If you’re like some of us here at Shanghaiist, you might find yourself joking that global warming should accelerate rather than cease – didn’t you feel that frigid air on your skin this morning this twenty second day of April? In any case, everyone knows that global warming can actually cause temperatures to become cooler in the short term and because today happens to be Earth Day, we thought we’d call attention to China’s efforts to preserve our one-and-only home.
In an article which doesn’t at all exemplify that China Daily and all its offspring are mouthpieces for the Communist party, the Expo theme of “Better City, Better Life” is used to equate Shanghai with San Francisco. While there are some compelling statistics dropped RE: energy consumption goals set forth in the current five-year plan and the fact that solar panels are manufactured here – but what isn’t, these days? – it quickly devolves. Speaketh Senator Dianne Feinstein:
China sees San Francisco as a place with natural assets – it’s close geographically, and there’s a large Chinese American work force that speaks Chinese and can help in intercultural dialogue.
In other words, California, you might as well help us with our Earth-destroying agenda because our smog is gonna come and get you soon anyway.
All snark aside, it does appear that China has established some substantive means of protecting the environment, moving forward. Taking cues from the ailing superpower on the other side of the Pacific, Chinese auto buyers will now enjoy a sales tax decrease for fuel-efficient vehicles – and a hike for taxes on petrol and diesel. Yay for the air! Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for water:
Government officials have admitted to the nation dumping 30.3 million metric tons of pollutants in Chinese freshwater in 2007, over three times the amount that researchers say Chinese waters can safely absorb. According to official stats, 60 percent of China’s waterways are now polluted.
But we would have never guessed that looking into the Huangpu from the renovated Bund!
Back on the Expo front, it seems that the Macau pavilion will be self-sufficient, thanks to state-of-the-art solar panels and rain collection systems, while Shanghai’s Corporate pavilion has been constructed from recycled CD jewel cases. Wait, what’s this: an Oil pavilion? Oh well. Lujiazui’s gotta stay lit up at night somehow, right?
Esther Young contributed to this story.