Search Results for Tag: China
China to step up polar activities in 2013
I am finding people increasingly interested in the Arctic and Antarctic as climate change opens up more prospects of getting at the natural resources in the region or using it for transport. The latest example of top-level international interest is an announcement by China. Beijing is planning to launch its 30th expedition to the Antarctic region this year as well as its 6th Arctic expedition. This interest is not new, but clearly intensifying. (See China’s Arctic ambitions spark concern).
According to China Daily, quoting a document released at a maritime work conference on Thursday, the country is also planning to build more Antarctic research bases. There are plans to put more resources into planes for scientific expeditions and to “ensure the quality of newly-built icebreakers”.
The paper also refers in particular to “the protection of the country’s strategic interests in the Arctic region”. Now there is some food for thought.
Increasing international political and strategic interest in the Arctic will be on the agenda at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsö, Norway, starting January 21st. Watch this space.
DateJanuary 11, 2013 | 3:16 pm
Record melt helps first Chinese ship across Arctic
Returning after several trips, I’ve been catching up on the Arctic news and noted with concern but unfortunately not really surprise that the Snow Dragon or Xuelong, a Chinese icebreaker, has become the first ship from China to cross the Arctic Ocean. It arrived in Iceland after sailing the Northern Route, along the coast of Russia. The expedition leader Huigen Yang, head of China’s Polar Research Institute, said he had expected a lot more ice along the route. The sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean actually seems set to beat the record low from 2007. Clearly, Chinese interest is growing, as the melting ice opens up a shorter sea route and, of course potential access to oil, gas and minerals. The country has applied for observer status at the Arctic Council, which consist of the Arctic countries USA, Russia, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark (because of Greenland) and Iceland. China is not the only interested party outside the Arctic states. Japan, South Korea, The European Commission and Italy are also applying. Germany, Britain, France, Poland, Spain and the Netherlands are already observers.
What clearer a signal could you get that climate change is affecting the Arctic than interest from the world’s number 2 economy, China, which, alas, is also the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter?
DateAugust 20, 2012 | 12:28 pm
China and the Arctic – “a public area, just like the moon?
Now who could come up with a statement like that? It has to come from a country showing a growing interest in the region although it has no Arctic territory. The Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is coming to Europe tomorrow and the Arctic is to be a key focus of his trip. He’ll be spending eight days visiting Iceland, Sweden, Poland and Germany.
There are two main reasons for the Chinese interest: energy, and shipping routes. China is the world’s biggest consumer of energy and greatly interested in the resources becoming more easily accessible through climate change. The retreat of the sea ice is also opening up new routes for shipping in summer, which could cut the sea voyage between Shanghai and northern Europe by around 6,400 km. So there are difficult times ahead for those who want to protect the sensitive Arctic environment and wildlife from increasing traffic and risky exploration for oil, gas and minerals. I wrote about this some time ago, and it’s certainly going to keep coming up:
DateApril 19, 2012 | 1:08 pm
Climate Cup half-full or half-empty?
Following the comments on the New York climate summit in the media is like surfing. Up you go on a wave of optimism, then down into the depths of almost-despair. “Barack Obama warns world of climate catastrophe”, “Obama disappoints environmentalists”, “China’s carbon pledge boosts hope of global climate deal”. My colleague Christina Bergmann, one of our US correspondents, opts for “The Chances for Copenhagen have risen again”. Her optimistic headline reflects Ban Ki Moon’s satisfaction about climate change being right up at the top of the agenda of the world’s leaders. Japan and China also give grounds for optimism, Japan with a clear pledge to reduce emissions by 25 percent by 2020, China with a message of strong intent, but no firm targets.
President Obama is clearly in a difficult position, trying to get backing at home for what would represent a dramatic change in policy. Still, given signs by the top emitters China and the USA, Japan and key emerging nation India that the importance of an effective Copenhagen deal is paramount, we have to be optimistic. As one of the Green candidates in Germany’s election (coming up this Sunday) said to me at an event last week, “we have no option”. The alternative is too awful to contemplate.
DateSeptember 23, 2009 | 8:24 am
Climate Pep-Talk for world’s leaders in New York
You can’t get much higher a level than this one, with UN Secretary-General holding his own climate summit. I was at a UNFCCC briefing ahead of this, and they see it as Ban Ki Moon trying to get the urgency of an ambitious Copenhagen deal across to the world’s leaders. There are high hopes the Chinese will push the US to action by announcing some far-reaching plans.
There’s some background here:“Skeptical Environmentalist” Björn Lomborg not keen on climate conferences
Why maybe we do need all these climate talks
A tough task for Ban Ki Moon
DateSeptember 22, 2009 | 1:59 pm