Off to China

Well, I’m about to visit China for 16 days, visiting Universities in Guangzhou, Xiamen, Bejing, Xi’an, Lanzhou, Harbin and Jinan (see clickable map for locations). It’s part of a delegation from the University of Adelaide to foster research cross-collaborations between Australian and Chinese universities, and to encourage talented China Scholarship Council Research students to study for their PhDs in Australia (Adelaide!). I’ll also be giving plenty of talks on climate change and sustainability and its relevance to China.

It should be an exciting trip – because it is such a magnificent and diverse country – and also because it will give me a chance to witness, first hand what a decade of sustained, 8-11% pa economic growth looks like in reality.

China is pushing ahead fast on all development fronts, from emissions of greenhouse gases from their coal-fired power stations to large scale initiatives in renewable energy – literally, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The historical legacy of climate change sits squarely with the developed world, but the future course of climate change will be largely determined by whether nations such as China can quickly convert their energy supply to cleantech. That will be where a global agreement in terms of tech development and transfer will be crucial.

Anyway, I hope to be able to post regularly to the blog when I’m travelling, provided I can hook up to the internet from time to time. Indeed, China will be an apt place from which to post my next entry in the ‘How much warming is in the pipeline’ series, because a lot of the answer lies in that atmospheric brown cloud you can see in the picture at the top of this blog entry.

Stay tuned!

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

10 replies on “Off to China”

That brown fug (not cloud, plase) seems to be making its way across the Pacific. Looking at the sunsets from here in eastern Washington State I see a yellow cast to the low sky.

Unnoticable two years and more ago.


Don’t worry about the Chinese and energy, this is a country 25%
bigger than Australia with 4 billion chickens and

Buffaloes 22,722,010
Cattle 116,861,393
Goats 197,268,583
Pigs 501,582,621
Sheep 171,961,203

Oh, I almost forgot … they have quite a few people also :)


When I visited Yunnan last year, I was struck by two things: the sheer number of solar hot water heaters (there seem to be as many solar hw shops as bike shops), and by electric mopeds – almost literally in the case of the latter. They’re totally silent, and everywhere…


David Benson @3, your recent yellow sunsets wouldn’t have more to do with Alaskan volcanoes than Chinese emissions, would they? I find it hard to believe the latter have increased that much in two years.


[writing from Guangzhou, population 12 million]
Took a while to work out how to punch through the Great Firewall of China (makes ‘difficult’ access to all WordPress blogs). Will post an update tomorrow from Xiamen.

Atmospheric brown clouds is the term used by Ramananthan, aka “Mr Aerosols”. More on that soon.


Mark Duffett (4) — Thanks for the link. I’ve factored in that eruption and the summer wildfires and the fall harvest activities, etc.

I’ve seen a paper showing the the Asian ‘brown fug’ is blown north and then lifted aloft to spread across North America. At one new coal burner per day, I’m fairly convinced that it has indeed increased that much in two years.

Garath (3) — Thanks for the interesting info.


Update: The two east coast cities I’ve visited so far, Guangzhou and Xiamen, are incredibly hazy. It’s a white mist-like pall that hangs over the cities all day and night, something collecting in a thick mass and otherwise dissipating slightly. But it is never gone. They same most young Chinese city dwellers have never seen the stars…

Tonight I flew to Lanzhou, in Gansu provice in China’s west. There is a lot of heavy industry located here. As I flew over the mountains, there was an incredible sight – in all the valleys and plains, there was an impenetrable blanket of brown clouds (not white here) – almost like a sea of mud with the mountain peaks as islands penetrating this aerosol ocean. Tomorrow I see what Lanzhou looks like in the daylight.

The only time I’ve seen blue sky whilst in China is when at 10km in the plane. It’s a real eye-opener.


Barry Brook (8) — Thanks for the comment.

The white mist-like pall thins considerably by the time it has crossed the Pacific, but I believe this is the other strange aspect to the sky for the last six months and more.


Leave a Reply (Markdown is enabled)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s