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THE China Thread pt 7 (merged)

A forum for discussion of regional topics including oil depletion but also government, society, and the future.

Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby dorlomin » Sat 18 May 2013, 04:38:13

radon wrote:If we look at the past 20 years, there have been not to many scientific breakthroughs that are visible to the general public.
Really. Like the arrival of the 3G mobile technologies, the arrival of the internet to the home.....

Try again.

We are talking about technologies not pure science. Much of the pure science that led to the computer revolution was practically unknown to the public, things like the nailing down of the quantum physics that led to semi conductors.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby dorlomin » Sat 18 May 2013, 04:41:55

SeaGypsy wrote:Yeah right, developers of disruptive technologies have the upper hand over vested interests in our fabulously open societies.
Who said they have the upper hand?

However they have way more of a chance than in other societies. In an imperfect world we merely have the least imperfect society.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby radon » Sat 18 May 2013, 04:54:15

dorlomin wrote:
C8 wrote:Nazi Germany was the least open society you could imagine and produced amazing inventions.

It lasted about 14 years.


Because they failed to expand their markets (arguably).

radon wrote:
If we look at the past 20 years, there have been not to many scientific breakthroughs that are visible to the general public.

Really. Like the arrival of the 3G mobile technologies, the arrival of the internet to the home.....


Well yes, this is a contentious point really, I agree. On the other hand, those are examples of consumer adaptation of the existing technologies developed much earlier, illustration of consumerism and marketing as the dominant driving forces. Their introduction coincided with the globalisation, i.e. expansion of the US markets to the entire world. And neither of these technologies was particularly disruptive from the qualitative point of view.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby dorlomin » Sat 18 May 2013, 05:17:06

radon wrote:Because they failed to expand their markets (arguably).
They were a centralised command economy guided by an individual who placed greater worth on the image than detail. Take rockets, started as a non government project (of the type the Nazis would have banned), a hobby group, by young kids. These kids then got picked up by the Nazis because the innovation looked so flashy. They invested staggering amounts of money and resources to produce a very showey machine that could land 1 tonne of explosives on some random part of the UK, often the English countryside.

The democracies on the other hand remained focussed on piston engined bombers that were less impressive but could run multiple missions with up to 8 tonnes of weaponry. In part because one system was far more focussed on getting the job done than trying to show off it got the job done and their system of economic and social ordering continues today having seen of the nazis, the Marxist Lennists and all other manner of competator social orderings.
Well yes, this is a contentious point really, I agree. On the other hand, those are examples of consumer adaptation of the existing technologies developed much earlier, illustration of consumerism and marketing as the dominant driving forces. Their introduction coincided with the globalisation, i.e. expansion of the US markets to the entire world. And neither of these technologies was particularly disruptive from the qualitative point of view.
I think you really do not understand what a disruptive technology is. The internet is in the process of displacing vast amounts of traditional retail and mobile hand sets are completely replacing all kinds of older markets including the first drop in new PC sales in decades.

Formerly market dominant companies are going out of business quite regularly because they did not adapt and did not have a strong enough grip on the law to strangle the competition. And by god the music industry for one did its damnedest.

Thats the point. The old technologies do fight back, but in our societies, vested interests have the least access to power (compared to other societies)so our societies have the most space for new innovations to prosper.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby C8 » Sat 18 May 2013, 09:36:50

dorlomin wrote:
radon wrote:Because they failed to expand their markets (arguably).
They were a centralised command economy guided by an individual who placed greater worth on the image than detail. Take rockets, started as a non government project (of the type the Nazis would have banned), a hobby group, by young kids. These kids then got picked up by the Nazis because the innovation looked so flashy. They invested staggering amounts of money and resources to produce a very showey machine that could land 1 tonne of explosives on some random part of the UK, often the English countryside.

The democracies on the other hand remained focussed on piston engined bombers that were less impressive but could run multiple missions with up to 8 tonnes of weaponry. In part because one system was far more focussed on getting the job done than trying to show off it got the job done and their system of economic and social ordering continues today having seen of the nazis, the Marxist Lennists and all other manner of competator social orderings.
Well yes, this is a contentious point really, I agree. On the other hand, those are examples of consumer adaptation of the existing technologies developed much earlier, illustration of consumerism and marketing as the dominant driving forces. Their introduction coincided with the globalisation, i.e. expansion of the US markets to the entire world. And neither of these technologies was particularly disruptive from the qualitative point of view.
I think you really do not understand what a disruptive technology is. The internet is in the process of displacing vast amounts of traditional retail and mobile hand sets are completely replacing all kinds of older markets including the first drop in new PC sales in decades.

Formerly market dominant companies are going out of business quite regularly because they did not adapt and did not have a strong enough grip on the law to strangle the competition. And by god the music industry for one did its damnedest.

Thats the point. The old technologies do fight back, but in our societies, vested interests have the least access to power (compared to other societies)so our societies have the most space for new innovations to prosper.


Dorlomin- by singling out parts, I think you may have missed the entire spirit of my post- which was that there isn't as great a difference between many of these societies as we imagine. Yes, Nazi Germany lost- but so did democratic England, France, and many other nations before the US rescue (and let us not forget the Communist dictatorship that greatly helped us win and went on to take the lead in the space race for a while). You analysis seems ideologically simplified.

How democratic is the US really? Many of out inventions come through defense department funding with hardly any market intervention and less democracy (Internet, etc.). Why are so many democracies and open societies poor, corrupt, and completely non-inventive? Does a culture of learning have no role or is it merely the political system that matters? Will the dismal state of US education and culture of entertainment have so pulling effect on our magic "open" society? Does playing on an IPad move us ahead of people who are figuring out ways to greatly reduce the costs of windmills and reactors? I think the world is a little more complex than you see it. Chinese empires ruled by absolute monarchs (vested interests) for many, many years produced the most amazing inventions in the world- I think it is possible again. I will leave you the last word and hope that you will at least take a little time considering my points before you disagree.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby dorlomin » Sat 18 May 2013, 10:52:40

C8 wrote:es, Nazi Germany lost- but so did democratic England, France, and many other nations before the US rescue
England is not a nation and what did it lose now? I suspect I know a hell of a lot more about the history of the time than you. Especially the 'US rescue'.

The point was to illustrate that open societies have generally better mechanisms for making decisions.

Now that word again..... generally.

Command economies and dictatorships can use that to direct resources at a solution, sometime the solution works, but in the long run open societies have better decisions making processes (including the market) to select the best solutions. Eventually the vested interests in societies with less separation of economic and political power leads them to defend dead technologies. Innovation happens much slower and most especially the critical 'disruptive innovations'. The complete game changers. This is why these economies can catch up quickly (the follower model) imitation but have almost always failed to lead.


and went on to take the lead in the space race for a while). You analysis seems ideologically simplified.
Err I specifically referenced that. And gave an answer why they fell behind.
Only the USSR during the post war period really had a decent go at being a technical innovator and they fell back because of the lack of an open society promoting distruptive technologies that got in the way of vested interests


How democratic is the US really?
Wrong question.
Why are so many democracies and open societies poor, corrupt, and completely non-inventive?
Wrong question.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 18 May 2013, 11:58:53

ROCKMAN wrote: However much we might be concerned about what we see China doing we should probably be more worried about what we aren’t hearing.

Paranoid? Yep…been doing this for 38 years.


This is certainly true from my experience as well. I sold out 10 years ago from a position representing several European medical device manufacturers as a consultant for Latin America. I was involved in many bids and public tenders throughout the region and every large bid was already decided before the bid or tender was opened for bidding and published. The decisions were made either from bribes or from a particular head surgeon who wanted a specific equipment and a lock out spec of that product would be planted in the tender documents so that it was a foregone conclusion who would win. This is really standard business practice in most of the world.

On a geopolitical scale with resources you an absolutely assume that deals are being struck around resources. We continue to have a situation today where no single power can act with impunity in demanding more than their fair share of resources. By the same token we all know that the historical position of the US that lead to their 5% of the worlds population consuming 20% of oil will clearly slowly be shifting toward a more balanced distribution of consumption with China and other emerging nations on the rise.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 18 May 2013, 13:40:57

Ibon – When there are $billions at play it’s difficult to imagine the appropriate eleverage won’t be applied in such deal making. And then add that there may actually be some actual benefits to some country’s economy and citizens. Consider Saudi Arabia being so dependent upon food imports to survive and selling oil is the only way to satisfy that need. Oil that has a finite limit. How better to limit sales of a depleting resource but maintain income by grabbing more of the refining profits? Even an honest trade between them and China would make sense for both parties.

And: “…in demanding more than their fair share of resources.” Fair share? What a novel concept. LOL. Out of curiosity when was the last time in history do you recall a meaningful amount of any resource being shared “fairly”?
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby radon » Sat 18 May 2013, 16:02:23

dorlomin wrote:and did not have a strong enough grip on the law to strangle the competition.


In a consumer-driven economy, where a continuous flow of "innovations" is virtually imposed on the consumers in relentless pursuit of profit, such an attempt to strangle competition is akin to an attempt to strangle oneself. Take the PC software/hardware platform development - for many tasks, good old platforms could be more than enough. Yet the developer firms continuously impose more and more complex platforms on the consumers and discontinue support of the older ones, as otherwise their business model would crumble. This is despite decreasing marginal utility of these newer platforms for the consumer.

Also, interestingly, rockman mentioned in another thread that those oil extraction techniques that are now presented as "revolutionary" were actually invented decades ago - another pertinent example.

Law is more of a tool, it can always be turned another way if the objective vector of development changes. Non that it will start promoting injustice, it will promote an updated version of justice in the new changed environment.

Open society... it is mostly a myth, little more than a set of entitlements for a certain social group. And even for many of them it is an illusion. Nice name though.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby C8 » Sun 19 May 2013, 13:28:32

dorlomin wrote:
C8 wrote:es, Nazi Germany lost- but so did democratic England, France, and many other nations before the US rescue
England is not a nation and what did it lose now? I suspect I know a hell of a lot more about the history of the time than you. Especially the 'US rescue'.

The point was to illustrate that open societies have generally better mechanisms for making decisions.

Now that word again..... generally.

Command economies and dictatorships can use that to direct resources at a solution, sometime the solution works, but in the long run open societies have better decisions making processes (including the market) to select the best solutions. Eventually the vested interests in societies with less separation of economic and political power leads them to defend dead technologies. Innovation happens much slower and most especially the critical 'disruptive innovations'. The complete game changers. This is why these economies can catch up quickly (the follower model) imitation but have almost always failed to lead.


and went on to take the lead in the space race for a while). You analysis seems ideologically simplified.
Err I specifically referenced that. And gave an answer why they fell behind.
Only the USSR during the post war period really had a decent go at being a technical innovator and they fell back because of the lack of an open society promoting distruptive technologies that got in the way of vested interests


How democratic is the US really?
Wrong question.
Why are so many democracies and open societies poor, corrupt, and completely non-inventive?
Wrong question.


I know I said I would give you the last word but you exhibit so little class that I have to respond. This is the most lame response I have ever read on PO.com.

1. England (a commonly used name for Great Britain) is most definitely a nation- do you see it as a city?
2. NAZI Germany lost- and eventually England won (with much help)but dictatorship Russia won also- what the heck are you trying to prove with this gobblygook?
3. You introduced the word "generally" only after I blew five mile wide holes in your argument- I did notice that!
4. Instead of answering points that call your theories into serious question you seek to dismiss them with "wrong question!" What a lame coward response!

Dude- you don't know as much as you seem to think you know. Germany grew vigorously and invented under, authoritarian Kaiser's, Weinmar, Nazi's and afterwards. Haiti has been pretty non-inventive under any type of government. There is a vigorous middle class society in China- their authoritarianism allows room for entrepreneurial activity- the Chinese have a different culture than we do (I know this is hard for you to understand seeing as how you see all behavior as governed only by political systems).

You have a very, very, closed mind.
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby radon » Mon 20 May 2013, 06:32:43

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/CBIZ-01-200513.html

A specter has been haunting the Western Hemisphere since mid-summer 2012, the specter of China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) routinely patrolling the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
...
The whole psychodrama unfolded at the end of June 2012, when then Chinese premier Wen Jiabao made a stopover on the Portuguese island of Terceira, in the Azores, after a four-nation visit to South America. The Azores are placed right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the United States. Wen's blitz there fueled speculation that China had thrown an eye on Lajes Field, the local military air base jointly managed by Portugal and the United States.

By virtue of Lajes Air Field, Washington can control and patrol a vast portion of the Atlantic space. If Beijing were able to get its hands on this strategic outpost, it could disrupt air and sea traffic between Europe and North America, deny maritime access to the Mediterranean Sea and even threaten the US eastern coast, according to some naval experts.
...
China's potential ability to operate in the central Atlantic is directly connected with its drive for a prominent role in the seas around the North Pole - the shortest shipping route linking China and the North Atlantic passes through an ice-free Arctic Sea.

China signed a free-trade agreement with Iceland on April 15, the first such deal between China and a European country.
...
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Re: CHINA’S ARCTIC DREAMS

Unread postby dissident » Sat 15 Jun 2013, 20:09:23

radon wrote:
dorlomin wrote:and did not have a strong enough grip on the law to strangle the competition.


In a consumer-driven economy, where a continuous flow of "innovations" is virtually imposed on the consumers in relentless pursuit of profit, such an attempt to strangle competition is akin to an attempt to strangle oneself. Take the PC software/hardware platform development - for many tasks, good old platforms could be more than enough. Yet the developer firms continuously impose more and more complex platforms on the consumers and discontinue support of the older ones, as otherwise their business model would crumble. This is despite decreasing marginal utility of these newer platforms for the consumer.

Also, interestingly, rockman mentioned in another thread that those oil extraction techniques that are now presented as "revolutionary" were actually invented decades ago - another pertinent example.

Law is more of a tool, it can always be turned another way if the objective vector of development changes. Non that it will start promoting injustice, it will promote an updated version of justice in the new changed environment.

Open society... it is mostly a myth, little more than a set of entitlements for a certain social group. And even for many of them it is an illusion. Nice name though.


Western consumer innovation is a crock of shite. Take the software that you refer to. The MS Winblows pseudo-monopoly is an engineered bloat conveyor. Every new version of Winblows runs slower on the same hardware. The applications sold for this absurd OS undergo the same bloat process. There is nothing fundamentally new between Windows XP and Windows 7, which was the crap Vista rejigged to be more like XP. Point and click or touch the screen does not require gigabytes of RAM and several CPU cores. The firmware and drivers written for Winchunks are a pure attrocity: software is a deterministic system but from the boot process there is clear evidence of randomness that reflects bugs.

Windows has a competitor that is "socialistic" freeware called Linux. Linux lacks only in support from driver and software writers who all love Microsoft Monopoly. Linux is based on Unix which was written to do real work with computers and not shuffling images of folders with mouse drags. It does not have the incredibly moronic "registry" file that just loves to corrupt itself and gets filled up with layers of junk that is nearly impossible to remove. No OS should ever use a file such as the Windows registry to function. This is not innovation, this is stress-inducing garbage.

Somebody was fawning over 3G cell phones. Whoopdy f*cking do. Wow a tiny screen to surf the web while on trips, if you can afford the roaming fees. Meanwhile you irradiate your brain cells at levels causing DNA damage (link) when you use these "marvelous" devices for their original purpose as telephones. What a stupid and dangerous toy.

Yeah, some aspects of western culture are nice and there is actual innovation, but trumpeting this as the pinnacle of human achievement is highly dubious. And comparing it to more messed up societies takes the cake for measuring with the wrong metric. When your ruler has a length of zero, everything it measures is infinitely long.
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The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 02 Jul 2013, 17:54:52

The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

This year another problem has arisen – China simply is not growing as fast as it used to. For weeks now the financial press has been wringing its hands over the lackluster numbers coming out of Beijing and their impact on the global economy. Although Beijing still claims to be growing its GDP at 7.7 percent a year, these numbers are becoming increasingly suspect. While the central government may see the merits of accurate growth statistics, those at lower levels have a great incentive to look as good as possible. Some recent numbers such as the growth in electricity production in the 1st quarter suggest that China’s economy may now be growing at a rate closer to three percent.

Part of the current problem dates back to 2008. In order to sidestep the effects of the global recession, Beijing undertook a $2.5 trillion stimulus program so that whatever was dear to local officials’ hearts was built with borrowed money no matter the economic benefit. Airports, apartments, high-speed rail lines, shopping malls sprang up everywhere. Many of these projects are seriously underutilized and are unlikely to ever pay back the money invested.

While the exact numbers are unknown, the debt acquired by China’s local governments is thought to be on the order of $2-3 trillion while much of debt has been off the books through “shadow financing.” This surge in local government spending amounted to a Chinese version of America’s sub-prime lending debacle, except this one went for public works and apartment buildings rather than single family housing.

Unregulated off-the-books “shadow banking” which has doubled in the last three years is now thought to total some $6 trillion. Government officials are concerned that it is out of control. Last month efforts to clamp down resulted in a spike in inter-bank interest rates and fears of a liquidity crisis. Whether China has the tools to work its way out of all this without a major economic slowdown has yet to be seen — but many observers are worried.


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Re: The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

Unread postby agramante » Wed 03 Jul 2013, 08:16:04

I've been reading about this too, Graeme, though I'm no economist. It still doesn't take much conversation about various types of interest rates and markets before I have to go scrambling for some definitions. But essentially, China's likely gone far more Keynesian than most of the rest of the world suspected, and now that its export-based economy is suffering with the rest of the world's general lack of recovery, that borrowing might well become a serious problem. Good thing their finance sector hasn't dreamed up a $1+Q derivatives liability on top of the actual debts, huh? Then they'd really be screwed.

Richard Heinberg has written in "The End of Growth" and in other places about the limits of capital. Basically, when the economy is no longer expanding in real terms of physical goods traded and manufactured, then it is no longer capable of generating sufficient profits to pay off existing liabilities--i.e., the economy starts to shrink, with consequences for everyone. If these report about China turn out to be reality, that there is far more debt within their system than realized before, then yes, I'd agree with your title: China, and by extension the world, is at (or a little past) the economic turning point. But as with the oil supply, I doubt we'll know conclusively until the decline is undeniable. But we've been bumping economically up against the limit of oil prices for about five years now. And in a world of overall economic shrinkage, growth in any one country is not even a zero-sum game: it's a net-loss game, considering all the other countries.
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Re: The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Wed 03 Jul 2013, 17:36:40

a - I can't explain why but at a gut level a China growing at a steady 3.5% worries me more than one growing at a very high rate that could lead to a bubble pop. Consider the US: 4 years after our bubble popped we're still not close to a 3.5% growth rate. If a high growth rate in China did lead to a pop it could significantly hinder their efforts to control an ever increasing amount of global resources. But a China growing steadily even at a modest rate? By some measures the US GDP is 7X to 9X that of China. Don't know if that's correct but consider how China is continuously gaining control of more energy resources. Where will they be in 20 years at a 3.5% growth?
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Re: The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

Unread postby agramante » Thu 04 Jul 2013, 02:11:18

Well, this is where my not being an economist could get me into some very silly trouble, like when I tried to talk about Hubbert linearization and then westexas showed up. But life is for learning, you know?

Just taking the absurdly simple-case numbers you tossed out, if the US economy is seven times larger than China (I seem to recall hearing that figure once or twice during the last campaign season), if it grows not at all in twenty years but China's grows at a steady 3.5%, then their economy will double and be roughly one-third of ours (assuming it's an annual growth rate). But nothing is ever that simple. It does reinforce the fact that for sheer magnitude our economy is bigger than theirs, as you'd expect in a country which industrialized 150 years ago. More worrisome by far is the line of thinking you've been developing for some time now--China's comprehensive efforts to gain control of future energy supply. In years to come that could lead to crippling effects here and elsewhere. (On a tangential note, as a child I repeatedly devoured picture books of World War II, including the Pacific campaign. And not once, until I was much older, did I consider or even wonder about the US' strategy regarding Japan's supply of oil.)

I suspect that China's new leaders are very aware that the export model China's been pursuing for the last twenty or thirty years is no longer enough, and that reckless, nearly-10% growth is a thing of the past. Their goal might well be to increase economic activity within their own borders. And how to do this without running horrible trade deficits like the US has over oil for the past several decades? Well, at least by controlling the refineries and signing some long-term development deals, they're mitigating the costs and programming them long-term into their national budget. They have all our mistakes to learn from as they do this.
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Re: The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 04 Jul 2013, 07:28:04

The USA economy is stagnant, for all intents and purposes of this post at least. Presuming it stays so due to energy expenses and the PRC keeps growing at 7% in a Western World Lost Decade scenario then by 2023 China will have doubled its economic GDP and instead of being 1/6th of the USA it will be 1/3rd. If the situation remains the same for 20 years instead in 2033 PR China will be 2/3rds of the USA. If everything remains that way for 25 years then China will surpass the USA.

One way or another I believe Peak Oil is going to disrupt all of those long term projections. None of the modern economically integrated countries can work in isolation like the USA did from 1865-1941. If someone stabs Russia we all start bleeding because their oil exports keep the world a stable place with barely running economies in Europa and the USA. Same thing in reverse, if the USA bleeds the EU and China suffer the effects.
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Re: The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Thu 04 Jul 2013, 09:17:14

Tanada – “None of the modern economically integrated countries can work in isolation like the USA did from 1865-1941.” Excellent point. I hope folks appreciate that it’s not very relevant that the US economy will still remain larger than that of China for many years but the amount of energy China will have to utilize just to reach 50% of the US size. All one has to do is consider that 5% of the global population had to use about 25% of global energy resource to get to where the US is today.

That’s the contest: it’s not the ranking of our economies but the battle to fuel them.
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Re: The Peak Oil Crisis: China at a Turning Point

Unread postby Vineyard » Thu 04 Jul 2013, 16:59:24

Well, ot also already predcited by some economists that China's growth might cool down rapidly by 2015.

The main problem in China is that they need the high growth rates and the money created by it to appease troublesome regions. A recession might become a big political problem for their government.
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Re: CHINESE FOSSIL FUEL CONTROL

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 23 Jul 2013, 17:03:40

China’s Coal-Fired Economy Dying of Thirst as Mines Lack Water

At first glance, Daliuta in northern China appears to have a river running through it. A closer look reveals the stretch of water in the center is a pond, dammed at both ends. Beyond the barriers, the Wulanmulun’s bed is dry.
Daliuta in Shaanxi province sits on top of the world’s biggest underground coal mine, which requires millions of liters of water a day for extracting, washing and processing the fuel. The town is the epicenter of a looming collision between China’s increasingly scarce supplies of water and its plan to power economic growth with coal.

“Water shortages will severely limit thermal power capacity additions,” said Charles Yonts, head of sustainable research at brokerage CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Hong Kong. “You can’t reconcile targets for coal production in, say, Shanxi province and Inner Mongolia with their water targets.”

Coal industries and power stations use as much as 17 percent of China’s water, and almost all of the collieries are in the vast energy basin in the north that is also one of the country’s driest regions. By 2020 the government plans to boost coal-fired power by twice the total generating capacity of India.

About half of China’s rivers have dried up since 1990 and those that remain are mostly contaminated. Without enough water, coal can’t be mined, new power stations can’t run and the economy can’t grow. At least 80 percent of the nation’s coal comes from regions where the United Nations says water supplies are either “stressed” or in “absolute scarcity.”

China has about 1,730 cubic meters of fresh water per person, close to the 1,700 cubic meter-level the UN deems “stressed.” The situation is worse in the north, where half China’s people, most of its coal and only 20 percent of its water are located.


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