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'China Must Lead the Emissions Reduction Century' by Xue Yong

by marco Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 05:33:04 AM EST

As a way to practice Mandarin, I had the idea to translate interesting essays by prominent Chinese language bloggers who comment on current affairs and contemporary issues.  One such blogger is 薛涌 Xuē Yǒng, whom I discovered a couple of weeks ago listening to an episode of On Point with Tom Ashbrook about "Google vs. China".

Last week Xuē Yǒng wrote 中国要领导"减排世纪" Zhōngguó yào lǐngdǎo "Jiǎnpái Shìjì" ('China Must Lead the "Emissions Reduction Century"'), which he posted on his blog, 反智的书生 Fǎnzhì de Shūshēng (An Anti-Intellectual Scholar), but which I have found reproduced on several other news websites (e.g. 南都周刊 Nándū Zhōukān Southern Metropolis Weekly).

Below is my translation alongside the original Chinese with permission from the author.  I opted in favor of sticking close to the meaning of the original even at the cost of fluency in English, so if some points are not easily understandable, please let me know and I will try to clarify.  (For some reason, some Chinese characters get corrupted when they are displayed here.)

Mandarin, not spam - afew


中国要领导"减排世纪" | 薛涌 反智的书生 (2010-01-25 22:29:10)China Must Lead the Emissions Reduction Century | Xuē Yǒng - An Anti-Intellectual Scholar (2010-01-25 22:29:10)
本世纪的头十年已经成为历 490;。这十年人类一个重要的进 步,就是在对付地球暖化而% 319;取"减排"(即减少二氧化碳৵ 0;放)的问题上达成了共识。The opening ten years of this century are already history. These ten years marked an important step for humankind: the reaching of a consensus on the problem of global warming and measures for "emissions reduction" (i.e. the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions).
不错,刚刚结束的哥本哈根 615;境峰会成果有限。西方许多 媒体甚至表达的极度的失望A 292;认为此会没有产生什么有意 义的结果。但是,回首过去 313;年我们就能看到:人类在减 排问题上的进步虽然有限, 364;是非常具有实质性的。在本 世纪最初几年,对地球暖化 159;否存在、是否会对人类产生 威胁等等还有着"官方疑问"。&# 24067;什政府坚持地球暖化说缺ߔ 7;科学证据,也一直拒绝在减&# 25490;问题上承担责任。中国印ॷ 0;等发展中国家,也基本认为&# 20943;排主要是发达国家的责任Ӎ 0;如今,奥巴马政府则试图在&# 20943;排上扮演领导性角色,不ߠ 5;许诺到2020年时减排17%,而且为第三世界国家提供 968;千亿美元的环境援助,使美 国成为减排的强力支持者。 298;纽约时报》甚至称是奥巴马 挽救了几乎破裂的哥本哈根# 848;判。中印等发展中国家,也 越来越意识到自己的责任, 895;意积极参与国际社会在这方 面的努力。现在大家都认定# 201;减排,只是对谁该承担多少 责任有重大争议而已。可以# 828;,人类已经进入了"减排世纪 ;"。Yes, the achievements of the recently concluded Copenhagen Climate Change Conference were limited. Many Western media have even expressed extreme disappointment, deeming that this conference did not produce any meaningful result. However, if we look back on the past ten years we can see that while humanity's progress on carbon emissions reduction has been limited, it has nevertheless been substantial. In the first years of the century there were still some "official doubts" about whether global warming existed, whether it posed a threat to humanity, and so on. The Bush administration insisted that talk of global warming lacked scientific evidence and refused throughout to take responsibility on the emissions reduction problem. Developing countries like China, India, etc. also basically considered emissions reduction to be mainly the responsibility of developed countries. Today, the Obama administration is trying to play a leading role in emissions reduction, promising not only a 17% reduction in emissions by 2020, but also the provision of $100 billion in environmental assistance to third world countries, making the U.S. a strong backer of emissions reduction. The New York Times goes so far as to claim that Obama rescued the nearly collapsed negotiations in Copenhagen. China, India and other developing countries are also more and more conscious of their own responsibility and willing to participate actively in the international community's efforts on this front. Nowadays everyone has recognized the need for reducing emissions; it's just that there is major dispute about who should bear how much responsibility. One can say that humanity has entered the "emissions reduction century".
中国虽然还是个发展中国家A 292;但无疑已经是世界大国,并 正在超越美国、成为世界第 968;排放大国。在减排问题上, 中国必须成为"减排"的世界领&# 34966;。Although China is still a developing country, there is no doubt that it is already a major power, and is now surpassing the United States to be number one in the world in carbon emissions. China must become a world leader in emissions reduction.
为什么这么说?我们不妨看 968;看中国在"减排"问题上复杂௚ 0;国际责任。Why is this so? Let's look at China's complicated international responsibility with respect to "emissions reduction".

第一,从道义上说,解决地球暖化& 382;题,发达国家必须承担主要 责任。这不仅因为发达国家 855;有经济实力和技术手段,更 因为地球暖化是多年工业化 215;累的结果。这一工业化进程 ,在本世纪前完全是发达国 478;唱主角。换句话说,如今的 地球暖化,是过去二百多年 457;达国家向大气倾倒垃圾的所 造成的。如今清理垃圾的责 219;,倾倒者不负责谁负责?

1. Morally, developed countries must accept the main responsibility in solving the global warming problem. This is not only because they have the most economic strength and technological means, but moreso because global warming is the result of the accumulation of years of industrialization. Until the present century, developed countries have been the protagonists in this process of industrialization. In other words, the global warming that is taking place today is the outcome of developed countries' dumping trash into the atmosphere for over two hundred years. Who is responsible for cleaning up this trash today if not the litterbugs themselves?

第二,即使发达国家承担了责任, 457;展中国家不参与,减排也不 可能。要知道,虽然发达国 478;要为过去负责,但展望未来 ,发达国家的排放将基本停 490;增长,并逐渐减少。未来对 大气二氧化碳排放的增长部 998;,主要来自发展中国家。中 国、印度、巴西等国,是增 490;的主力。

2. Even if developed countries accept their responsibility, if developing countries do not also participate, emissions reduction will not be possible. It must be understood that while developed countries must accept their responsibility for the past, looking into the future, emissions in developed countres will basically stop increasing, and will even gradually taper off. Future carbon emissions growth will mainly come from developing countries. China, India, Brazil, etc. will be the main contingent of these growing ranks.

第三,在减排问题上,发达国家负 377;最大的道义责任,但发展中 国家则有最大的利益。伦敦 463;济学院Nicholas Stern 受英国政府之邀对减排的经 982;影响的估计,属于目前最为 全面的文献。其中的一个结# 770;是:如果不立即采取减排措 施,大气暖化所造成的经济 439;失,首先打击的是发展中国 家,发达国家则是最后受害 340;。道理很简单:对不减排所 造成的初期环境损失,发达 269;家已经有比较好的防范。比 如污染,在西方国家基本上 471;到了控制,空气和水的清洁 度都在好转之中。但是,象 013;国这样的发展中国家,环境 威胁则越来越大。特别是中 269;的人口比美国密集数倍,对 同样的排放量,中国要支付 340;健康大家要高得多。如果不 加控制,污染将摧毁中国人 340;健康,并给经济背上巨大的 医疗负担。另外,美国对石 833;进口的依赖,实际上比中国 弱得多。美国全球布武,从 013;东到西非,从加拿大到南美 ,有着多元的石油供应,自 049;的沿海也有大量的石油储量 ,在危机时刻更容易挺过去 290;与此相对,中国的进口石油 ,主要还是通过马六甲海峡$ 825;种自己无法控制的海域,能 源安全非常脆弱。即使到了 320;球暖化的中后期,面对气温 上升、海平面升高等等现象A 292;发达国家也有较为充裕的资 源应对。特别是美国,地理 978;占据了巨大优势。美国发达 地区虽然也在沿海,但内陆 452;居的土地广阔,经济中心相 对比较分散,较能抵御海平& 754;上升引起的危机。欧洲十年 前就指责美国凭借这样的地 702;优势坐壁上观、让欧洲日本 读担抑制地球暖化的大任。 431;洲在没有美国参与的情况下 单方面减排,也是有其自身 043;需。今天的中国应该看到欧 洲人十多年前就看到的东西 290;中国的经济中心,则过分集 中在沿海一带。特别是长江 977;角洲、珠江三角洲地区,在 海平面上升面前几乎无法据 432;。沿海地带一旦失守,内陆 则很难有发展的空间。

3. While developed countries bear the greatest moral responsibility for carrying it out, reducing emissions is in the greatest interest of developing countries. The British government asked Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics to calculate the economic impact of emissions reduction, which work at present is among the most comprehensive literature. One of its conclusions: If emissions reduction measures are not taken immediately, economic losses caused by atmospheric warming will hit developing countries first and hurt developed countries the last. The reason is simple: Developed countries already have pretty good protections against the initial environmental damage that was caused by not reducing emissions. For example, pollution largely has been brought under control in developed countries, and air and water cleanliness are all being improved. Nevertheless, in countries in the midst of development like China, environmental threats are getting bigger and bigger. In particular, China's population is several times denser than the U.S.'s, so for the same amount of emissions, China has to pay a much higher health cost. If we do not control pollution, it will ravage the health of Chinese people, and will add enormous burdens of medical care to the economy. Moreover, the U.S.'s dependence on imported oil is in fact much less than China's. With its diversified supply of petroleum stretching worldwide from the Middle East to western Africa, from Canada to South America, as well as large quantities of reserves on its own coasts, the U.S. can more easily withstand moments of crisis. In contrast, since China's petroleum imports mainly go through the Strait of Malacca, open waters that are beyond its control, its energy security is extremely weak. Even though we've reached a mid-late stage of global warming, developed countries also have abundant resources with which to respond to such phenomena as increasing temperatures, the rising sea level, and so on. The United States especially has established a huge geographic advantage. Although the developed regions of the United States are in coastal areas, the vast livable territory inland, with its relatively dispersed economic centers, is quite able to resist the crisis of the rising sea level. Ten years ago Europe was faulting the U.S. for looking on from this advantageous geographical situation, placing the major responsibility to fight global warming on Europe and Japan. Given the United States' lack of participation, Europe reduced emissions unilaterally, and they had their own reasons to. Today's Chinese should take a look at what Europeans were saying more than ten years ago. China's economic center is overly congested in the coastal region. The Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta regions especially are almost impossible to defend in the face of the rising sea level. Should the seaboard be lost, it will be hard to find space for development inland.
基于这些理由,发达国家对 943;排承担有最大的道义责任, 中国则有最大的利益。从中 269;的利益出发,世界各国减排 力度越大越好。中国需要说 381;发达国家带头承担起自己的 责任。但同时也应该认识到A 292;不能一味等着发达国家承担 责任。毕竟,从利益上说, 154;家比我们等得起。所以,在 减排的问题上,中国不能象$ 807;去那样被世界推着走,而要 站出来拉着世界走。Based on these reasons, developed countries bear the greatest moral responsibility for undertaking emissions reductions, but it is in China's greatest interest to do so. Looking at it from the perspective of China's interests, the greater the effort of all countries in reducing emissions, the better. China needs to persuade developed countries to take the lead in accepting their own responsibility. However, at the same time, it must realize that that it cannot blindly wait for developed countries to take that responsibility. After all, from a self-interest point of view, they can afford to wait longer than we can. Therefore, on the problem of emissions reduction, China cannot be shoved along by the world as in the past, but must stand up and pull the world ahead.

Display:
Well, pretty much sums up my opinion.
However, how pervasive are these views in China?
Is Xue Yong a lone voice lost in a crowd (if you'll excuse the bad pun)?

What about the Chinese überclass (billionaire bosses, party apparatchiks, etc...) that is busy capturing the wealth from our EU überclass and the US one?
Until these people move, nothing will move...

by Bernard on Thu Feb 4th, 2010 at 03:28:26 PM EST
Bernard: Well, pretty much sums up my opinion.
However, how pervasive are these views in China?

With regards to developed countries having the primary moral responsibility for reducing carbon emissions, that view is very widespread in China.  However, as for what I guessed was Xue Yong's chief message in writing this essay, the point that reducing carbon emissions is in China's own interest, indeed, that China and other developing countries have comparatively far more to benefit from reducing emissions than developed countries, it is not one I have heard put forth or discussed much.  Then again, it's not like I am able to follow the debates very easily in the media (as my Chinese listening and reading skills are still too low), and English-language discussions in China are obviously exceptions restricted to a tiny and atypical minority of the population.

Bernard: Is Xue Yong a lone voice lost in a crowd (if you'll excuse the bad pun)?

What about the Chinese überclass (billionaire bosses, party apparatchiks, etc...) that is busy capturing the wealth from our EU überclass and the US one?
Until these people move, nothing will move...

Actually, as Obama pointed out in his State of the Union speech last month, your Chinese überclass is already moving:

We know the country that harnesses the power of clean, renewable energy will lead the 21st century. And yet it is China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient.

e.g.

After setting an original goal of 30 gigawatts of installed wind power by 2020, the government recently said that could be raised to 100 gigawatts as installed capacity has doubled each of the last four years.

From almost nothing a few years ago, China had 12.2 gigawatts of installed wind power by the end of 2008 as power companies have rushed to meet government mandates to raise the proportion of energy they produce from renewable sources.

China wind farms sprout amid 'green' energy push | PhysOrg.com (August 11, 2009)



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 02:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco:
my Chinese listening and reading skills are still too low

Sorry marco, gotta call BS on this one. ;)

What you've produced here requires substantial language skills.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 03:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... and a not insignificant amount of time as well.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 03:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
dvx: ... and a not insignificant amount of time as well.

And there's the rub.  At the snail's pace that I read Chinese, it is impossible for me to read more than more or less randomly chosen snatches of news and commentary in Chinese language media.  Hopefully, speed and accuracy will improve with practice.

Thanks.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 04:20:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco:
Actually, as Obama pointed out in his State of the Union speech last month, your Chinese überclass is already moving

I mean no disrespect to the esteemed President of the United States, but I would hardly consider him as an authoritative reference on China (Chinese wouldn't either, I suppose).

I understand that China is moving decisively into wind energy development, as a potentially lucrative new market, but also as a strategic necessity: as Xue Yong himself is pointing out, China is very much dependent on imported oil and from very few sources, mostly Middle-East. Precisely where the USA has its hands firmly on the spigot (save Iran).

So there are plenty of compelling motives for "going wind" besides emission reduction.

China is quickly becoming one of the most polluted countries on earth, and there is very little motivation for the plutocrats to really harness the issue: it would only cut into their profit.

by Bernard on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 04:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bernard: So there are plenty of compelling motives for "going wind" besides emission reduction.

That is a good point.  It would be interesting to look at all the specific measures China is taking and the ones it could take but isn't, and to see whether they point to other motivations besides emissions reduction, such as energy security (e.g. reduced reliance on the Straits of Malacca) and economic gains (e.g. "green jobs").  In particular, are there any measures we could look at that could only be motivated by emissions reduction, and that would not contribute much to energy security and/or economic gains?  Maybe more stringent emissions regulations, and more stringent enforcement of such regulations?  Maybe mandatory installation of equipment in industries or residences that filter and/or capture noxious gases (though this, conceivably, might be tainted by an economic motivation to create jobs for the makers and installers of such equipment, assuming they are Chinese)?  Any others?  If we can identify a list of such "purely for emissions reduction" measures, then we can then look into whether the Chinese government is acting on these.

Bernard: China is quickly becoming one of the most polluted countries on earth

I think those photographs (which are amazing and disturbing) are similar to Obama's remarks about China's "moving" on renewable energy: it doesn't prove the point, but it illustrates it vividly.

Bernard: and there is very little motivation for the plutocrats to really harness the issue: it would only cut into their profit.

Which is why China's government has been so aggressive in mandating renewable energy initiatives.  (I assume China's government counts as part of China's "überclass".)  But then again, as noted above, these initiatives may not be motivated by the desire to avoid harm caused by carbon emissions (e.g. massive health crisis, rising sea levels, etc.) but rather in order to increase energy security and to gain economic benefits.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 03:46:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be interesting to look at all the specific measures China is taking and the ones it could take but isn't, and to see whether they point to other motivations besides emissions reduction, such as energy security (e.g. reduced reliance on the Straits of Malacca) and economic gains (e.g. "green jobs").

I think there is a wrong framing for China's wind investments throughout the whole thread. This would be primarily an issue of emissions reduction if new wind capacityx would replace old capacity, or at least make up the bulk of new additions. However, the reality of the past decade is that China was trying to keep up with rapidly rising demand, and wind still makes up only a small part of the added capacity (not to mention TWh/year actual generation): in 2009, total capacity grew by 70 GW vs 2008. I find no breakdown of the non-wind part for this, but 71.5 GW out of the 92.5 GW increase from 2006 to 2007 was thermal plants according to EIA tables.

So I think increasing capacity by whatever means is the main motivation. Which is not to say that going cleaner is just PR; China is also closing small old coal plants to the tune of gigawatts.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:22:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Chinese überclass (billionaire bosses, party apparatchiks, etc...) that is busy capturing the wealth from our EU überclass and the US one?

I think all of these überclasses are busily helping each other capture wealth from everybody else...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 09:03:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
überclasses are always those that are the most ready to embrace having relations around the world and actually caring little about nations...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 10:13:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca: überclasses are always those that are the most ready to embrace having relations around the world and actually caring little about nations...

someone needs to edit Wikipedia's entry on Poverty in China so that it accurately describes how little China's überclasses care about their nation:

China's sustained growth fueled historically unprecedented poverty reduction. The World Bank uses a poverty line based on household real consumption (including consumption of own-produced crops and other goods), set at $1 per day measured at Purchasing Power Parity. In most low-income countries this amount is sufficient to guarantee each person about 2000 calories of nutrition  per day, plus other basic necessities. In 2007, this line corresponds to about 900 RMB per year. Based on household surveys, the poverty rate in China in 1981 was 64% of the population. This rate declined to 10% in 2004, indicating that about 500 million people have climbed out of poverty during this period.[4]

This poverty reduction has occurred in waves. The shift to the household responsibility system propelled a large increase in agricultural output, and poverty was cut in half over the short period from 1981 to 1987. From 1987 to 1993 poverty reduction stagnated, then resumed again. From 1996 to 2001 there was once more relatively little poverty reduction. Since China joined the WTO in 2001, however, poverty reduction resumed at a very rapid rate, and poverty was cut by a third in just three years.[5]



The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 11:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Next paragraph :

Poverty in China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

China's growth has been so rapid that virtually every household has benefited significantly, fueling the steep drop in poverty. However, different people have benefited to very different extents, so that inequality has risen during the reform period. This is true for inequality in household income or consumption, as well as for inequality in important social outcomes such as health status or educational attainment. Concerning household consumption, the Gini measure of inequality increased from 0.31 at the beginning of reform to 0.45 in 2004. To some extent this rise in inequality is the natural result of the market forces that have generated the strong growth; but to some extent it is "artificial" in the sense that various government policies exacerbate the tendencies toward higher inequality, rather than mitigate them. Changes to some policies could halt or even reverse the increasing inequality.[6] (See List of countries by income equality.)

Absolute poverty down, Relative poverty up...

And anyway my point is not about caring about one own's nation, but caring about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act. International careers, international education, international vacations, international friendships... are statistical sociological symptoms of the "überclass".


Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 12:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca:
International careers, international education, international vacations, international friendships... are statistical sociological symptoms of the "überclass".

That could apply to many of us as well...
by Bernard on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 02:37:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See Jerome's So, how large is the global plutocratic class? from January 2, 2010; and also this Salon thread started by Helen.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 05:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
linca: And anyway my point is not about caring about one own's nation, but caring about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act. International careers, international education, international vacations, international friendships... are statistical sociological symptoms of the "überclass".

Sorry for my misunderstanding.

The "überclass" (as I think we are using the term here) may be pathological in some ways, but failing to 'care about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act' surely is not one of them, right?  (This question is separate from the question of to what degree the Chinese "überclass" has these traits.)

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 02:56:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it becomes a failure when one doesn't care about limits where oneself may live, but doesn't hesitate to impose limits on others. Think about Sarkozy, son of an immigrant, married to a foreigner, or Besson, whose current girlfriend is a young Tunisian girl - and yet try to impose policies that would make such lives difficult. The aristocracy is never the last to publicly use the language of nationalism.

I don't know about the Chinese uberclass, but in Vietnam it does seem that the children of apparatchiks routinely study abroad...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 06:52:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Think about Sarkozy, son of an immigrant

Son of two immigrants.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand your accusation that Sarkozy and Fillon may be hypocritical when not 'caring about nations as limits where one is supposed to live and act' when it suits them while denying it to others.  (Though I do not necessarily agree that the accusation is valid:  Did Sarkozy's parents immigrate to France illegally?  Did Fillon's Tunisian girlfriend immigrate to France illegally?)

But where is the hypocrisy in children of Chinese 'apparatchiks' studying abroad?

More generally, however, I'm afraid I cannot follow how this ties back to Chinese efforts to implement clean energy and energy efficiency policies.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:38:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
where is the hypocrisy in children of Chinese 'apparatchiks' studying abroad?

Shouldn't the apparatchiks ensuring you can get a decent education in China?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:39:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: Shouldn't the apparatchiks ensuring you can get a decent education in China?

You mean you can't?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 07:56:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If they send their own children abroad, then they believe you can't.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:03:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And we're not talking about spending some time abroad as part of one's education. We're talking oligarchs sending their children to boarding schools in England (so to speak) for basic education.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:05:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that Western university education of second-generation technocrats contributed to the transition from planned economy to capitalism in the formerly 'communist new EU members (which began about a decade before the end of 'communism', say when they asked for Western credits and joined the IMF).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:13:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would guess in the case of EU member states the hypocrisy is more likely to take the form of a minister of education sending their children to a local private school.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:22:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But that won't have an effect on the econo-ideologial outlook of future technocrats, or would it?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 09:46:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, but it will. It protects them from the visceral realisation that some people are poor for systemic reasons (or just because they are poor), rather than from innate personal flaws.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Mar 7th, 2010 at 12:20:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
DoDo: If they send their own children abroad, then they believe you can't.

That's one possible explanation.  It would imply that those parents believed Vietnamese universities to provide superior education than Chinese universities.  That's also possible.

Another possibility is that those parents had some personal or professional connection to Vietnam and wanted their children to be exposed to that country.  Another possibility is that they wanted their children to have an international university experience in whatever country they could.  Another possibility is that the students themselves wanted to have an international university experience.  Another possibility is that those students did not get accepted into a Chinese university that they (or their parents) deemed prestigious enough, and felt that going to school overseas would be a better option than going to a less prestigious school.  (This last explanation was the case with a Beijing woman I know who is the daughter of a very powerful "apparatchik": she was not able to enter any of the three art schools she wanted to go to in China, so she went to study design in England.)

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:21:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another possibility is that you're getting out of your way to rationalise innocent intentions into the behaviour of apparatchiks.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:30:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru: Another possibility is that you're getting out of your way to rationalise innocent intentions into the behaviour of apparatchiks.

Do you have any evidence you would like to offer that most Chinese "apparatchiks" whose children study outside of China send or allow their children to do so because they believe they can't get a decent education in China?  Or are you satisfied to favor this particular explanation based (as far as I can tell) on pure speculation?  Also, do you happen to have data on what percentage of Chinese "apparatchiks"' children study overseas?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:51:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are you satisfied to favor this particular explanation based (as far as I can tell) on pure speculation?

I guess I am. But I don't believe the Chinese are less hypocritical than others - they're human, too. And the phenomenon of people educated in public education (or even in charge of public education) who send their children to private education at home or abroad is too pervasive to ignore and, yes, it is hypocritical.

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 09:05:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My wording was clumsy: what I meant is that the Chinese plutocrats are as busy as their EU/US counterparts capturing as much of the wealth as they can, but it doesn't mean their goal is to make the Western billionaires richer: as E.Todd pointed out, they also want to grab wealth from them, using the lure of millions of underpaid workers and a supposedly immense domestic market created by an emerging middle class (underpaid too, to keep it cost competitive).

You ain't really "rich" if your enrichment also makes other people richer. As Dogbert said: "There's one thing about us, rich people: we don't like company."

by Bernard on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 04:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a way to practice Mandarin, I had the idea to translate interesting essays by prominent Chinese language bloggers who comment on current affairs and contemporary issues.

This is fantastic! Bilingual diaries in Mandarin!

Will we now start to show up on google searches in Mandarin?

En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 07:17:05 AM EST
Migeru: Will we now start to show up on google searches in Mandarin?

we already do (for a search on the title of Xue Yong's article, 中国要领导"减排世纪).

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 07:46:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great diary, Marco, and thanks for all the hard work translating it.  To what extent are bloggers like Xuē Yǒng free to air their views publicly even if they are not in accord with Government policy?  I note the piece is careful not to be critical of Chinese Government policy to date and to focus on developed countries moral responsibility and Chinese national self interest.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Feb 5th, 2010 at 07:39:18 AM EST
Thanks, Frank.

While Xue Yong lives in the U.K., I imagine he still has relatives in China and probably visits there frequently.  So if he really offended/scared the CCP with his writings, I imagine they could find ways to influence him.  Having said that, he is very well known in the Chinese blogosphere and no doubt has developed many relations outside of China, both factors which would become a real nuisance for the CCP if they wanted to muzzle or punish him.

I do not know much about him, so this is all purely speculative.  But my sense is that he is a prominent "mainstream" blogger/academic/commentator/intellectual (despite the title of his blog) who chooses to influence the system "from within".  If so, that would include getting oneself ejected from the system (i.e. by writing stuff that would piss off the CCP).  In this piece, pick up on this a little because of (what I feel to be) a certain rhetorical strategy in his argument:  First, reassure the reader (who is more than likely Chinese) that he is on their side by validating their viewpoint on the charged issue of moral responsibility for carbon emissions global warming.  Having thus gained the reader's trust, appeal to the familiar and "sensible/practical" logic of self-interest to plead the case for and gain further mass acceptability for policies that may cause inconvenience and even hardship for some Chinese in the short-term.  It's clear now that the guys calling the shots in China are on board with such policies.  But there may still be recalcitrant factions among the "überclass" --

State media cited experts as saying that policymakers have faced difficulty in getting intra-agency cooperation on various initiatives, including reduction of carbon emissions and raising energy efficiency to help combat global warming.

China sets up energy agency headed by PM - washingtonpost.com

-- so it's helpful to fortify the conventional wisdom in favor of clean energy and energy efficiency against potential subversion and stalling among uncooperative players.

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.
by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 04:18:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
marco: If so, that would include getting oneself ejected from the system (i.e. by writing stuff that would piss off the CCP).

That should be:

If so, that would include not getting oneself ejected from the system (i.e. by writing stuff that would piss off the CCP).

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 05:34:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Chinas investments in non-coal power are, near as I can tell, driven by firstly: public health concerns (coal pollution kills an insane number of chinese, and is bad enough to cause outright political unrest) and secondly constraints on infrastructure - The coal mines are in the interior, the cities are on the coast, and the railroads moving coal from one to the other are overloaded as all hell, which means that any significant further expansion of coal power on the coast has the additional cost of more rail lines to pay for. Hence the ever escalating investments in wind and nuclear power.  - Note that any way I run the numbers, nuclear-in-china has to have lower production costs per kwh than anything-else-in-china, which implies that the only reason they are not building even more plants than they currently are is because they do not have the qualified personnel available to do so, and are unwilling to cut too many corners on safety, which is somewhat reassuring.  
by Thomas on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:01:45 AM EST
and the railroads moving coal from one to the other are overloaded as all hell, which means that any significant further expansion of coal power on the coast has the additional cost of more rail lines to pay for.

(Which is exactly what's happening, in parallel with the continuing massive buildup of coal plants. China has three dedicated coal lines, all relatively recent, and upgraded continuously for ever more astronomical loads.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:05:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought to quickly check the Wikipedia article on the busiest and oldest of these lines, the Daqin Railway, but ended up updating it myself.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 09:43:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nuclear-in-china has to have lower production costs per kwh than anything-else-in-china

Even wind-in-China?

they do not have the qualified personnel available to do so

Or materials or parts production facilities. But hear hear, a recognition of production level related limits. If only those who recognise Peak Oil but reject Peak Uranium would recognise similar constraints on running up production from the more abundant low uranium content ore mining.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:09:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes. Wind-in-china is also cheaper than wind-in-europe, but not as much cheaper. More imports of parts and materials, less "umpteen thousand construction workers".

the nuclear supply chain is in general in a frightful state, considering the scale of build we are looking at - China, India, Russia and France are all building out heavy forging capacity in a good old fashioned dirigiste rush, because that is the main bottleneck, and people are getting tired of being extorted by japan steel.  

Re: peaks. That part is not a problem -  Mining ops and enrichment plants take years to put into operation, but since nuclear plant builders/operators tend to sign contracts for decades of supplies as soon as they start construction, the market will have years of warning of increased demand, so that will work out. And ultimately, high/medium grade supplies will hold until we perfect breeders, and after that, well, fissionables will last us past the sun burning out.

by Thomas on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 08:56:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes.

I'm interested. Could you detail those calculations?

since nuclear plant builders/operators tend to sign contracts for decades of supplies as soon as they start construction, the market will have years of warning of increased demand

That's a point, but not enough. If (as in many a nuclear advocate's scenario) China, India, Europe and the USA would suddenly start a rapid expansion of nuclear capacity (say just on the level of this years' expansion of wind capacity), then there would be years of warning for a demand expanding rapidly for years...

until we perfect breeders

I'm not holding my breath :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 09:55:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Putting rough numbers on chinas costs vis-a-vis the more "normal" parts of the world is actually a very funky calculation, but getting it out of my notes and into a post with links is going to take a couple hours. Should have it done tomorrow evening.
by Thomas on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 10:38:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, that was a busier sunday than I had planned, so here is my Back of envelope calculations.

Cost Of a Chinese KWH: China operates in a significantly different investment context than private investors in the west - Investments in infrastructure are effectively displacing purchases of US treasury bonds, so the cost of capital to a utility is very low - 2% is the number Google  spits out, which seems reasonable enough (The risk, to a Chinese bank, of lending money to a Chinese utility is one hell of a lot lower than the currency risk US treasuries exposes them to) - This lowers the cost of high-capital, low fuel cost power, Hydro, wind, nukes, compared to coal and gas.
Cost of nuclear: I have no desire whatsoever to make any guesses about what the true cost of a fully indigenous nuke plant is in china, since I do not see any way to get those numbers, but fortunately we do know what the cost of a Areva or Westinghouse turnkey build in china is. 1500 dollars / kwh.
Build times are four years or less, which, if the plant is operated for 8000 hours/year and amortized over 30 years gives a capital cost per kwh of 0.9 cents. Fuel costs ring in at 0.71 cent/kwh (assuming this is bought on the international market. Any guess at what chinas internal costs for enrichment ect are would be shooting in the dark..) O&M.. actually, no idea, but since the western experience is that this is the same for coal and nukes (and not much), I will leave it out for now.

1.61 cent/kwh + o&m.

Coal:
No good numbers on capital cost, since this is all domestic industry, but assume its half nuclear (and including the rail build, this is likely severe low balling ). -
0.45 cents
Fuel is 2 cents/kwh, and while china likely has lower mining costs than the rest of the world, this does not matter, because it is mostly going to or through ports already and thus could be sold.
So:  
2.45 cent/kwh. +O&M (actual cost of electricity in china is below this in some areas. Likely causes: Subsidies, and coal being bought very cheap near mines.)

Wind: western turbines set up in china: what reports I could find cite costs of 5-8 cents/kwh.
Chinese turbines set up in china: Would not want to speculate any more than I would about the chinese built nukes.

by Thomas on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 02:17:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas: Chinas investments in non-coal power are, near as I can tell, driven by firstly: public health concerns (coal pollution kills an insane number of chinese, and is bad enough to cause outright political unrest) and secondly constraints on infrastructure

Do you really think that public health outweighs energy security and green industry bucks in driving non-coal power investments?

The march of civilizations is a series of defenses that man has put up against the dread of pure existence.

by marco on Sat Feb 6th, 2010 at 02:57:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Communist party cadre breathe the same air as everybody else, so, yhea.
by Thomas on Mon Feb 8th, 2010 at 02:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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