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Environment

07.15.15

Scientists Call for More Emission Cuts

It is still possible to limit average global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius (2˚C) and avoid catastrophic climate change, but the remaining global carbon budget—the amount of carbon that can be safely released into the atmosphere if this...

Conversation

07.08.15

Are China’s Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Meaningful?

Barbara A. Finamore, Sam Geall, Angel Hsu, Joanna Lewis, Li Shuo, Michael Zhao
Last week, Premier Li Keqiang said China would cut its “carbon intensity”—the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of GDP—to 60-65 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. Visiting Paris, the site in September of the United Nations Climate Change...

Environment

07.01.15

China Deepens Planned Cuts to Carbon Intensity

China has mapped out how it will try and peak greenhouse emissions by 2030 or before, details that could have a major bearing on U.N. climate talks aimed at delivering a deal in Paris later this year.The world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases “...

Books

06.16.15

The Yellow River

David A. Pietz
Flowing through the heart of the North China Plain―home to 200 million people―the Yellow River sustains one of China’s core regions. Yet this vital water supply has become highly vulnerable in recent decades, with potentially serious repercussions for China’s economic, social, and political stability. The Yellow River is an investigative expedition to the source of China’s contemporary water crisis, mapping the confluence of forces that have shaped the predicament that the world’s most populous nation now faces in managing its water reserves.Chinese governments have long struggled to maintain ecological stability along the Yellow River, undertaking ambitious programs of canal and dike construction to mitigate the effects of recurrent droughts and floods. But particularly during the Maoist years the North China Plain was radically re-engineered to utilize every drop of water for irrigation and hydroelectric generation. As David A. Pietz shows, Maoist water management from 1949 to 1976 cast a long shadow over the reform period, beginning in 1978. Rapid urban growth, industrial expansion, and agricultural intensification over the past three decades of China’s economic boom have been realized on a water resource base that was acutely compromised, with effects that have been more difficult and costly to overcome with each passing decade. Chronicling this complex legacy, The Yellow River provides important insight into how water challenges will affect China’s course as a twenty-first-century global power.―Harvard University Press{chop}

Environment

06.15.15

China’s Greehouse Gas Emissions Likely to Peak by 2025

China’s output of greenhouse gases could peak in 2025, five years earlier than it has promised, meaning that the world’s largest emitter may be able to quicken the pace of cuts in coming decades, according to a new paper published June 8 by the...

Reports

06.08.15

China’s “New Normal”: Structural Change, Better Growth, and Peak Emissions

Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
China has grown rapidly—often at double-digit rates—for more than three decades by following a strategy of high investment, strong export orientation, and energy-intensive manufacturing. While this growth lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty,...

Conversation

05.29.15

Did the Game Just Change in the South China Sea? (And What Should the U.S. Do About It?)

Yanmei Xie , Andrew S. Erickson, Susan Shirk, Jerome A. Cohen, Peter Dutton
As the 14th annual Asia Security Summit—or the Shangri-la Dialogue, as it has come to be known—gets underway in Singapore, we asked contributors to comment on what appears to be a recent escalation in tensions between the U.S. and China over the two...

Environment

05.20.15

Can China Really Meet Its Clean Energy Goals? And How?

Jill Baker
China is the world’s largest energy consumer, and its energy use is dirty and inefficient. But it is working hard to change that. Currently, coal accounts for nearly 70 percent of China’s total energy consumption, and this, coupled with an aging...

Books

05.19.15

No Ordinary Disruption

Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel
Our intuition on how the world works could well be wrong. We are surprised when new competitors burst on the scene, or businesses protected by large and deep moats find their defenses easily breached, or vast new markets are conjured from nothing. Trend lines resemble saw-tooth mountain ridges.The world not only feels different. The data tell us it is different. Based on years of research by the directors of the McKinsey Global Institute, No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Forces Breaking All the Trends is a timely and important analysis of how we need to reset our intuition as a result of four forces colliding and transforming the global economy: the rise of emerging markets; the accelerating impact of technology on the natural forces of market competition; an aging world population; and accelerating flows of trade, capital, and people.Our intuitions formed during a uniquely benign period for the world economy—often termed the Great Moderation. Asset prices were rising, cost of capital was falling, labor and resources were abundant, and generation after generation was growing up more prosperous than their parents.But the Great Moderation has gone. The cost of capital may rise. The price of everything from grain to steel may become more volatile. The world’s labor force could shrink. Individuals, particularly those with low job skills, are at risk of growing up poorer than their parents.What sets No Ordinary Disruption apart is depth of analysis combined with lively writing informed by surprising, memorable insights that enable us to quickly grasp the disruptive forces at work. For evidence of the shift to emerging markets, consider the startling fact that, by 2025, a single regional city in China—Tianjin—will have a GDP equal to that of the Sweden, or that, in the decades ahead, half of the world’s economic growth will come from 440 cities including Kumasi in Ghana or Santa Carina in Brazil that most executives today would be hard-pressed to locate on a map.What we are now seeing is no ordinary disruption but the new facts of business life—facts that require executives and leaders at all levels to reset their operating assumptions and management intuition.—PublicAffairs{chop}

Environment

05.14.15

Nepal Earthquake Highlights Dangers of Dam-Building in Tibet

Although the precise picture is still unclear, it’s likely that Nepal’s huge earthquake in April 2015 wreaked major damage on more than a dozen hydroelectric projects in Nepal.This should sound a shrill warning for projects across the border in...

Two Way Street

05.12.15

We Need to Stay Coolheaded

Zhu Feng
In recent years, a noticeable change has occurred in China-U.S. relations. The “problem areas” where the two countries tend to clash are increasing in both number and scope, and there has been a greater degree of hostility in judgments about the...

Books

04.30.15

Fantasy Islands

Julie Sze
The rise of China and its status as a leading global factory are altering the way people live and consume. At the same time, the world appears wary of the real costs involved. Fantasy Islands probes Chinese, European, and American eco-desire and eco-technological dreams, and examines the solutions they offer to environmental degradation in this age of global economic change.Uncovering the stories of sites in China, including the plan for a new eco-city called Dongtan on the island of Chongming, mega-suburbs, and the Shanghai World Expo, Julie Sze explores the flows, fears, and fantasies of Pacific Rim politics that shaped them. She charts how climate change discussions align with U.S. fears of China’s ascendancy and the related demise of the American Century, and she considers the motives of financial and political capital for eco-city and ecological development supported by elite power structures in the U.K. and China. Fantasy Islands shows how ineffectual these efforts are while challenging us to see what a true eco-city would be. —University of California Press{chop}

Environment

04.24.15

Fracking May be Needed in China to Wean it Off Coal

Fracking of China’s huge shale gas reserves will only have a modest impact on the environment if anti-pollution controls—many of them new—are enforced rigorously, says a new report from the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI).The ODI...

Conversation

04.23.15

A New Era for China and Pakistan?

Andrew Small, Paul J. Smith, Daniel S. Markey, Christopher Tang
This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Islamabad and showered Pakistan with attention and promises of $46 billion in development support. What does this intensified Sino-Pakistani engagement mean for Asia and the rest of the world? —The...

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