China moves into Peruvian rainforest in search of oil
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
December 8, 2005
Peru signed an $83 million contract with China National Petroleum Corporation allowing the Chinese firm to explore for oil in the country's southeastern rainforests, arguably the most biodiverse place on earth.
China has been rapidly expanding its energy development activities with deals in Sudan, Venezuela, and Kazakhstan. Beyond oil, China has been particularly active in Latin America, where it is sponsoring a road project linking the agricultural fields and resources of the Amazon Basin to Pacific ports.
Local indigenous rights' groups, including the Indigenous Federation of Madre de Dios, have protested the concession, while some environmentalists are concerned that China's growing demand for energy and agricultural commodities will put the region's biological wealth at risk.
The state of Madre de Dios in southeastern Peru is home to mountainous cloud forests and low-lying rainforests containing the richest biodiversity on Earth. It may also soon be home to a transcontinental highway. If all goes according to plan and schedule, by June 2006, there will be an asphalt road connecting Sao Paulo to Lima, and more importantly, the Pacific Peruvian ports of Matarini, Ilo and San Juan. The east-west Carretera Transoceanica -- "transoceanic highway" -- as the project is called, is viewed as a long-awaited and close to finalized dream for proponents, namely the Peruvian and Brazilian governments, agricultural groups and local residents, and as a nightmare for environmentalists..
Timber hungry China moves into Africa
China, as the fastest growing economy in the world, is poised to make significant impacts on the global market and the global environment, especially with its expanding involvement with nations rich in natural resources but deficient in economic and political stability. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Africa where China has rapidly bolstered its ties in recent years with the majority of the continent's 54 nations.
Renewable energy in China, a strategic future?
With a host of environmental and domestic social concerns -- and potential future international conflict -- China could be well suited to pursue renewable energy sources. China's failed bid for American petroleum firm Unocal may prompt it to further focus on its development of alternative energy sources. While China has been actively investing in exploration and development operations in Africa, South America, and other parts of Asia over the past five years, China has also significantly expanded its interests in renewable energy sources including wind, solar, biofuels, tidal, and small hydroelectric dams.
Amazon deforestation slows in Brazil for 2005
Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest fell 37% for the 2004-2004 year according to Brazilian government figures released today. Between July 2004 and August 2005, 7,298 square miles of rainforest (18,900 square kilometers) -- an area almost half the size of Switzerland -- were destroyed. Last year the figure was 10,088 square miles (26,129 sq km kilometers) and since 1978 some 206,250 square miles (534,200 sq km) of forest has been lost.
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