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China Looks to Coal Bed Methane

Chi-Chu Tschang, Business Week
The country wants to dramatically increase its use of the coal-mining byproduct to meet its surging energy needs

As the Chinese economy grows at double-digit rates, satisfying the country’s energy appetite is a top priority for President Hu Jintao and his government. While China’s oil companies and their search for partners in places like Sudan commands most of the attention in the West, coal is of much greater importance to China than oil.

The country relies on coal to generate roughly three-quarters of its electricity. Imports only account for 1.8% of China’s coal consumption, with the rest coming from Chinese mines that employ 7 million coal miners. So it’s no wonder that Beijing wants to take advantage of methane, a gas that is a byproduct of coal mining, by using it to power steel mills, heat homes, and fuel public buses and taxis.
(3 January 2008)

Chinese shrug off $100 oil, but Beijing must beware

Emma Graham-Harrison, Reuters
Oil prices at $100 a barrel mean little to Chinese consumers insulated from the global rally by cheap fuel prices, but the latest market peak should sound a warning to Beijing over its disjointed energy policy.

China’s leaders extolled the virtues of energy efficiency at every turn last year, but refused to do the one thing that would immediately curb demand — lift the caps on gasoline and diesel prices, a move they fear would feed already-high inflation.
(3 January 2008)

Mao’s Home Province Goes Green

Mara Hvistendahl, WorldChanging s
The China Daily reports on a campaign to make three cities in Hunan, Mao’s home province, test zones for energy-saving and environmental protection strategies. Changsha, Zhuzhou, and Xiangtan will be singled out for improvements in public transportation, energy efficiency, and pollution treatment:

The provincial government will help the three cities build energy-saving, environmentally friendly industries, and make them more beautiful and livable.

Changsha will coordinate with its partner cities in sectors including infrastructure construction, pollution treatment and energy supply, said its mayor Zhang Jianfei yesterday.

Zhuzhou will protect its farmland and build leisure industries while strengthening efforts to improve the environment, said its mayor Chen Junwen.

Xiangtan will encourage the development of its hi-tech industries and make better use of its “cultural resources” – being the hometown of revolutionary leaders like Mao, said its mayor Yu Aiguo.

(26 December 2007)

Neighbors wary of China’s Three Gorges Dam

Audra Ang, Associated Press
Water seepage, landslides are undermining homes along shoreline

…For millions of Chinese living along the reservoir’s shores, the dam that the government said would give them a new life is stirring fresh concern.

Four years after the waters began rising in the 410 mile-long reservoir, villagers tell of warped foundations and fissures snaking along the earth. Pollution in the once fast-running river is building in the turbid reservoir. Landslides, common in the rainy region, are occurring more frequently. The ships are nothing new, but now they are one more reason for Wang to worry.
(30 December 2007)