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2017
Asia Needs more Dialogue
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
Spread of ESGs could herald new global movement
Investing in quality education is imperative if India wants to reap demographic dividends
China needs to lead in new multi-stakeholder world
China’s B&R initiative leading a resurgence of Asia
Education is key - but long-term: Can we survive?
New wave of robots will be beneficial to all
China needs to continue with its ‘heavy lifting’
Time is right for Chinese firms to invest in Europe
Robots to the rescue for China?
Asian Multinationals are Going Global, But to Where?
China ratchets forward with energy efforts
China’s calm necessary for globalization push
Bridging managerial gaps involves trust-building
China well-placed to power its future through green technology advances
China's new 'springtime' is here
2016
China’s moves show it’s banking on the future
Mindset for action at the G20 summit will be determined by Chinese presidency
Chinese head-hunting intensifies for rare managers that can steer overseas firms
US talk of isolation jars with growing links in Europe and Asia
Electoral rhetoric on global trade not in sync with reality
Is it time to be prudent and consider austerity policies again?
What will we do if we have no oil?
Unlock talent by finding the right fit for a person
The benefits are real and tangible
Trade along China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ won’t succeed without the currency of trust
Reasons for optimism about the long term
2015
Can big oil go green and win?
Poorer Nations Could Sway Climate Talks
Combating Idleness and Deprivation
How China can be a model of food sustainability for the developing world
Kyoto II – Is it a Done Deal?
A meeting of the two largest economic powers
Why China will experience a 'soft' landing
Beware of superstitions
The Elephant and Dragon move ahead
G-7 target on fossil fuels raises many questions
Why Battle for Net Neutrality in the US Matters Globally
China’s resurgence – the ‘normal new’
Wanted: A managerial culture that embraces cultural differences
China's early education plan a smart investment in the future
The New Normal for China and India
2014
China's infrastructure push offers a sure track to better growth
US-China climate pact a good start, but not quite enough
Rethink the human’s place in the ‘digital revolution’
China springs a carbon surprise
Infrastructure - the invisible hand in full view
Dialogue vital for survival of Iraqi nation
China must nurture a new generation of beautiful minds
Great expectations in China and India
GM Cereals – The Pros and Corns
Time to be Honest about Our Energy Prospects
Weathering the Storm of Climate Change
Making a Big Decision? Beware of Your Biases
West Deserves Better Logistics Infrastructure
Digital Currencies do Represent the Future
From 'Printed' Houses to Wooden Skyscrapers
It’s time to bail out our schools, not our firms
Solution to India’s housing shortage – print new ones!
And the most promising green technologies of 2014 are ...
Transport infrastructure key to domestic, export growth
Oil stopgaps: Not worth risking
2013
Why the US should grant Edward Snowden amnesty
May we be more optimistic!
China headed for another massive social experiment?
A dialogue that worked
Yes, politicians deserve vacations - because we benefit
NPOs, NGOs invaluable as creators of dialogue
Look closer and ask: Is America reinventing itself?
Boston bombings case underlines need for dialogue
Millennium Development Goals or own goals?
As usual it's about balance - and timing - of course
Chinese strategists make right moves for growth
2012
Preparing for tomorrow
Austerity or growth?
Japan in danger of becoming 'just a place to fly over'
Beware of the business cycle?
An inconvenient truth
Limited offer sale: Buy a country
Where did our money go?
Leading from behind - a year of elections is almost over
Driving towards a green future
Waiting for springtime
Preserve or Perish
Startlingly similar Asia policy for Obama, Romney
Globalisation remains an irresistible trend
Google has the edge in smartphone war
U.S. Braces for China's Rise
Mankind’s General Scourge
The summer holidays are over and nothing has changed!
Put the hidden trillions to work
Making sense of India’s woes and wonders
Storm in a teacup!
Let’s give bad bankers a venue to admit their sins
News is about depth, not puff or velocity
Booming India, but too few toilets
Delayed Court decisions doesn't mean one may continue to play 'Great Game'
We need media to reflect on data and offer public a balanced view
Big polluters can lead in forging common purpose
The weighty issue of choosing a leader
EU-India Relations - Facing similar challenges
Educating with a goal
The Judicial Malaise
We are growing out, but not growing up
EU´s retrenchment enigma
Urbulence in the Eurozone and the effect on SMEs
Skolkovo May Help Russia to Diversify
Make things more effective
Tapping into the Commonwealth connection
Innovative models for public finance
Facebook revolution but Indian style
The feel-good factor
Asian investors - a private equity opportunity
India needs to be taller and stronger
China´s low sales volume...
Nations playing leapfrog
Shafts of sunlight
What webs we weave
As performers go to Davos, the circus steals the show
Can we control the politicians?
 
2011
Europe’s reminiscence
China firms should go for win-win in overseas ventures
Of procrastination...
Making sense of profiteering
Truth about financial mess must be laid bare
Small is also beautiful
China can help Europe with debt crisis
Excising the cancer of global corruption
Education, a critical asset
Arab uprisings set in motion forces of creative destruction
A new era of change
We must ensure better education for all
Beijing wary of bankrolling a lost cause
Asean's re-emergence as a local and global leader
Why India's Role in the Global Economy is Still Work in Progress
Its the leadership, stupid!
Reverse globalisation: The new buzzword
Solutions to urban pollution may prove complex
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Global Times, October 19, 2017
 

Major cities in China and around the world are often shrouded by smog, and this can be exacerbated if they are located in a valley, sheltered from wind. This dirty fog becomes dangerous when sunlight reacts with nitrogen compounds often emitted from vehicle exhaust, especially from diesel, as it forms ozone that attacks weak respiratory systems.

The people have clamored for change and so mayors and governments have responded by restricting city access for cars, especially diesel cars. Governments have pressed further recently, some of them saying they will ban the sale of fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2030-2040, and stating that non-polluting battery-powered vehicles should become the norm. The Chinese government has championed electric vehicles (EVs) for some time and has stated it wishes to become the world's largest EV manufacturer.

Carbon dioxide was blamed initially for raising global atmospheric temperatures but it is now accepted there are many "greenhouse gasses" and a formula combines their deleterious effects into one criterion, known as the "carbon footprint." As all nations vary in their state of development, so does their level of industrial pollution, their modes of electricity production, their buildings' insulation, and their transport pollution profile, and thus their pollution control regimes also vary. China, massively populous, massively productive, and with the world's largest network of electrified railways, consumes more electricity than any other nation. But it is also the world's biggest solar energy producer - so an increasing proportion of its electricity can be said to have "zero emissions." It is very active in reducing its carbon footprint, acknowledging that this is a difficult administrative task as it has a devolved administrative structure from the central government, through its provinces and cities to its people. Nevertheless, in June, British climate economist Nicholas Stern and analyst Fergus Green opined that China's greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to peak as late as 2030 but could peak by 2025, or even earlier. The government's pressure to produce more EVs will accelerate its overall greening process.

Vehicle manufacturers in all countries have rushed to create non-polluting EVs to reduce their products' average pollution. But their arguments have become as opaque as the smog itself - becoming conflated with autonomous cars and the reduction of car ownership as people move to car sharing or Uber-like taxi-on-demand systems using EVs. US President Donald Trump's administration is confounding the issue by promising to "roll back" former president Barack Obama's order that the US Environmental Protection Agency mandate fleet gasoline consumption should be over 50 miles per gallon. US manufacturers began introducing EVs to reduce their average - but now, if rules are relaxed, they may cut their R&D on EVs. This would be a retrograde step.

The Chinese government calls all battery vehicles new-energy vehicles (NEVs) and total domestic NEV sales are expected to soon reach above 1 million units per year. BAIC BJEV, a leading EV manufacturer, is expanding production into South Africa and is lifting its total production to 800,000 cars per year. The Chinese government offers EV purchasers subsidies, like all governments when stimulating new markets via subsidies, but it knows it needs to reduce these to zero once a critical mass is reached. In China the time is nigh, and subsidies are being reduced. The government is to permit overseas NEV firms to start manufacturing in China, increasing competition. The presence of "foreign" automotive producers will also bring greater R&D activity.

The reactions by cities and government leaders against cars in cities have possibly been misdirected under pressure from global populist groups at times. As the developed world's health has improved, people live longer and succumb mainly to diseases associated with old age, especially cancer. Autopsies have revealed a greater incidence of small particulates (such as PM2.5) in lungs allegedly caused by car emissions in cities. The populist reaction is to ban these cars, but this may have unintended consequences and may be based on erroneous data. More research is needed, quickly. And we should promote informed discussion to counter the hysteria of populism.

Recent analysis in Sweden has found that wood-burning even in efficient stoves can cause as much mortality as car fumes. The researchers state that the main sources of PM2.5 emissions are from tire and brake wear in road vehicles, construction and wood burning.

They also said that EVs can possibly contribute larger amounts of PM2.5 from their tires and brakes than standard cars because EVs are heavier. This situation is likely to be the same throughout Europe. Furthermore, the EU/Domestic Wood Use Survey shows an underestimation of wood burning in domestic stoves, which is increasing due to a more affluent middle class indulgently recalling an earlier epoch of roaring wood fires.

By all means clean up engine exhausts and bring these rules into long-term growth plans, as in China's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) which looks to develop environmental technology, ecological living and ecological culture. And we confidently expect similar clauses to emanate from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

But we must be careful not to cripple globalization by halting the global diesel industry that manufactures all agricultural, marine, rail and commercial road-freight engines by succumbing to popular demands: Do not force people to buy only EVs in this evolving transition phase. We must accept that new inventions will take years to be commercialized. Realistically, it may be better to press for behavioral change - to get people to walk, ride a bike or use public transport.

 

The author is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community. Horasis will host the upcoming Horasis China Meeting in Sheffield, UK from November 5-6.

 


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