With the Olympics almost upon us, Science magazine has a cover story on “China’s Environmental Challenges” (subs. req’d). Since Science has been a leader in drawing attention to the threat posed to humanity by accelerating greenhouse gas emissions, you’d think that one of those challenges would be China’s newly achieved leadership in carbon dioxide emissions, how China can developesustainably, and what are the alternatives to their rapacious use of coal.
You would be wrong. Here are the four articles that comprise the magazine’s news focus on China’s environment:
Richard Stone Science 1 August 2008: 628-632. A marvel of engineering, the Three Gorges Dam will start operating at full capacity later this year. Already under way is an epic experiment on how a dam impacts the environment. Full Text »|PDF »|Podcast Interview »|
Richard Stone Science 1 August 2008: 630. Dramatic reductions in water flow in the Tarim River, the lifeblood of Xinjiang Province, mean provincial authorities must act fast to conserve water and find alternative water sources. Full Text »|PDF »|
Hao Xin Science 1 August 2008: 633-635. In a controversial venture, officials plan to halt open grazing, eradicate rodents, restore “degraded” grasslands, improve wetlands, and plant many trees and shrubs. Full Text »|PDF »|
Richard Stone Science 1 August 2008: 636-637. Drastic measures have brought down levels of some pollutants; a return to business as usual after the Olympics could be bad for health. Full Text »|PDF »|
It is interesting how these stories all dance around the 800-pound panda in the room, but that only underscores the gravity of the magazine’s omission.