Blocked again!

Well, to my great dismay, the server that is hosted on has been blocked by the Great Firewall of China – again. It means that although you can see my blog, I can’t – and I can’t log in securely to edit it either.

So, I will begin a search for a better and less-likely-to-be-blocked web host. If you have any suggestions, I am extremely open! I am presently considering, which does not have nearly as many nice features as in the US, but at least seems to understand the issues related to blogging in China.

For the time being, blogspot is not blocked in China, so until that time, please find my blog at:

I was blocked!

I don’t know if it is something to be proud about or not (in fact, I am quite positive it had nothing to do with me or my site), but my blog server was blocked in China for the past few weeks, hence the lack of posts.  Well, I’ve finally managed to get my site’s IP address changed, and we’re back in business!

So, I look forward to continue writing!



Well, I’ve been off in nowhereland for a while, contemplating my navel and such.  In the meantime, some exciting things have happend – sort of.

1. Canada is opening 6 new trade commissioner’s offices in China indicating that Canada, in spite of it’s off-again, off-again relationship with China, is going to try and kick start a little bit of business.

In my humble opinion, Canada should be focusing on what it’s strong at: natural resources and energy. That’s what we’ve got, and Australia is doing it way better than we are.

2. The U.S. and China have signed a 10-year environment and energy cooperation framework. What does it mean? The two largest economies in the world are serious about 5 things right now:

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Lester R. Brown Comes to Beijing

The eminent Lester R. Brown, respected agronomist and founder of the Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute, descended on the Beijing Bookworm to plug his new book, “Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.” In front of a crowd of about 95% caucasians and 5% Chinese, Mr. Brown began his doom and gloom war time motivation speech.

Actually, I agree completely with many of the things that he said. We do need to have a wartime mentality to deal with climate change issues. And not a “war on drugs” or “war on terror” kind of mentality, but one that mobilizes all of society to try and deal with this one problem that humans the world over need to deal with in a hurry. Wind power is a great idea, and biofuels are going to cause a whole lot of problems.

Indeed, as he mentioned: Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.  However, I don’t think Mr. Brown’s approach is going to work in China if he continues the way it is.

  1. Right off the bat, Lester encouraged everyone to engage their elected officials to prevent coal power plants and support alternative energies.  Um, hello?  We’re not in Kansas anymore, Mr. Brown.
  2. After the talk, my colleague (a Chinese girl who studied environmental economics overseas) said to me, “it was alright, but he was so negative.”  I realized after hearing this type of comment a zillion times from all sorts of Chinese people, that Chinese culture doesn’t deal with negativity very well.  People don’t want to listen to it, and don’t want to react to it.
  3. China has a whole lot of people that it doesn’t know what to do with.  Digging coal and heaving it around keeps millions of unskilled people employed and relatively happy – or at least distracted.  I’m sure President Hu doesn’t want dissatisfied unskilled labourers with nothing to do on his hands, regardless of the environmental impacts.

I don’t mean to be negative, but I think if Americans or any other westerners with fantastic visionary ideas are going to come to China and hope to have an impact on the public, they are going to have to do better.  They have to realize that there are 4 times more people to convince here than in the US, and all of them have a different way of looking at the world.

Doom and gloom and calling your representative aren’t going to cut it in China.  And Lester Brown should know it.  I hope we can all learn a lesson from this.

Harper barking up wrong climate change tree

I’ve been on haitus, having spent 2 weeks perparing for performing in the China premier of the musical “Oliver,” based on the story of Oliver Twist, directed by Kemin Zhang. As it was an amateur production, we only had time for 4 shows, but managed to sell at elast 1500 tickets in total. What a blast!

In my last post, Stephen Harper was trying to persuade European countries to put more pressure on China and India. Well, seems that Japan has figured out a better way to pique China’s interests that may have Stephen Harper realizing he’s just spewed a lot (more!) of hot air.

The Blog, China Environmental Law, noted last week that China and Japan were cozying up based on a relationship where Japan could start transferring technology and capital to China for the purposes of dealing with CO2 emissions. He quoted Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, who said,

““Technology and finance should be taken up in discussions”

Similar positions have been taken by China in documents on climate change, for example, in iCET’s soon-to-be published Background and Strategy on Low-Carbon Fuel Standards for China report, where China’s Developemnt and Reform Commission notes that China has in fact been promised technology and capital by western countries in order to deal with climate change, and this will be central in future negotiations on climate change.

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, is content to try to use his (in comparison to China) small-time weight to bully China into cutting emissions.  Frankly, it’s just not going to work.  China has hundreds of millions of people still earning less than $2 a day, who need jobs to survive.  Paying big bucks for proprietary technology from the west, or for R&D in new products in China isn’t high on the priority list.

If Prime Minister Harper and his cabinet are truly interested in China cutting its emissions, they had better start, like Japan, at stepping up to the plate and making sure technology and capital for decreasting GHG emissions makes its way to China.  It is politically unpalatable, but in terms of practical solutions, it might just be what we need.

Or how about like I posted before, getting Chinese engineers and labourers in Canada constructing Canada’s GHG emissions reduction infrastructure – i.e. CCS pipelines in Alberta?  Canada gets the cheap labour, China gets free access to technology and upgrades it’s labour skills.

I dare ya, PM Harper!