Tag Archives: China

Clean energy is gaining ground.

That was one aspect of a new report on renewable resources. Yes, they are gaining ground against fossil fuels, but not quite fast enough. The next twenty years will see a huge transformation of the world’s energy system, but coal will still be present and oil demand will be flat.

Even if countries are turning towards green energy they are simply not changing fast enough and we are still pumping too much fossil fuels into the atmosphere. Governments need to put more forceful measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The major themes of this new report on the energy outlook to 2040 is that wind and solar are making gains. These two green energies could produce 40% of the wold’s electricity by 2040, up 25% from today. Coal will still be used but it will eventually plateau as China turns more towards green energy. By 2040 coal will be less used in China than green energy. As for oil, global use of oil will peak by the mid-2020’s. Only a quarter of the oil is used for cars and this means that the other usage of oil will still continue. Ships and airplanes still use oil as well as the plastics industry. Global oil demand will still rise through 2040.

It is clear that despite gains made in renewable resources we are still not on the right path. Global carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.6% last year and will climb again this year. The report projects that emissions will keep rising until 2040. Because carbon-free sources like wind and sun are not growing fast enough to accommodate demand especially in places such as India and Southeast Asia, this means that fossil fuels will still be needed to fill the gap.

To change this countries will have to invest more in renewable resources as well as diminish methane leaks from existing wells and develop technology to capture carbon and sequester it. Governments are key as they invest worldwide 2 trillion dollars annually in energy infrastructure of which 70% are state-directed.


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Wasting fish resources.

According to a recent report one in three fish caught never makes it to the plate as it is either thrown back overboard or rots before it is eaten. The recent report also shows that total fish production has reached a record high, mainly because of fish farming, especially in China. Half the fish that is consumed in the world comes from aquaculture.

The amount of wild fish caught has not changed since the late 1980’s with a third of commercial fish species being over fished. Expansion of fish farms will continue and will produce 20% more fish by 2030 and this will help sustain people but could hurt wild fish populations as the feed of fish farms comes from wild fish such as sardines and anchovies.

Fish are crucial for the nutrition of billions of people but over fishing is rife in some areas of the globe, most notably in the Mediterranean, the Black seas and the Southeast pacific. Data suggests that wild fish stocks are declining faster than thought and now half of the world’s oceans are industrially fished.

The recent report suggests that 35% of global catches are wasted. Most of these losses are due to ignorance as well as a lack of refrigeration needed to keep fish fresh. To cut losses other solutions include raised racks for drying fish on land and better facilities for handling crabs have cut losses of these by 40%.

The report is clear that aquaculture is here to stay and will continue to expand as more and more people eat fish. Most fish now eaten come from fish farms, 53% exactly. But fish farming is not sustainable in the long run as other fish are used as feed and this is a waste of food. Curbing the amount of fish that is wasted could go a long way in reducing the pressure on wild fish populations now and in the future as well as reducing the reliance on fish farming

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Over fishing the oceans.

A new map just published shows how much of the oceans are being over fished. More than half of the world’s oceans are now being fished by industrial vessels and more than 70,000 vessels cover a greater surface than agriculture on earth. As it stands, more than one-third of commercial fish stocks are caught at levels that cannot be sustained and fish stocks are in decline everywhere.

Among the findings are that five countries account for 85% of commercial fishing measured by hours at sea. China accounts for half of that number, and the others include Spain, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Let us not forget that people eat on average 20kg of fish each year but in developing countries, up to 70% of their proteins come from fish.

The only hope to prevent over fishing is that human beings restrain themselves. After all, on weekends and holidays the map shows sharp declines in fishing at these times. Cultural and political events impact on fishing show that humans still control the fate of the world’s fisheries.


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Pandas no longer in danger.

This is the good news according to Chinese scientists, that the panda is not in danger anymore. However, the natural habitat in China is in serious danger. According to researchers panda habitats have seriously declined since 1990.

The habitat of the panda has been divided into tiny sections by logging, human encroachment, road construction and agriculture. This process called fragmentation can and will have an effect on the future of the panda.

Once again, only the Chinese government can help the panda survive on a longterm basis. The government helped in the past by restoring bamboo forests and established national habitat reserves. By building corridors between panda populations and reducing the fragmentation of the habitat the government can ensure the survival of the panda, despite climate change.

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China’s appetite for fish.

We are depleting the world’s oceans of fish by over fishing, and now 90% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited or are facing collapse. Millions of people in the world and especially in the developed world depend on the sea for food and income. One country above all has an enormous impact on the fisheries of the world, China.

China with its population and its growing wealth are directly affecting some of the fish in the oceans. Having depleted the fisheries close to home Chinese fishermen are now sailing further and further away to exploit other fisheries. With the home government subsidizing the fishing fleet exploiting far flung areas of the globe for fish is possible.

Africa is now the destination of choice for the Chinese fishermen, more precisely West Africa. They are drawn to the area by corruption and weak governments that cannot enforce their own laws. Experts now say that two-thirds of the Chinese boats engaged in fishing there contravene international or national laws.

To illustrate the power of this Chinese fishing fleet suffice to say that the fleet has now grown to 2,600 vessels while the United States as fewer than one-tenth as many. These ships are so large that they scoop up as many fish in a week as Senegalese boats catch in a year.

What makes all this possible is the subsidies that the Chinese government gives to the boat owners who without this could not fish off the coast of Africa. In some cases these subsidies made the difference between a profit or a loss for the them. And that does not include the subsidies given to Chinese ports.

The impact on a poor country like Senegal has been massive; fishing stocks have plummeted and the locals cannot compete with the mega trawlers used by the Chinese. With less sea products there is less income for them and this results in higher food prices for the Senegalese citizens.

But there is a push back now by some affected countries. Indonesia has impounded some Chinese boats caught poaching in their waters and the Argentines sank a Chinese vessel that tried to ram a coast guard boat. Clashes between Chinese fishermen and South Korean authorities have resulted in deaths.

Perhaps eventually the Chinese government will cut back on those subsidies, especially if the rate of growth diminishes in the future or if an ecological movement can flourish in China. Faint hopes of course when faced with a dictatorship such as the one found in China.

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