Sunday, November 12, 2006

Desertification in China

How will China stop the deserts encroaching on Beijing. I've talked here a few times recently about my belief that India will not become a true world power because of their environmental problems that they don't have the capability to deal with. I feel somewhat more confident about China in this regard because of their authoritarian government. However, that government doesn't care in the least about environmental sustainability and that might undermine them in the long-term as well.

This article from Asia Times discusses the attempts to hold the desert back in across northern China, and specifically in Xinjiang. 3900 square kilometers of land turn to sand every year in China. Dust storms choke Beijing, especially in the spring and can even drop dust on the west coast of the United States. China has an insatiable appetite for water which only leads to further desertification.

What will happen? No one can truly say, but it's unlikely to be good for the prosperity of China in the longterm.