Ignoring the pleas of environmentalists and the clucking and ribbiting of cute wetland species, Beijing is set to build 20 more dams on the Yangtze river. Clearly the government is not fazed by criticisms that the existing Three Gorges Dam is already silting up, destroying wetlands and fish stocks on the way, nor has the suggestion that extensive damming contributed to tectonic instability that caused last years series of earthquakes in western China gained much policy traction. On the other hand, what is the alternative besides more coal – or turning off the lights? Well, there’s wind power, which currently only generates 1.7% of China’s power supply. Danish firm Vestas is getting ready to plow more investment into China’s already burgeoning wind power sector. The firm plans to set up shop in Inner Mongolia and produce large wind turbines tailored for “Chinese conditions.” We were unaware that Chinese wind differed from wind in other places, but perhaps all that coal smog gums up the works of ordinary turbines. Finally, US retail monolith Wal-Mart is being damned by its Chinese middle managers, who are going to bear the brunt of the company’s China restructuring plan (don’t call them layoffs, pleads Wal-Mart). They are being asked to relocate to other stores (where?) and/or take pay cuts, and if that’s not good enough, they are free to go. Believe it or not, China’s state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions has objected to the plan, suggesting that Wal-Mart should consult with the affected employees first – although one wonders what those employees would say beyond “Please don’t lay me off/I don’t want to relocate to the Tora Bora outlet.”
You must log in to post a comment.