Renewable Energy covers 100% of new demand in China

China covered all its new energy demand with renewable energy in 2015 – and there was still plenty left to spare

China is drawing evermore power from renewable energy. Greenpeace says the country's growth in wind and solar energy exceeded new electricity demand. Ningxia Wind Farm in northern China
China is drawing evermore power from renewable energy. Greenpeace says the country’s growth in wind and solar energy exceeded new electricity demand. Ningxia Wind Farm in northern China. Image credit Lang Rover Our Planet / Flickr

China installed half of the world’s new solar and wind capacity last year.

But the Chinese aren’t just beefing up their renewable capacity, they’re also cutting down on coal. The new clean energy power plants along with a shift away from heavy industry, mean that coal use in China has dropped over the last three years… Continue reading Renewable Energy covers 100% of new demand in China

Gongyuyan China: Villages reap benefits of ecological planning

Gongyuyan China – Villages reap benefits of ecological planning

Gongyuyan China The Gongyuyan scenic spot offers spectacular views including a stone forest and the Shenlong waterfall in Tianshi township, Xianju county.
Gongyuyan China. The Gongyuyan scenic spot offers spectacular views including a stone forest and the Shenlong waterfall in Tianshi township, Xianju county. Image courtesy of China Daily

“The government of Xianju, Zhejiang province, recognizes environmental protection requires more than pure policy-it’s also a battle for hearts and minds.

That said, none of these are mutually exclusive. Rather, the county has demonstrated they are symbiotic.

Upon realizing the underdeveloped county’s progress depends on ecotourism and organic farming, authorities set out to build consensus that green is the way to go.

“There were debates about why we should seek green development-and how,” says Xianju’s policy research department director Zhu Huwei.

“Now, people from the bottom to the top agree on this path. Our goals, strategies and practices are all based on this concept. People have already started to see the financial benefits.

“People used to believe economic development and ecological protection were inherently at odds. But they don’t need to be.”

The county’s GDP has grown rapidly over the past years, during which time tourism has doubled.

“Many other places developed fast but had to turn around later to deal with pollution,” Zhu says.

“We’ve been figuring out how to use our ecological advantages to develop rapidly over the past decade.”

This has led to the rise of a grassroots “ecological culture”, he says. Volunteer groups clear trash in rivers, valleys and mountains.

Zhejiang province recently designated the county as a pilot zone for the standardization of green practices because of its track record.

“We’re setting standards-what’s a green school, what’s a green hospital, what’s a green office,” Xianju’s Party chief Lin Hong explains.

“Sustainable development goes beyond government and business operations to include residents’ daily lives. For instance, do people shop with plastic or cloth bags?”

Lin also advocates the reduction of food waste and donations of secondhand items.

The government has introduced a “1-3-5” recommendation in which, one day a week, people walk to work if their jobs are closer than 3 kilometers and bike if they’re within 5 km.

Zhu says he rides rather than drives.

Public institutions and private enterprises are encouraged to agree to a “green convention” about behaviors they voluntarily assume.

Offices are encouraged to go paperless and print on both sides if physical copies are necessary. Workers are expected to turn off the lights and airconditioning when they, say, leave for lunch.

A system similar to the green convention offers guidelines for ordinary people.

Danzhu township has issued 10 suggestions for residents, including sorting trash, repurposing old items and refraining from littering.

“There isn’t a tradition of sorting garbage in villages,” publicity officer Zheng Yi says.

“We want to change mentalities.”

Teams inspect homes to see if they’re in compliance. Those who are receive small gifts, such as towels, detergent and thermoses. Households who separate kitchen waste and recyclable items earn 1 yuan (15 cents) a day after 30 days.

But it is more of an ethical than a material concern, Zheng explains. “If people’s morality is enriched, they’re more likely to engage in green behavior,” he says.

Villages also form women’s and Party volunteer teams to promote green behaviors.

A peculiar park in Xiachenzhu village bears testimony to the ethos. Four walls constructed with materials recycled from collapsed farmhouses stand in a field previously occupied by tombs, pigpens and a manure pit.

“We let the weeds grow so villagers appreciate nature,” Zheng says.

But while there are no punishments for violating the guidelines, Xianju has also introduced punishable environmental ordinances.

Villagers organize patrols of up to five people to monitor behaviors along waterways and in forests.

Fines ranging from 500 to 10,000 yuan are issued for illegal fishing, dumping trash, camping and fires along Xiachenzhu’s Weiqiang River, for instance.

It’s a question of guidelines versus red lines. “It’s a gradual process,” Lin explains.

“Interestingly, villagers have done a better job than urban residents. Although people in the city typically have more education … Supervision isn’t enough. We need to do more.” —  Xianju sets an example for clean growth — by ERIK NILSSON (China Daily)

When President Xi Jinping was serving in Zhejiang province 11 years ago, he said: “Lucid water and lush mountains are invaluable assets.” He was suggesting that a green environment would help people become wealthy. That statement has been turning into a reality in recent years in Xianju county, in southeast Zhejiang, as the county’s efforts… Continue reading Gongyuyan China: Villages reap benefits of ecological planning

UN chief praises China’s G20 summit leadership

The 11th G20 Summit is to be held on Sept. 4-5 in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou, is expected to make an action plan on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to focus more on development issues with an aim to inject new impetus into the world economy and promote global consensus on development.

The theme of the summit is: “Toward an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy”

G20 Summit, China - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attends a press conference at the Climate Action Special Executive Session. Hangzhou, China
G20 Summit, China – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attends a press conference at the Climate Action Special Executive Session. Hangzhou, China

UNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday spoke highly of the Chinese leadership in focusing the upcoming summit of the Group of 20 (G20) on promoting green growth and bolstering the presence of developing countries.

Continue reading UN chief praises China’s G20 summit leadership

China Holds First Nuclear Safety Drill

China holds first nuclear safety drill amid safety concerns

China nuclear power plants 2016
China nuclear power plants 2016. Image courtesy of www.nrdc.cn

Beijing (dpa) – China has held its first comprehensive nuclear security emergency drill to test and improve its incident response, authorities said Sunday. The drill, code-named “Fengbao-2016,” took place Saturday and did not have a pre-planned result in order to better test the effectiveness of security systems, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for… Continue reading China Holds First Nuclear Safety Drill

The Synergy of the Good Economy

Reposted from JohnBrianShannon.com

An economy that constantly grows and improves because it has enough virtuous circles (and cycles) is by design, a good economy.

It’s what every economy wants to be when it grows-up.

However, there are no generally accepted metrics to measure what constitutes a good economy — but a definition by Edmund S. Phelps in his recent Project Syndicate essay is a definition that one can appreciate.

It is worth noting that the UN Happiness Index could be a way to grade the successful march towards a ‘Good’ or ‘Virtuous’ economy, as nations that rank highly on the UN Index also tend to have high productivity, high per capita income, low unemployment, a high degree of personal rights and freedoms, low crime rates (and related to that stat) generally high levels of education, and in other ways their citizens live fulfilling lives in a stable environment.

It’s easy to ‘work it back’ from the end-user point-of-view.

Another way to grade the march toward a Good Economy would be the Social Progress Imperative’s SPI Index.

If nations are ranking highly on SPI heuristics, it’s obvious that everything needed to support those high grades are *already in place* and working. Ergo, a high-scoring SPI nation is one with a Good Economy.

Social Progress Index 2015
The Good Economy as demonstrated in the Social Progress Index 2015

Perhaps nations (and economists!) should put more emphasis on UN Happiness Index and SPI heuristics and less emphasis on GDP growth.

After all, You Can’t Feed a Family with GDP

The 1%’ers will always rate their country highly on the UN Happiness Index and on the SPI Index, as their incomes and security are guaranteed and their income growth meets or exceeds GDP growth. What matters in this case, is what 99% of the population thinks.

In developed countries, GDP growth has largely plateaued, and even in the United States of America the largest economy on the planet and the country with the strongest military, GDP growth is anemic at 2% annually.

There just isn’t room to grow the U.S. (and other) developed economies more than 2% per year under the existing paradigm.

“If you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep on getting what you’ve been getting.” — Jackie B. Cooper

Einstein said something similar — “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Therefore, to try to get more growth out of the U.S. economy by ‘doubling-down’ on everything that we’re already doing, does nothing except prove the truth of such quotes.

But what the U.S. hasn’t tried (enough) is to use heuristical analyses to plot a policy path towards high UN Happiness Index and high SPI scores. By doing so, I posit that the U.S. could unlock another 2% of GDP growth annually.

If that’s true for the U.S. economy, it works double for China’s economy.

Did anyone else notice the productivity increases in China during, and for a short time after, the Beijing Olympics?

Yes, a mini economic boom occurred as a result of hosting the Olympics — just as it does in any country that hosts the Olympics. But productivity isn’t known to spike upwards when a country hosts the Olympics.

I guess after not seeing the sky for decades due to a permanent and thick blanket of industrial smog, Beijing residents finally got to see the sky — due to some very foresighted Chinese air pollution abatement policies that were implemented for the duration of the Olympics.

“Look everyone, The Sky!”

The Good Economy gave much-needed respite to Beijing residents during the 2008 Olympics by lowering smog levels which improved their quality of life, consequently and unexpectedly, worker productivity improved. Image by scmp
The Good Economy gave much-needed respite to Beijing residents during the 2008 Olympics by lowering smog levels which improved their quality of life, consequently and unexpectedly, worker productivity improved.

Constant smog is a normal state of affairs for residents of China’s major cities, except during the 2008 Olympics when special air quality policies went into effect (in Beijing only) unfortunately.

An improved quality of life picture for Beijing residents worked to improve overall productivity, improving the bottom line for Chinese companies.

Certain other perks were added, including never-before-seen-in-China freedoms to travel and to miss time from work in order to travel to the Olympics.

That’s what I call a virtuous circle!

Imagine if that could be made permanent. It’s an example of how improved lives for workers can positively affect productivity and the bottom line.

By employing end-user heuristical data, developing nations could double their GDP growth annually.

For the rest of us; Now that the standard economic tools to increase growth have largely ‘topped-out’ in developed nations, it’s now time to look at improving the lives of citizens by using heuristical analyses — to increase the happiness of citizens, which will increase productivity, improving the bottom line, leading to higher GDP growth.

The proof that this works well is easily found by investigating the Norwegian, Danish, Swiss, Swedish, Liechtenstein, and UAE economies.

Ultimately, the question is a regional one; How can we improve the lives of workers and their families so that productivity can be enhanced, and thereby improve annual GDP growth?

Some nations have asked, and the results have been astonishing.

Soon, people will be saying things like; “The synergy of the Good Economy is that the pursuit of happiness by individuals is directly related to the pursuit of worker productivity by corporations, which is directly related to the bottom line and GDP growth.”

And when those words are commonly spoken by both the masses and the elites, for the first time in history, our civilization will be firing on all cylinders — courtesy of the Good Economy.

by John Brian Shannon