Aug 10, 2009 | 2
A large, coal-burning utility in the U.S. and another in China have agreed to cooperate to develop methods to more cleanly burn coal, including so-called carbon capture and storage technology. Duke Energy will partner with China's Huaneng Group to further develop and build technologies to gasify coal and strip it of its impurities, including the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere from coal burning. As it stands, Huaneng releases some 285 million metric tons of CO2 per year while Duke emits 112 million metric tons, according to data from the Center for Global Development, a Washington, D.C.-based thinktank.
"We find ourselves at a pivotal point in world history," said Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers in a statement announcing the partnership. "China has committed to rapidly developing clean-energy technologies, as has the U.S.… Working together, the U.S. and China can commercialize and drive down the cost of these technologies for the benefit of the entire world."
Jun 30, 2009 | 5
The Chinese government is retreating from a controversial requirement that every PC sold in the country be equipped with Internet filtering software.
On the eve of a July 1 deadline for compliance, the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) today delayed implementation indefinitely to give computer-makers more time to comply, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
Computer makers had protested that installing the software, called Green Dam Youth-Escort, might expose them to liability if the Chinese government uses the software to invade its citizens' privacy. The U.S. government sent a letter to Chinese officials complaining that computer makers were given virtually no notice of the mandate ahead of time, possibly violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Others complained the software could be used by the Chinese government to censor political material—not just pornography.
Feb 17, 2009 | 3
In recent decades, China has pushed the use of nitrogen fertilizer to help wrest as much food out of farms as possible, in part to stave off the famines of the past. Of course, such overuse of nitrogen results in air pollution and ocean dead zones—as well as, paradoxically, less fertile soil.
Now new research shows that by using just one third of typical amounts—presently as much as 600 kilograms per hectare—farmers could get the same or better results growing corn, rice and wheat, the main staple crops. The key is applying the fertilizer to seedlings rather than adding it to soil while planting, write Ju Xiao-Tang of China Agricultural University in Beijing and his colleagues in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.
Sep 11, 2008 | 1
Geologists have a disturbing message for residents slowly rebuilding their lives in China's devastated Sichuan province after May's Wenchuan earthquake: Brace for further rattling.
The quake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale and killed at least 70,000 people, has also put undue stress on the Xianshuihe, Kunlun and Min Jiang faults that run through the region. "We tend to think of earthquakes as relieving stress on a fault. That may be true for the one that ruptured," says Ross Stein of the U.S. Geological Survey, "but not for adjacent faults."
Using computer models, geologists report in Geophysical Research Letters that there's as much as a 71 percent chance that a quake of magnitude 6 or greater will occur in the next decade on one of these other geologic faults. There have already been several aftershocks nearly that large on the Longmen Shan fault that triggered the Wenchuan tremblor. The researchers also predict that a series of smaller earthquakes will occur on these adjacent faults.
Sep 3, 2008 | 2
You may have read some alarming stories recently about pollution making its way from China to the U.S. Should you worry?
In fact, a cloud of soot, sulfur dioxide and sand from China’s Gobi Desert does make it to cities of the western U.S., where it accounts for, by some measures, as much as 15 percent of local air pollution. Of course, air pollution that doesn't respect international boundaries is nothing new: the rain acidifying the lakes of eastern Canada comes from the U.S., for example.
But China is doing something about the problem, thanks to very real impacts on public health and even children's development, as we note in our recent in-depth report on China and the environment. Whether it's having one of only four cities worldwide to go carbon neutral, cleaning up indoor air by burning human waste, or pushing renewable energy, the Middle Kingdom has a host of efforts underway. Of course, there's still a growing love of cars to deal with as well.
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