Archive for the ‘water’ Category

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

March 8, 2009

“Russia, just a few months ago a very oil rich nation, just made a very bad deal to raise $25 billion in cash from China by giving them oil for 10 years.  It is a very bad deal and shows how bad the world economy has become.”

That according to Newt Gingrich on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday March 8.

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From the People’s Daily

China will further promote cooperation and exchanges with Russia this year as the two countries embrace the 60th anniversary of their establishment of diplomatic ties, said China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi here Saturday.

China will fully carry out practical cooperation with Russia in various fields, including energy and science and technology, he told a press conference on the sidelines of an annual parliament session.

The two sides’ recent agreement on the construction of a crude oil pipeline project, a long-term crude oil trading deal and a financing scheme was a “mutually beneficial and win-win result”, said Yang.

The agreement signed in February allowed China to lend 25 billion U.S. dollars to Russia in an exchange for a 20-year oil supply starting from 2011 with a total volume of 300 million tons.

“China and Russia have come a long way in the past 13 years since the Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership of Cooperation was established,” said Yang. “A lot of achievements have been made in recent years particularly.”

He urged the two countries, both major countries and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, to join hands to promote world multi-polarity and greater democracy in international order.

Gas flares off under heavy snowfall at a liquefied natural gas ... 
Gas flares off under heavy snowfall at a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Sakhalin island outside the town Korsakovi Russia.(AFP/File/Natalia Kolesnikova)

“We should make greater contribution to promoting world peace, stability and development,” said Yang.

He also pledged to enhance high-level exchanges and mutual visits between the two countries and boost people-to-people interaction through such activities as the Year of the Russian Language in China that falls this year.

Source:Xinhua

Related:

Recession on track to be longest in postwar period

 Russia Reclaiming Raw Materials Like Oil, Coal

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The Next Big War Will Be Over Commodities

By John E. Carey
2008

Last Month President Bush went to Saudi Arabia to ask his friends there to increase oil production. The White House believed that by increasing supply, the price of gasoline per gallon at your friendly service station would drop. The president was rebuffed.

This month the United States urged upon the other large users of oil in the world community to join the “produce more” bandwagon.”

China, Japan, India and South Korea went along with the U.S. plan.

Cabinet ministers from the five countries, which account for more than half the world’s consumption of energy, agreed that the sharp surge in oil prices was a menace to the world economy, and that more petroleum should be produced to meet rising demand.

The five consumer countries, meeting in Japan before an energy conference of the Group of Eight industrialized nations plus Russia on June 8, 2008, argued that the unprecedented prices were against the interests of both producers and consumers, and imposed a “heavy burden” on developing countries.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries current president, Chakib Khelil, said that the cartel will make no new decision on production levels until OPEC’s September 9, 2008 meeting in Vienna.

So in just a few weeks time, we witnessed the President of the United States pleading for more production and the senior energy ministers from the U.S., China, India, Japan and South Korea joining in a chorus.

We at Peace and Freedom believe that when the engine of the free market jumps the tracks and supply and demand are ignored; one had better get ready for bad blood.

Then we have food. In the Philippines the people took to the streets demanding more rice. In Egypt, the people took to the streets demanding more bread. And some bad blood developed between Thailand, the world’s leading rice exporter, and Vietnam, perhaps the second most important rice exporter.

It seems the Vietnamese had underbid the Thais on contracts to export rice. The Vietnamese saw this as good business. The Thais viewed it as theft. Never mind that Thai rice is of higher quality and thus cists more.

China recently announced that it had “overbuilt” its industry and removed too much farmland from production. China now is instituting new regulations to preserve farmland and it is mapping a strategy to import more food.

Ethanol and other bio fuels seemed like a great idea to help add to U.S. oil stocks. But when all that corn disappeared into your fuel tank, the price of all corn went up. And corn not only feeds people but it is a huge source of livestock feed. So the price of pork and beef and all that other livestock that makes its way to the dinner table went up.

And food and fuels have never been in such demand. Never mind the huge increases in global population; with the combined populations of India and China eight times that of the U.S.

The world, believe it or not, is becoming more “middle class.” That means more people want gas burning cars which suck up a lot of fuel and add to global pollution. These new “middle class” folks also want a higher protein diet.

If one eats rice or corn or other grains the costs are somewhat manageable. But it takes four times more grain (and sometimes as much as six times) to put meat on pork or cattle before human beings eat that meat. So the high protein diet has a huge cost. It sucks up a lot more grain that human grain eaters ever would and it means the eaters need more dollars, rupees euros, yen or other denominations to buy every meal.

Bacon and eggs are more expensive, say, than the traditional rice bowl.

Finally, all these goodies, usually called commodities, are moving around the globe.

The Associated Press had an excellent article by Gavin Rabinowitz out on June 7.

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

 

Mr. Rabinowitz pointed out that looking south from Sri Lanka “just over the horizon runs one of the world’s great trade arteries, the shipping lanes where thousands of vessels carry oil from the Middle East and raw materials to Asia, returning with television sets, toys and sneakers for European consumers.”

That shipping lane is a possible flashpoint between India and China. Add in Japan, which gets just about all of its oil by that sea lane. And don’t forget the U.S. and the U.S. Navy. Those boys don’t want to see that sea lane interrupted by war, terrorism, piracy or any other form of bad blood.

So the bottom line, from our small window of the world is this: The next big war could well be over “commodities.”

We’ve used food and oil here as the most obvious examples of commodities worth fighting for. But it could be over uranium, tin, gold or who knows what. Even fresh water.

California is already starting to limit development due to water shortages. Australia is in the midst of a multi-year drought which has crippled Aussie grain production. And over use of fertilizers and pesticides in China and Vietnam have poisoned much of the ground water.

The next big war could well be over commodities.

Welcome to the new millennium.

Related:
China’s thirst for copper could hold key to Afghanistan’s future

Philippines Enacts Law Claiming Islands also Claimed by China, Others

China to strengthen water control in light of shortage

February 14, 2009

China will tighten water resources management and take measures to reduce waste to cope with worsening water shortage, Water Resources Minister Chen Lei said here Saturday.

Water shortage impelled us take into consideration of overall economic and social development and economical use of water resources to ensure sustainable economic and social development, Chen said at a national conference in Guilin, in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

GUILIN, (Guangxi), Feb. 14 (Xinhua)

China is planning to reduce water consumption per unit of GDP to 125 cubic meters by 2020, down 60 percent from now, Chen said. 

Water consumption averaged 229 cubic meters per 10,000 yuan worth of products, according to statistics provided by the Ministry of Water Resources (MWR) at the end of 2008. That figure was down 10 percent compared with the previous year.

Statistics released Saturday showed the country lacked 40 billion cubic meters of water every year, with almost two thirds of cities suffering various levels of water shortages.

More than 200 million rural people face drinking water shortages.

At the same time, farmland stricken by drought reached 230 million mu (15.3 million hectares) every year, nearly 13 percent of the total farming area.

The most severe drought in half a century, which is hitting China this spring, affected 111 million mu of crops so far, with 4.68 million people and 2.49 million livestock threatened by water shortages, according to official statistics from the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

“We must take strict measures to preserve water resources in the face of the severe lack of water worsened by factors such as overuse, pollution and drought ,” Chen said.

The ministry also expected to increase 79.5 billion cubic meters of water resources by 2020 and secure water supplies for both urban and rural people.

Chen proposed reinforcement of laws and regulations on water allocation, consumption and preservation as a fundamental way to achieve this goal.

China pushes ‘top priority’ on drought relief

February 8, 2009

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has urged officials in drought-hit areas to place “top priority” on relief work as agricultural stability concerns China’s bid to revive its economy.

From China Daily

The fight against drought has to do not only with the safety of grain supply but also with the country’s efforts to stimulate domestic demand, Wen said during a visit to central China’s drought-hit Henan Province on Saturday and Sunday.
He said “It’s of vital significance to the overall economy to boost steady growth of grain production and farmers’ income” as China is in a key stage to cope with the global financial crisis.

Read the rest:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-0
2/08/content_7454774.htm

China fights drought with chemical cloud-seeding

February 8, 2009

Parts of China‘s parched north got light rain after authorities fired shells loaded with cloud-seeding chemicals into the sky, but there was no end in sight for its worst drought in five decades, the government said Sunday.

Beijing has declared an emergency across China’s north, where 4.4 million people lack adequate drinking water and winter wheat crops are withering.

“The drought situation will not be eased in the near future,” said a national weather bureau statement.

Some areas got a sprinkling of rain and sleet Saturday after clouds were hit with 2,392 rockets and 409 cannon shells loaded with chemicals, the weather bureau said. It said clouds were thin and moving out of the region, making conditions poor for more rainmaking.

By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer

Rainfall in northern and central China is 50 percent to 80 percent below normal, according to the Flood Control and Drought Relief Office. The official Xinhua News Agency said the drought that started in November threatens up to half the wheat crop in eight provinces — Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu.

On Saturday, one county in Shaanxi got 0.9 inches (23 millimeters) of precipitation, the weather bureau said. Other areas received less than 0.2 inches (5 millimeters).

The state television midday news Sunday showed farmers with parched wheat seedlings that were barely ankle-high.

Beijing has promised 86.7 billion yuan ($12.6 billion) in aid to struggling farmers. That will add to the strain on government finances as it carries out a multibillion-dollar stimulus package to boost slowing economic growth.

The Agriculture Ministry said the drought is to blame for an outbreak of a fungal disease called stripe rust that attacks wheat. It said the disease can cut output by up to 40 percent.

Drinking water is being trucked to villagers and the government is launching a massive irrigation effort with water from rivers and wells.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090208/ap_o
n_re_as/as_china_drought_3

Human Toll Of China’s Water Crisis

February 7, 2009

China now suffers through what many climateologist call a “Fifty Year Drought.” 

Often we get bogged down in descriptions of crop loss, wells, lakes, the cost of whet.

But there is a very human side to the drought in China and just now China is staring to energize to address this catastrophe.

China will spend $12 billion to help wheat-growing communities across the country’s northern region survive their worst drought in five decades, state media reported Saturday.

Some 4.3 million people now face a water distress and 2.1 million head of livestock are short of water.  Crops are dead or dying and a real economic disaster is at hand for as many as 30 million Chinese people.

China already has 2-26 million unemployed migrant workers due to the global economic downturn.  Many of those went home to the farming commuities now in the middle of the water crisis.

China’s  Finance Ministry has allocated 86.7 billion yuan ($12.69 billion) from its reserve for local governments to distribute in drought-stricken regions as soon as possible, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The drought that started in November threatens almost half of the wheat crop in the eight provinces — Hebei, Shanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Shaanxi and Gansu, Xinhua said.

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/02/06/china.drought.half.century/index.html

China’s Water Crisis

China’s Water Crisis

February 6, 2009

China has a growing crisis of getting clean water where it is needed most, compounded by drought and a huge groundwater and coastal water pollution tragedy.

China is currently in its worst drought in more than half a century and the government has declared a “Red Alert.”

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters made the “Red Alert” determination, Xinhua said, because millions of acres of farmland for grain is all dried out, 4.3 million people face a water distress and 2.1 million head of livestock are short of water.

At the international level, there is already concern about global wheat prices and food availability.

Ma Wenfeng of Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultants said, “The government has sufficient wheat reserves to stabilise the wheat market.  China is unlikely to boost wheat imports much and therefore the direct impact on the international prices will be minimal.”

China has had a looming water crisis for more than a decade.  Just to pull off the Olympics in Beijing this last summer, China had to build a complex series of water ways and aquaducts to feed the thirsty city.  These projects contributed to the loss of farmland around Beijing which turned into desert near Beijing.  The dry areas that were formerly farmlands made for an increase in blowing dust and sand in Beijing.

For more than a decade China has also been reporting increased chemical pollution of its ground water.  As much as 80% of China’s ground water and wells now have high amounts of chemicals from fertilizers,  insecticides and industrial plant run-off.  

China’s poor sewage management has poisoned vast areas of coastal waters.  The “green slime” in the Yellow Sea just prior to the Summer Olympics almost ended sail racing events.  The slime comes when pollution causes th algae to “bloom.”

China’s drought is severe — threatening farms, crops and livlihoods.

But China’s bigger picture of poor water management, control, conservation and sewage management may be creating a long-term nightmare.

China already has a limit of 1 child per family as the population grows past 1.3 billion. 

GETTY IMAGES The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China. Its water is the source of plans to solve Beijing's thirst for more water.

Above: The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China.  Photo: Getty Images

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asia
pcf/02/06/china.drought.half.century/i
ndex.html

China Drought “Red Alert”

More than 80 pct of China’s coastal waters polluted

Thirsty Beijing awash in water woes

China: Human Activity May Have Increased Earthquake Severity

AFP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/200902
06/sc_afp/chinadroughtweather_2009
0206081620

China Drought “Red Alert”

February 5, 2009

China has declared an emergency in eight northern and central drought-hit regions, where nearly four million people are suffering water shortages.

Nearly half of China’s winter crop – some 10m hectares (24m acres) of wheat and rape seed – are also under threat.

President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao ordered all-out efforts to fight the drought, allocating 400m yuan ($58m, £40m) in relief assistance.

BBC

China’s drought relief office called it an event “rarely seen in history”.

China faces droughts and floods annually but has seen a recent increase in extreme weather conditions.

The Chinese authorities say the current drought is expected to continue as no rain has been forecast in the affected areas for at least 10 days.

‘Red alert’

The Chinese leaders’ decision was announced at a State Council meeting, according to the Xinhua news agency.

Government efforts should be directed at stabilising grain production, increasing farmers’ income and ensuring agricultural production, the Council said.

The agriculture ministry says it is on red alert.

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7871964.stm

China: Human Activity May Have Increased Earthquake Severity

February 4, 2009

Pressure from a dam, its reservoir’s heavy waters weighing on geologic fault lines, may have helped trigger China’s devastating earthquake last May, some scientists say, in a finding that suggests human activity played a role in the disaster.

The magnitude-7.9 quake in Sichuan province was China’s worst in a generation, causing 70,000 deaths and leaving 5 million homeless. Just 550 yards (meters) from the fault line and 3.5 miles (5.5 kilometers) from the epicenter stands the 511-foot-high (156-meter-high) Zipingpu dam, the area’s largest. The quake cracked Zipingpu, forcing the reservoir to be drained.

By CHI-CHI ZHANG, Associate Press Writer

Fan Xiao, a chief engineer at the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau, said Wednesday that the immense weight of Zipingpu’s waters — 315 million tons — likely affected the timing and magnitude of the quake. Though earthquakes are not rare in the area, one of such magnitude had not occurred for thousands of years, Fan said.

“I’m not saying the earthquake would not have happened without the dam, but the presence of the massive Zipingpu dam may have changed the size or time of the quake, thus creating a more violent quake,” Fan said in a telephone interview.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090204/ap_o
n_re_as/as_china_quake_2

Indian Stream Awash in Drugs

January 25, 2009

When researchers analyzed vials of treated wastewater taken from a plant where about 90 Indian drug factories dump their residues, they were shocked. Enough of a single, powerful antibiotic was being spewed into one stream each day to treat every person in a city of 90,000.
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Pharmaceutical contamination is an emerging concern worldwide. In its series of articles, AP documented the commonplace presence of minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals in U.S. drinking water supplies. The AP also found that trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals were almost ubiquitous in rivers, lakes and streams.

Associated Preaa

Last year, The Associated Press reported that trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals had been found in drinking water provided to at least 46 million Americans. But the wastewater downstream from the Indian plants contained 150 times the highest levels detected in the U.S.

Read the entire article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090125
/ap_on_re_as/pharmawater_india

Related:
More than 80 pct of China’s coastal waters polluted

More than 80 pct of China’s coastal waters polluted

January 17, 2009

Raw sewage and pollution from agricultural run-off polluted 83 percent of China’s coastal waters in 2008, according to state media.

China’s coastal waters last year witnessed 68 red tides, or algae blooms, which feed off nutrients found in excess pollution and sap water of oxygen, killing off large amounts of sea life, Xinhua news agency said.

The State Oceanic Administration was cited as saying the algae blooms covered 13,700 square kilometres (5,500 square miles), an increase of more than 2,100 square kilometres over 2007, the report said.

While some experts said the red tides were a result of climate change and heavy rain, environmentalists believe they were largely due to sewage and agricultural pollutant run-off, it said.

In August last year, one algae bloom caused havoc for the sailing competition of the Olympic Games when it engulfed waters surrounding the sailing venue in eastern China’s Qingdao city.

Up to 10,000 soldiers and volunteers were enlisted to clean up more than one million tonnes of the foul-smelling algae as they raced to clear the waters ahead of the competition, Xinhua said.

–AFP

Chinese fishermen in their boats pitch in to help clean up the ... 
Chinese fishermen in their boats pitch in to help clean up the coast of Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province, in July 2008, shortly before the Olympic Games. Raw sewage and pollution from agricultural run-off polluted 83 percent of China’s coastal waters in 2008, according to state media.(AFP/File)