IDR Sustainable Workplace

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The Chinese wall blocking environmental improvement

We all face difficulties in reducing our carbon footprint. Our efforts, however, are hardly helped by unfortunate and entirely self-serving interests such as those displayed by China in apparently scuppering the Copenhagen summit:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/22/copenhagen-climat...

Of course, one article does not make a water-tight case. Nonetheless it would seem to be indicative of a sense of hubris and national myopia (witness Bush and his attitude to Kyoto: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8422343).

However, with Obama as president and his apparent keenness to reach consensus on climate change, one side of the super power impasse seems to be easing (e.g., http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/a-13-2009-09-22-voa16-68663862...). It would appear that the attitude of China is set to be a frustrate the efforts of the rest of the world as we address potential environmental catastrophe (notably highlighted by the cabinet of the Maldives: http://www.rfi.fr/actuen/articles/118/article_5526.asp ).

The coin’s other side shows China as the world’s leading producer of wind turbines and batteries for greener motoring (e.g. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/07/china_unveils_w.php ). However, these require maglev and similar technologies that call for precious metal derivatives. These metals are mostly extracted from mines in Inner Mongolia. The Chinese will not allow western access to where these precious metals are mined. Requests for access are met with refusal. the only official information available is a government DVD praising its own sustainability ploicies.

However if you just have a look at some of the unauthorized photographs of Inner Mongolia at the foot of the following blog, you will see the condition in which that state finds itself: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendI...

This rather brings us full circle and presents China as a sizeable stumbling block on the road to a better global environment. How should we confront this? You thoughts would be welcome and interesting. Thanks for reading.

Craig

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