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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
China springs a carbon surprise
By Frank-Jürgen Richter
Business Times, October 3, 2014
 

Ahead of a major Parisian meeting in about 12 months’ time, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli startled a United Nations meeting by promising huge reductions in Chinese pollution. Over the next year we will see and hear more media discussion about global pollution levels as we approach a new milestone event in the calendar of the IPCC (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

The meeting in Paris in November 2015 is to discuss its 5th Assessment Report and to agree on new regulations – like the Kyoto Protocol, following an IPCC meeting in December 1997, that committed nations to strongly reduce their greenhouse gases by 2020. We see a revamp of discussions of the science behind pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change – a notable story being the reduction of “the ozone hole”. The appropriate regulations were signed off in Montreal in 1987 and its present success is being lauded and outlined as a mode to aid the next IPCC meeting in Paris. But it will be difficult as the 2015 meeting faces much greater complexity than in Montreal.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon convened a meeting in New York in September to stimulate thoughts, and for heads of state to consider their position ahead of the Paris meeting and hopefully to give preliminary promises. China’s Vice-Premier Zhang startled the opening session by promising low levels of Chinese emissions after 2020 – when the Paris agreement, if agreed, will kick in.

Already 12 of China’s 44 provinces, which account for 44 per cent of China’s coal consumption, have pledged to control their coal consumption. Six have included absolute coal consumption targets in their action plans. Mr Zhang reiterated a recent plan announced by China to cut carbon intensity by 40-45 per cent by 2020 from their 2005 levels.

This is extremely important as China faces huge increasing demands for energy that in the immediate future can only be met by using coal as its primary energy source even though this will raise fatality rates due to increasing emissions of PM 2.5 – small airborne particles causing respiratory illnesses and early death. In China such morbidity costs nearly 12 per cent of its GDP and its public clamours for cleaner cities free of choking air pollution.

The Montreal agreement followed a scientific study of atmospheric ozone depletion. It was found to be caused by CFC chemicals used in fire extinguishers, aerosols and in refrigerants. The CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) combine with the ozone in the high atmosphere and the lower concentrations of ozone allow more harmful radiation from the sun to reach the earth’s surface, and human beings.

The agreement was drafted over several years and was aided by (a) being tightly focused on “ozone issues” using a composite weighting function that combined the effects of all CFCs into a single number (note: it actually concerned only one chemical family); (b) having firms cease CFC use much earlier than the action date as the US had already banned CFC use in aerosols; (c) the CFC sector in each country embraced only a small spectrum of their national economy; and (d) having a well-informed public demanding “the easy to visualise ozone hole be filled in as soon as possible” to protect personal health. Job done!

Currently we focus on the “carbon footprint” as a measure of potential climate change – specifically climate warming. This is a different mathematical equation that weights the greenhouse warming effect of contributing chemicals and equating these to the unique warming effect of carbon dioxide. CO2 is formed when we burn carbon (fossil fuels, for example) in oxygen: by definition this warms the atmosphere with a weighting of unity. However, unlike the limited commercial and social drivers of CFC use, the modern world emits greenhouse gases from every aspect of our lives: they affect every commercial driver of trade. As a consequence, regulation of any single aspect raises outcries, and the pollution reducing goal of the IPCC raises fears of a global recession.

It is here that China can exert world-leading influence. Its scientists and engineers can lead in producing controlling methods for the entire greenhouse spectrum provided its government agrees to invest highly in these sectors and to openly cooperate with all nations. The Chinese politicians can present rational argument.

The broad model of Chinese economic growth has already shown the way forward. China has built numerous new huge cities as it expects millions of its rural people to drift into cities during the next 20 years as all sectors increase their GDP per capita and poor rural people look to gain some of this wealth.

By building ahead of the rush, the built environment can be carefully controlled to reduce urban sprawl. Through good design it will reduce global pollution by enforcing zero-carbon designs on new city buildings as cities account for about 70 per cent of overall pollution.

There is further benefit as shops, schools, hospitals and workplaces will be located on urban mass transport systems whereas it is estimated that urban sprawl costs America some US$400 billion per year. Thus the new Chinese cities will reduce mortality due to pollution, increase standards of hygiene, and lower many aspects of big-city stress such as the delays created by traffic jams.

China is demonstrating world-class designs for future well-being. I would hope that within the 2015 Paris IPCC meeting everyone will take heed of their wide vision. Yet I am not sanguine – for it was only the Kyoto meeting, almost by accident, that yielded a broad consensus. Usually IPCC meetings descend into chaos and bickering. It is time to stop that, and possibly President Xi Jinping might lead the way. He is forceful inside China and he is creating bridges to the outside. Perhaps he can argue for better assignment of the present US$45 trillion spent on infrastructures in emerging markets as they keep up with energy demand. We need a forceful leader to enforce a global movement to a low carbon future.

 

The writer is founder and chairman of Horasis, a global visions community.


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