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#China - Failing #Climate leadership

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Katowice is ramping up to host this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (or COP24) in early December – but it will be the Chinese delegation and not the bustling Polish city that will be the centre of global attention.

The conference comes fast on the heels of a recent IPCC report released earlier this month that warned of dire and irreversible climate change by 2030 unless world governments act now to eliminate coal and invest an estimated $2.4 trillion USD a year in green technologies. Patricia Espinosa, the UN climate change head, has put the need for success at the conference in equally dire terms. She remarked that success at COP24 means fully implementing the Paris agreement because time is simply running out.

But four years on from the signing of the Paris agreement, it’s becoming evident that the biggest obstacle in achieving its lofty objectives is China. While the US decided to pull out of the pact, a coalition of industry leaders and states has been making headway in cutting emissions – and the results speak for themselves: the US is on track to cut CO2 emissions by 17%.

Not the same thing can be said about China. After the US announced it would terminate its membership of the Paris agreement, Beijing was quick to brand itself as a global leader committed to fighting climate change through green policymaking. But since 2015, China’s carbon emissions have risen, as the government hesitates to limit coal use in a bid to protect economic growth.

Even if American obstinacy over climate change will certainly impede efforts to reduce emissions, policymakers should not lose track of the fact that China now releases more carbon dioxide into the air than both the US and Europe combined. In fact, many have correctly pointed out that winning the battle with CO2 emissions in the West will not stave off the disastrous consequences of climate change. The change has to come from China, whose emissions per unit of GDP are still double of what they are in the EU or the US.

Beijing has been investing heavily in renewables – last year, for every dollar spent in the United States on alternative energy, China spent 3. Most of that money went into building solar capacity, of which 53GW were installed last year. Optimists will further point to the fact that China has imposed limits on coal use, and established “no-coal-zones" throughout the country. But coal still accounts for over 60% of China’s energy consumption, and there are no policy moves in the works to drastically challenge the country’s energy mix.

Instead, Beijing is building more coal plants and its coal output and emissions are forecasted to have grown since last year. Indeed, in the first three months of 2018, the country released 4% more carbon dioxide than it did at the same time in 2017, putting it on track to clock in a 5% year-on-year increase in emissions. Similarly, coal production increased 5.1% in the first three quarters of 2018, to a massive 2.59 billion tons.

In case you’re wondering where all that coal will go, the answer is simple: China is building coal power plants at rapid clip. Coalswarm, an advocacy group, says that according to satellite imagery and permit approvals for coal-fired power units issued to provincial governments between 2014 and 2016, it looks like China will add 259 GW of coal-powered energy to its electrical grid in the years to come. That’s five times more than the solar panels installed last year.

Making matters worse, China decided in October to render toothless its blanket winter production cuts on heavy industry, such as steel, aluminium and cement. Enacted last year to fight worsening air pollution in its major cities – responsible for over a million premature deaths a year – the so-called “2+26” policy targeting Beijing, Tianjin and 26 surrounding cities, managed to reduce PM 2.5 levels by 33% in the last quarter of 2017. But the plan also resulted in economic losses, which have proven to be too onerous for China’s policymakers.

As part of this year’s finalized anti-pollution plan, the Chinese government is still paying lip service to the “2+26” policy – but is placing the onus on provincial governments to impose cuts on heavy industrial output, as opposed to mandating countrywide targets. This is an important difference. By shifting responsibility to the provinces, China is risking a loss in oversight over its anti-pollution initiatives. In fact, it already looks like some of its regions have been caught ‘faking’ their production cuts. Just this month, China’s Ministry of Environment and Ecology has accused the regions of Henan, Yunnan, and Guangxi of all submitting false pollution rectifications.

So, with coal consumption climbing and emissions following in lockstep, how can anyone take seriously China’s claims to actively fight climate change? The IPCC has made it clear that drastic changes are required to prevent disastrous – or frankly apocalyptic – global warming within 12 years. The country’s current levels of investment into renewables fall abysmally short of what’s needed.

If Beijing continues to feed its coal industry and nurture carbon emissions, the IPCC’s end times prediction will become all too real.

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#Huawei delivered a lifeline from Samsung as latest US sanctions hit

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Huawei has reportedly been delivered a helping hand from smartphone rivals Samsung as they deal with more US sanctions inflicted on them, writes Dion Dassanayake.

The P40 Pro and P30 Pro makers this week (15 September) are seeing a new set of US sanctions imposed on them. Following on from Huawei being put on the US Entity trade blacklist last year, Donald Trump's administration are ramping up the pressure on Huawei even further with a new restriction that means a company which wishes to supply parts that use any kind of American tech to Huawei needs to apply for a license. The latest sanction affects a wide range of tech used in Huawei smartphones such as chips and OLED displays from Samsung and LG.

LG has already commented about this latest round of sanctions, saying it will have little impact on its operations as the firm supplies a limited amount of panels to Huawei.

Samsung is yet to comment, but the South Korean tech giant has reportedly applied for a license to supply the P40 makers with panels.

According to a post by ZDNet, Samsung Display has applied for a license from the US Department of Commerce before the latest sanctions kick in on September 15.

If the license is given the green light then it will be great news for both parties.

Samsung Display is the world's biggest OLED provider, with Huawei their third most important customer behind Apple and Samsung Electronics.

While Huawei will be hoping the license gets approved as if it doesn't it leaves them with few alternatives.

Elsewhere, ahead of the latest US sanctions coming into force Huawei has reportedly been stockpiling Kirin chipsets.

Reports coming from China claim Huawei chartered a cargo plane to Taiwan to ship Kirin and other related chips back to them by 14 September.

Huawei has already confirmed that their upcoming Mate 40 handset will be the last to feature their own Kirin chipset.

Huawei’s consumer business CEO Yu Chengdong has confirmed the restrictions being implemented on 15 September means its Kirin chipsets "cannot be manufactured" after that date.

HuaweiHuawei have been hit by a number of restrictive US sanctions 

Huawei chips are manufactured by Taiwanese firm TSMC which use equipment sourced from the States.

Recently, Huawei chairman Guo Ping spoke about the latest sanctions coming from the Trump administration.

Staying upbeat, Guo admitted the latest sanctions would "cause certain difficulties" but said "I believe we can solve them".

Guo also said "the world has been suffering for a long time" over the power Google wields on the Android ecosystem and that the globe is "looking forward to a new open system". The Huawei bigwig added: "Since Huawei helped Android to succeed, why not make our own system successful?"

Guo, whose firm in Q2 of 2020 became the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, added that Huawei was up to the "fight" to succeed. The Huawei chairman said: "HMS must have a ‘Foolish Old Man Moving Mountain Spirit’, no matter how high the mountain is, dig an inch or less, persist and fight for a long time, we will definitely succeed".

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Competition zone for 2022 Olympic Winter Games goes deep in sports industry

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Chongli district, as a major competition zone for the snow events of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, is accelerating construction of ski resorts and relevant facilities to develop the sports industry, writes Zhang Tengyang, People’s Daily.

So far, it has built 7 middle- and large-sized ski resorts, including 169 tracks that total 161.7 kilometers.

Wen Chang, is a 56-year-old resident of Chongli, Zhangjiakou of North China’s Hebei Province. He now works at the Thaiwoo Ski Resort & Alpine Park in the district.

The location of the resort was once Wen’s home - Yingcha village. In the past, like other villagers, Wen lived in an adobe house and made a living by growing cabbages. However, due to the lack of water resources, the crop not always harvested.

A hailstorm happened in 2011, which lasted over 20 minutes, ruined all the crops, and I cried in the field,” Wen recalled.

Later, the ski resort was built in the village. Wen and his family moved away and received compensation for relocation. They bought an apartment in downtown Chongli.

Thaiwoo Ski Resort & Alpine Park, starting operation since 2015, has developed from a simple ski resort into a “small town” that gathers relevant snow and ice industries such as hotel, catering, costume and winter sports.

The prospering snow and ice industry also created abundant job opportunities for local residents. Yingcha village had 70 households, and the resort has created a job for at least one person from each of them.

Wen works at the staff canteen of the resort and earns 4,000 yuan ($586) per month with social insurance. His two daughters, after graduating from college, are also working at a local resort and a tourism investment company, respectively.

Ski tracks are common in Thaiwoo Ski Resort & Alpine Park. However, the white tracks in winter are green in summer, winding in the dark green forests on the mountain. Though it’s not snow season at present, visitors are still hustling in the resort. According to Tong Haitao, an employee of the Thaiwoo Ski Resort & Alpine Park, an outdoor off-road racing event will be held there several days later, and is expected to attract more tourists.

Relying on the opportunity of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and favorable natural scenery, Chongli has steadfastly developed skiing industry in the winter and outdoor activities in the summer, making remarkable performances in both Winter Games preparation and economic development.

Since Beijing won the bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, Chongli has newly planted 48,200 hectares of forests, improving its forest coverage from 52.38 percent in 2015 to 67 percent. The figure stands at 80 percent in core the core zones of the Olympic games.

Since 2017, the district has also seen prosperous tourism industry. The Thaiwoo Ski Resort & Alpine Park alone had received 200,000 visitors last summer, almost the same with those seen in the winter.

The thriving tourism created huge development space for local residents. Tong, who worked in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, is one that returned to his hometown after seeing more job opportunities there. He was once an electrician when he just entered the resort, but as summer activities were more and more launched, he was promoted and took up more responsibilities. “My income doubled after I became a department chief,” he said.

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Xi encourages Chinese scientists to make sci-tech research intensive, extensive

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Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that scientific and technological development must target the global science frontiers, serve the main economic battlefield, strive to fulfill the significant needs of the country and benefit people's lives and health, writes Du Shangze, People's Daily.

Xi made the remarks at a symposium attended by scientists in Beijing on 11 September.

Fu Qiaomei, a research fellow of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) delivered a speech at the symposium. Her speech was joked to be the "oldest topic introduced by the youngest scientist," as the woman was only in her thirties.

According to her, what she does is to study the question of who we are and where we came from through ancient genomes.

To explore the long stretches of history calls for perseverance. Fu shared with the president a question that she had frequently been asked over the years - what usages her study has. She told Xi that she once considered switching to hotspot research when struggling to maintain her lab, but finally decided to stick to it. She hopes that the country can further guide the public’s opinion on basic research, saying the so-called usage is not the only criterion for evaluation.

Deeply impressed by what Fu said, Xi replied that unpopular subjects are always considered useless, but such practice might hinder the development of these subjects. He told Fu that evaluation on scientific research calls for insight, global vision and science-based analysis.

Basic research is the source of scientific innovation. That’s an issue that has been long considered by the Chinese President. He stressed the importance of enhancing basic research, saying the root cause of China's stranglehold problems in science and technology is the lack of basic studies.

He demanded necessary fiscal, finance and taxation support for progressive research units and enterprises engaged in basic studies, regardless of their types of ownership and system. He said a favorable ecology for basic studies shall be developed in an innovative manner.

The inflow of overseas returnees in the recent years indicated the attraction of China’s development, and the topic of talents was a focus at the symposium.

Academician Yao Qizhi suggested to build a complete chain of talent cultivation to foster the “blood making” capacity of China. Academician Shi Yigong reported the progress of the construction of the Westlake University, a new research-oriented private university in east China’s Zhejiang province, hoping it to become a top-notch scientific and technological incubator and a top base for talent cultivation.

Xi recorded what they said on a note book when talking with them, noting people are the source of China’s scientific innovation.

He demanded bolder practices in talent attraction and cultivation, suggesting to introduce opener and more flexible mechanisms. He stressed that China should gather first-class talents from the world and attract high-level talents from overseas, and build a competitive and attractive environment for overseas scientists working in China.

The president encouraged the spirit to seek truth in scientific research, saying scientific innovation, especially original innovation needs creative and dialectical capability and strict verification.

Scientific research shall start from the development trend of the country to make preparation in advance, Xi said, adding that the selection of research directions shall be demand-oriented and address the urgent and long-term demand of the country to solve practical problems.

The planning of the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan is being made when the timeframes of the two centenary goals converge. Recently, Xi has convened several symposiums to solicit opinions. At this symposium, he listened to speeches of 7 scientists, saying they have a broad mind and are enlightening. He also encouraged other scientists to submit advices in written forms.

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