Solar power, once so costly it only made economic sense in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast.
According to a report released this week by the International Energy Agency, the total number of electric cars on roads around the world surpassed two million in 2016. More than 750,000 of those registrations came last year, continuing a trend of steady global growth, largely off the back of continued EV adoption in China.
On top of stricter emission controls and a move toward electric vehicles, Asia’s diesel traders now have to worry about sea cucumbers off China’s coast.
A Chinese move to protect endangered marine creatures with a fishing ban contributed to a drop in the so-called crack spread in Asia for diesel, a measure of returns from producing the fuel, to a 9-month low. That’s because thousands of the country’s fishing trawlers idled between May and September won’t require the fuel at a time when supplies are usually ample as refineries return from maintenance work.
The totoaba, which is itself highly endangered, is caught for its swim bladders which are smuggled to China for sale on the black market. Undercover investigators found the swim bladders, called maws, for sale in Shantou in Guandong province, at an average price of $20,000 per kilogram. The cost has led to the maws being dubbed “aquatic cocaine”.
Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular with middle-class consumers that a Chinese producer has created a donkey exchange to help companies find enough hides to keep their factories busy.
Like the poaching of Africa’s rhinos and elephants, and deforestation caused by the largely illicit trade in rosewood timber, the slaughter of donkeys is an unforeseen consequence of rising Chinese incomes and an expanding middle class. While the global donkey population is estimated at 44 million, demand is currently thought to be at least 4 million per year, The Donkey Sanctuary said in a report this year.
Chinese and Germans are among dozens of investors taking Ukraine up on its offer to turn the grounds of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters into a massive solar park.
Thirteen international investors are among the 39 groups seeking Ukraine permission to install about 2 gigawatts of solar panels inside the radioactive exclusion zone surrounding the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant, according to Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Ostap Semerak. Two gigawatts is almost the capacity of two modern nuclear reactors, although atomic power unlike solar works day and night.
Chinese agriculture has thrived for thousands of years on this kind of recycling—the nutrients that fatten the pigs and geese also feed the fish. But the introduction of antibiotics into animal feed has transformed ecological efficiency into a threat to global public health.
Under President Xi Jinping, China has been aggressively asserting claims to most of the South China Sea, angering neighbors by turning specks of rock into artificial islands. Another water fight could be just as explosive: this one involving fresh water.
On Oct. 1, China said a hydropower project in Tibet was diverting water from a tributary of the Brahmaputra River, which flows into India and Bangladesh, reigniting concern over China’s control of some of the region’s biggest waterways that have provided irrigation, transport and life for millennia to much of South and Southeast Asia.
India, which fought a war with China in 1962 over a disputed border, is concerned that Beijing could use water as a strategic weapon. Six of Asia’s 10 biggest rivers originate in China, including the Brahmaputra.
A video filmed in China appears to show a frozen-solid fish defrosting in warm water and returning “to life,” moving and swimming on its own.