China’s water and soil too far gone to support growing economy

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  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 04:35pm

    #1
    switters

    switters

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    China’s water and soil too far gone to support growing economy

In yet another harrowing example of how inextricably intertwined energy, resources and economy are, two recent reports by the Chinese government and the United Nations suggest that China’s ecosystems will not be able to support their projected economic growth.  Article follows:

http://energytechstocks.com.previewmysite.com/wp/?p=2015

The underlying question raised by these reports is this: How can a
nation’s economy grow when its soil is rapidly eroding and its water is
rapidly becoming so polluted that it isn’t just unsafe to drink. It’s
even unsafe for fishing, farming and factory use.

In short, how can a nation’s economy grow when its ecosystems appear on the verge of collapse?

As reported late last month by Xinhua, the official Chinese news
agency, “A three-year investigation reveals almost 40% of China’s
territory, or 3,569,200 square kilometers of land, suffers from soil
erosion.” Reuters news agency put it this way: “Over a third of China’s
land is being scoured by serious erosion that is putting crops and
water supply at risk, a nationwide three-year survey has found.” The
survey reportedly was carried out by China’s bio-environment security
research team.

Separately, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper ran a story late last
month headlined, “Yellow River too polluted to drink.” Datelined
Shanghai, the story began: “The Yellow River, which provides drinking
water to millions of people in northern China, is now so badly polluted
that 85% of it is unsafe for drinking. China’s heavy industries have
tipped so much waste into the river that enormous stretches of it,
amounting to over a third of its entire length, cannot be used at all
anymore, either for drinking, fishing, farming or even factory use,
according to criteria used by the United Nations Environmental Program.”

These are stunning statistics that literally stab at the heart of
the world’s biggest, most populous country and the nation whose economy
is desperately being counted on by a recession-savaged world.

But as much as the credit crisis has undermined economic growth
elsewhere, an environmental crisis looks increasingly likely to do the
same to China’s economy. Everything you need to know about Beijing’s
continuing failure to come to grips with its eco-crisis can be found in
a quote deep in the Telegraph story from a spokesman for the Yellow
River Conservation Committee. “I wish that a harmony could be achieved
between development, utilization and protection of the river someday.”

China’s water and soil woes appear to have now reached the point at
which food and water shortages leading to a health crisis could be
possible at any moment, leading in turn to a reduction in GDP at the
exact wrong time.

 

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 05:19pm

    #2
    switters

    switters

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    Re: China’s water and soil too far gone to support growing …

What sets Chris M. apart is his understanding of how all of these issues interact and influence each other.  That’s why I respect his work so much.

When folks like Peter Schiff (who I agree with on many things) start talking about the bright future of China, I find myself wondering if they really understand the environmental and resource challenges China faces and how those challenges will limit economic growth.  

Sure, China may be positioned better than the U.S. and Europe from an economic perspective (manufacturing, production, savings, debt, etc.), but without an understanding of the very real resource and environmental factors any predictions for growth will be shortsighted.

 

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 05:24pm

    #3

    krogoth

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    Schiff is far from an environmentalist

Bright future for a select group maybe. He is just looking at it from an investment standpoint, not an environmental one.

 

Schiff is far from an environmentalist

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 05:47pm

    #4
    switters

    switters

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    Re: China’s water and soil too far gone to support growing …

Krogoth,

Actually, my point is that you can’t look at anything from an investment and economic perspective without looking at environment and resources.  All of the projections for how much development is going to happen in China, and thus how much money investors will make, is based on the availability of energy, water and food.  Even if you don’t give a damn about your employees, like many Chinese companies, they still have to eat and drink water or they can’t work.  No matter how little you care about the environment, you can’t make products and ship them around without natural resources and energy.  This is what is so often overlooked.  They are not separate issues!

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 06:37pm

    #5

    krogoth

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    Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE seperate

Hey your preaching to the Choir. I hate what they are doing, and I hate people capitalizing on it, Chinese or American as well as a number of other countries. If China can’t eat and drink, they can’t produce. This is irrelevant to the major problem, because China is also being threatened by a number of other countries, Vietnam for one, already starting this cycle in another place. If China dries up, other countries are ready to take up the slack. A lot of people don’t know Vietnam is closing in on 100 million people. That’s a sizable Asian country. Let’s not forget the massive India, who has a lot of environmental issues as well.

As for looking at investment or economic issues without looking at environmental issues, I don’t think capitalists consider environmental issues or depletion eventually for the most part, regardless of what country it is. Maybe they WILL when resources are depleted, people can’t eat or water is bad, but they simply will move on to Greener pastures and do it all over again.

Here in Taiwan, all the rice used to be grown here, but then Vietnam and Thailand did it cheaper, so they bought it from them instead. People will eat the rice as long as they can save money, and don’t realize they are damaging themselves in the long run with lost jobs here in TW, and possibly damaging another countries environment. And if you say rice is a simple crop, its not. The pesticides alone (used much more in Asian countries in general) cause a tremendous amount of damage.

A huge geese farming company here was collecting vegetable waste from different companies for feed purposes. They started using 3 new companies, and all the geese died (I think like 100,000) because the vegetable waste had so much pesticide residue.  Taiwan is way more protective and proactive compared to China with environmental issues and things like this still happen all the time.

As long as we have ultra greedy capitalists from multiple nations going unchecked or unregulated, you can kiss the environmental issues goodbye.

Capitalizing and/or environmental or resource issues ARE separate, always have been in general as long as they have another place to capitalize on in the world.

 

 

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 07:48pm

    #6

    Ray Hewitt

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    Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE …

As long as we have ultra greedy capitalists from multiple nations going unchecked or unregulated, you can kiss the environmental issues goodbye.

Asian politicians learmed from the west that political power comes with economic power. The genie is out of the bottle. You can’t stop capital growth. I’ll be standing on the sidelines watching the greens agonize over it.

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 09:25pm

    #8

    Damnthematrix

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    Re: China’s water and soil too far gone to support growing …

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — China wants to loan Brazil’s state oil company $10
billion to help develop massive new oil fields in deep water off the coast of
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s top energy official said in comments published Monday.

Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao also told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper
that the United Arab Emirates has offered to finance field development, but he
did not specify a price tag.

Lobao said Chinese officials contacted his ministry to propose a loan and
Petrobras then negotiated directly with the Chinese. He gave no details on the
status of talks, and any deal would have to be approved by his ministry.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hDm_YtYt_O0ImdigEJujyJyj1RMwD9
4UPIHO0

China, U.A.E. Offer to Fund Brazil’s Petrobras
China wants to start with $10 billion

The energy minister said development of the pre-salt layer was not profitable if
oil fell below $30 per barrel, but he said he doubted the price of crude would
drop to that level. [I’ve seen somewhere that this deepwater stuff was unviable below $130/barrel..!  Matrix]
"But I don’t share that theory. It’s practically impossible. All you need is for
producers to reduce output, which is easy," Lobao said.
"A drop to less than $30 a barrel makes it negative (the viability of developing
the pre-salt layer). How much does it cost to produce oil in Brazil today?
Something along the lines of $20 a barrel. If it falls below that, it would
produce losses. Since no one wants to lose (money), producers just have to
reduce production," the energy minister said.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=322539&CategoryId=14090

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 10:32pm

    #9
    switters

    switters

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    Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE …

[quote=hewittr]

As long as we have ultra greedy capitalists from multiple nations going unchecked or unregulated, you can kiss the environmental issues goodbye.

Asian politicians learmed from the west that political power comes with economic power. The genie is out of the bottle. You can’t stop capital growth. I’ll be standing on the sidelines watching the greens agonize over it.

[/quote]

You’re missing the point entirely.  You can’t have economic growth without energy and natural resources.  Period. 

During the large majority of the Industrial Revolution, energy and resources were so abundant that they might as well have been infinite.  Now, however, we are bumping up against very real limits in both areas.

Even the "greedy capitalists" will soon realize that the environment and natural resources they have scorned for so long is the foundation of their livelihood.  Without soil, water, minerals, metals, clean air and a lot of energy their businesses will not be able to grown.

Forget about your political bias for a moment and consider the inextricable connection between economy, energy and resources.

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 10:38pm

    #10

    joe bender

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    Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE …

sidelines?

just where is it on the planet the sidelines are?

or are you living on mars? i hear there is water up there.

  • Tue, Dec 09, 2008 - 10:54pm

    #11

    Ray Hewitt

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    Re: Capatilization and Enviromental or Resource issues ARE …

Switters

You’re the one who claims we’re running out of energy and natural resources. Every time I try to explain why you are wrong and I get trashed for it. So there is no sense wasting any more time on it. You and the other neo-Malthusians can do the worrying. I’ll be looking for right time to invest in energy and resource stocks.

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