He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies.
“This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential.”