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Asia - July 28

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


China: Panda or Dragon?

Peter McKenzie-Brown, Language Matters
Until 15 years ago, China exported oil to neighbouring countries. Today, it has an almost insatiable appetite for the stuff. Since the Great Helmsman’s death in 1976, the People’s Republic has become the world’s second largest oil consumer (behind the U.S.) During those years Chinese consumption has quadrupled to about 7.7 million barrels per day while production – about 3.7 million barrels per day – has barely doubled. The International Energy Agency thinks China will burn 16.5 million barrels per day by 2030, after buying 13.1million barrels abroad. Think about it: Saudi Arabia’s total output is now less than 11 million barrels per day.
(25 July 2008)



China: Melting glacier leaves world's worst polluter with no room for doubt

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian
Up close, the sound of global warming at the face of the Urumqi No1 Glacier is a simple, steady drip, drip, drip. Just 30 metres from the main wall, the flood of meltwater becomes so powerful that it cuts a tunnel under the floor of grey ice, leaving only a blotchy, wafer-thin crust on the surface.

Compared with the collapse of ice shelves in the Antarctic, the melting of the mountains in China's far west is one of the less spectacular phenomena of global warming, but it is a more immediate cause of concern and hope.

There is concern because this glacier - more than almost any other in China - is a natural water regulator for millions of people downstream in the far western region of Xinjiang. In winter, it stores up snow and ice. In summer, it releases meltwater to provide drinking and irrigation supplies to one of the country's most arid regions. It brings hope because its rapid shrinkage is helping to set off climate-change alarm bells in a country that emits more greenhouse gases than any other...
(25 July 2008)




Energy in China: 'We call it the Three Gorges of the sky. The dam there taps water, we tap wind'

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian
In the vast natural wind tunnel that is Dabancheng, the gales that roar between the snow-capped mountain ridges get so strong that trains have been gusted off railway tracks and lorries overturned.

Such is the ferocity of the elements that police sometimes have to stop the traffic that passes through this arid, six-mile-wide plain on what was once part of the Silk Road. That used to be bad for business in Xinjiang, the most westerly region of China, which formerly depended on the trade route between central Asia and the densely populated cities in the far east.

Today, however, the gales themselves have become big business in Dabancheng. The area is home to one of Asia's biggest wind farms and a pioneer in a Chinese industry that is forecast to lead the world by the end of next year.

From the road, 118 giant turbines are visible miles before you reach them. Tourists stop for pictures, hair blowing as they pose near the whirring towers...
(25 July 2008)

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