China tries to fight greenhouse gases


Trees allowed to remain standing in a field, Shandong Province

China groans under the dual pressures of its population and its inefficient power production. Foremost among its environmental problems, the nation burns millions of tons of coal each year. The resulting ash pollutes its air; the sulfurous oxides fall as acid rain in Japan, Korea and the Russian Far East, and the carbon dioxide may contribute to global warming. The Chinese hunger for power pushes it to Dam the Yangtze, the Yellow, heck they would dam the river Eridanus were it not confined to the heavens above.

At the local level this hunger for power prompts folks in the rural areas to scour the countryside in search of firewood. Vast areas have been denuded as a result. Of course the benefits of photosynthesis--oxygen replenishment-- is curtailed by all this making the pollution problem all the more acute.

To its credit China has embarked on a substantial reforestation program in the last few dcades. In fact the forested acreage in china now is greater than the post WWII period. In many hill regions places under replanting are evident. What is quite impressive however are the growing trees are in and among the tilled fields themselves, as shown here in Shandong province. The trees growing from this barley field (Shandong is home of Qingdao and Qingdao beer, hence the barley?) were not deliberately planted: but apparently they were allowed to grow and thrive. It was ana mazing thing to see riding along kilometer after kilometer. Unlike a forest, the distance did not fade into the gloom. Instead all was bright and sheerful, with trunks and tilled fields as far as the eye could see. Sort of 'multiple use' Chinese style. 1