The Green Leap Forward looks back at 2008 and selects its “Top Five” stories.
A new year is upon us! But what a year 2008 was! Winter storms, the Sichuan earthquakes, the Beijing Olympics and the global financial crisis. A common thread? “Green,” says this China Daily article, which provides a pretty good summary of all the green policy milestones of the past year in China, including the 11th Five-Year Plan goals, upgrading of the State Environmental Protection Administration to Ministry status, plastic bag ban, Walmart’s China green supply chain initiative, and increased civil society participation in environmental issues.
So its that time of the year where blogs and other websites publish their “Top Ten” lists. Apparently, even the Center for Environmental Education and Communication under the Ministry of Environmental Protection published its own Top Ten highlights. (A glaring omission from that list is the energy price reforms that were first undertaken in July in the retail petroleum sector, extended recently to upstream coal, and surely in time to the retail electricty market.)
The Green Leap Forward, for its part, would like to highlight its five top blog posts of the year, selected based on a non-scientific combined consideration of tracked page views and the author’s favorites, and in no particular order:
- “Chinese Water Torture“(Jul 2): The post with the most page views of this “Top Five” selection according to tracking statistics, a post that I had a lot of fun putting together that looked at China’s water problem from a macro-perspective and then at what the private sector was doing to it. This post set the stage for what my post on “Watergy: China’s Looming National Security Crisis”, an issue that policy makers seem to be missing completely.
- “Xiamen City: Urban Planning for Climate Change” (May 31) and “Creating a Better Life: A Closer Look at the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city Project” (Nov 16): A window into how China has become an eco-city laboratory. The stories of Xiamen and Tianjin are very different, but both aspire to create low-carbon lifestyles for its residents. With 300 million moving to urban centers over the next two decades and China alone accounting for half the world’s building construction over the same period, city-level regenerative planning is vital.
- “The Energy Implications of the Sichuan Earthquake” (May 20): Perhaps one of my more difficult posts to write in light on the tragedy, but really brought to light the fragility of the energy infrastructure system.
- “Solar’s Journey to the West” (Jun 17): One of my few solar posts, in part because I already run a separate solar blog, but one in which the policy recommendations to develop China’s domestic solar market still ring as loudly as they did six months ago.
- “Small is Beautiful–A Review of the Beijing AutoShow 2008″ (Apr 28): I like to think that this was the post that brought BYD Auto to the attention of Warren Buffet (see also “BYD Auto Hits the Buffet Line“) and the rest of the world. My auto show experience was the dawn of my realization that China would soon become the leaders in the auto industry, green or otherwise. It was a foreshadowing to Detroit’s automakers hooking up to life support.
Okay that was more than five posts, but it was still five bullet points. And I will cheat further with a special mention for “Technology Innovation as a Panacea? Bah Hambug!” (Mar 24), a post that set the tone for my philosophical approach to Green, and was (and still is) a recurring theme to many of my diatribes thereafter.
And just one more thing. I am completely flummoxed as to why “Green Hops: Supercities, Rule of Law; Auto Parts Recycling” (Mar 26) was the absolute runaway leader in terms of page hits (more than 50% of the next most read post “Chinese Water Torture”). It wasn’t selected for the Top Five simply because I did not consider Green Hops posts, which tend to be merely aggregation of the latest green news. It was not even a remarkable Green Hops post by any standard, and on the short side as well. If someone can tell me why that post was so popular, please let me know, so that I can copy its success. My best guess it that it was the slightly digressive but very much heart-felt comment (#3) left by a certain “James Simpson” that may have stood out.
So that’s a wrap for 2008! May you have a blessed and Happy New Year. See you all in a few days where we will pick up where we left off, bringing China’s emerging green revolution to your computer screen.