Too Things

1. This stuff is easy to miss: China learns at the knee(s) of the master… or do they?

Thanks to the Dandong plant and hundreds others like it, China is in the midst of unprecedented economic growth—and an unprecedented surge in the use of energy, primarily from burning coal. Coal is the fuel of China and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. As a result, China is now the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, along with all the other noxious by-products of coal burning. At the same time, the Chinese government has committed to reducing its CO2 emissions per economic unit by at least 40 percent by 2020. Tasked with ensuring that the nation delivers on that goal is the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the government agency that essentially sets Chinese energy and industrial policy.

“In Manhattan, lights are lit 24 hours and China will never do that,” says NDRC vice chairman Zhang Guobao via a translator, although the lights of this border town abutting North Korea blaze well into the night, illuminating businesses that tout their names in both Chinese and Korean characters. “China can never learn from the United States in terms of lifestyle. Per capita energy consumption is five times that of China and suppose, one day, that we learn from the U.S.A.: Can you imagine what the world will be?”

And then this talk, by Leslie Hazleton on reading the Qur’an.