China: a clean air chimney tries to clean the atmosphere

This is a 60 meter high chimney that stands in the heart of its neighborhood. But instead of spreading smoke, the giant cylinder purifies (a little) the air that the inhabitants of Xian, one of the most polluted cities in China, breathe.

China, the world's leading polluter, tries to all the means to produce clean air, going as far as closing factories during pollution peaks. Millions of Chinese no longer go out without a mask that filters fine particles and have installed air purifiers at home.

In Xian (north), the former imperial capital that no longer sees the blue sky a little less than half of the year, the authorities have taken the means, with an experimental purifier installed in the suburbs to filter the air of the street

 Xian, former imperial capital in the north of China, no longer sees the blue sky a little less than half of the year (AFP / Archives - Fred DUFOUR) [19659005] Xian, former imperial capital in northern China, no longer sees the blue sky a little less than half of the year (AFP / Archives - Fred DUFOUR) </figcaption><p> The device, powered by the solar energy, sucks stale air from the ground and filters it as it rises into the chimney before being discharged into the atmosphere </p>
<p> It can clean every day between 5 and 16 million cubic meters of depending on the weather and the level of pollution, according to Cao Junji, environmental expert at the Chinese Academy of Science. [19659002] The machine, which is still in test phase, reduces from 10% to 19% the rate of fine particles in the atmosphere within a radius of 10 km2, he assured Tuesday before the press. [19659002] A meager result for a metropolis of 8 million inhabitants: it would take a hundred towers of the same type to cover the entire surface of the city over 1,000 km2, acknowledged Mr. Cao. </p>
<p><img src=

The machine, still in testing phase, reduced by 10 % to 19% the rate of fine particles in the atmosphere within a radius of 10 km2 (AFP / Archives – Fred DUFOUR)

For an investment of 12 million yuan (1.5 million euros) and a budget operating at 200,000 yuan a year, this fight against fine particles in the city is expensive.

M. Cao also acknowledged that the project raised doubts. "I was skeptical myself, but the results are good and they meet our expectations," he said.

Between China and the United States, cyberwar is declared

Xi Jinping wants to make China "a cyber-superpower" capable, within a decade, of being the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, semiconductors and 5G mobile networks . The big American bosses have something to worry about: the 800 million Chinese Internet users represent a huge store of personal data, essential raw material for services based on AI. US national security officials fear that China will end up equating the military capabilities of the United States and undermine the industries on which these capabilities are based.

Blocking Mergers …

On March 12, Trump administration was blocking the hostile bid of Broadcom semiconductor maker, partly based in Singapore, on US wireless technology company Qualcomm. The Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) recommended this measure. He feared that the planned merger would allow Chinese companies to become the leading suppliers of hardware for 5G networks. The ban on this merger may be just the first step in what the US administration sees as a necessary counterattack. Because China has become a major global player in these sectors.

This is a huge challenge for the United States. China has an impressive technology sector, with companies like DJI, the world's largest manufacturer of drones, or the Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent including mobile payment systems, Alipay and WeChat Pay, have almost done away with cash on the east coast of China. The country also benefits from a large and high skilled workforce, with 4.6 million newly graduated engineers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A huge Chinese push in these sectors is likely.

Especially as Beijing intends to bring together companies, customers and government agencies in a "solid governance", ie build a techno system that discourages users to use other technologies than his. Access control is the key to protecting this meadow. Thus, foreign companies wishing to sell their products in China must undergo six safety studies. The Chinese Communist Party has acquired shares in some high-tech companies. How to recall the hold of power and let it be known that the company enjoys an official blessing.

And then, there is the most coveted fruit of these square squares: personal data. Far from being protected in China, they are copiously used by the State. The country has 176 million surveillance cameras, many of which have face recognition systems. The widespread collection of data makes it possible to attribute to individuals a "social note". A bad rating is reflected, for example, in the ban on taking the train or plane. The Chinese techno-system hardly resembles Western systems. It is more integrated and more tightly controlled by the government. China would like to export this type of model abroad. It has thus appropriated 40% of the shares of the mobile market in Africa. If she is in the lead in 5G, she could win other more lucrative global markets and expand her influence. As for cloud computing, the boss of Alibaba has recently promised to surpass Amazon as the first supplier of the sector.

… or promote trade?

Have, in high technology, a rival that does not is not an ally is bad news for the United States. China is far from fairplay and the desire to punish it should not be surprising. But blocking industrial mergers and introducing tariffs are inefficient and counter-productive measures. The United States should instead seek to strengthen its technosystem by partnering with Europe, Japan and Korea to advance open standards. They need to build a shared digital infrastructure, for example with common data bases for innovations such as autonomous vehicles. And they must rediscover what made their success in technology: investing in research and welcoming highly skilled immigrants. Above all, they must preserve openness, which favors exchanges. Enabling people and knowledge to circulate is the best way to make Western technosystems gain a foothold in China

Like any other country, America must take the necessary steps to protect its digital infrastructure. But this can be done without turning its back on the openness that has helped to create the technology that its citizens, and those in the majority of the rest of the world, enjoy today.

French recycled paper in vein thanks to China

Decryption. In France the paper industry is doing well. " L e turnover of the whole sector has appreciated by 3%" in 2017, rejoices the French Union of Cardboard, Paper and Cellulose Industries (Copacel) in a press release . These good figures are not only the result of the improvement in French activity. Neither even European. The policy of China also comes into play. Explanation.

Less waste imported into China …

Since 1 er January 2018, China prohibits the import into its territory of 24 categories of solid waste, including mixed papers. Until then, the country imported paper and cardboard mixes to recycle (PCR) from Europe and especially France. With a drastic drop in the export of its waste paper, the Hexagon " is left with a surplus of raw material" says Jean Miroux, director in charge of the circular economy in Copacel, contacted by Sciences et Avenir .

… Falling prices in France …

If the supply of recycling is reduced, the demand remains the same. Who says fewer companies to work the same amount of PCR, says lower prices of raw material. " This is an opportunity for all European and French papermakers" told AFP Yves Herbault, vice president of Copacel. He believes that in the short term, for paper manufacturers who use paper and cardboard to recycle, overall it is a windfall effect. " Even a relief for Jean Miroux:" We can to blow a little after the last price increases. " But this rejoicing may be short-lived for the recycling industry.

… The quality with?

The Copacel buys mainly cardboard, press-paper and graphic paper not mixed with the collection companies.These ensure the sorting of different PCR materials.With China no longer accepting mixed solids, Copacel fears to end up buy goods less sorted. " We could find in Europe, in France, products of less good quality '", envisaged Yves Herbault.He estimates that the collectors " ] will increase the p and will increase their sorting capabilities to provide good quality products to China " . The case to be followed, on March 18, 2018, World Recycling Day .

China wins war on pollution, says US study

China, the world's leading polluter, "is winning the war against pollution", to the point of sketching an increase in life expectancy of more than two years, according to a US study released Tuesday

From data collected by 200 receivers across the country, the University of Chicago calculated that the rate of fine particles, which were very harmful to health, had dropped by 32% between 2013 and 2017.

] If this trend continues, the average life expectancy of the Chinese would increase by 2.4 years, according to the study. Fine particles (PM 2.5) play a role in cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as cancer

"There is no example of a country achieving such a rapid reduction in air pollution This is remarkable, "says Michael Greenstone, who led the study at the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago.

By contrast, it took more than a dozen years in the United States to achieve a comparable improvement after the adoption of an air law in 1970.

"What the past four years have proved is that things can change, and even quickly, with political will, "Greenstone observes.

Under pressure from public opinion, the communist regime launched in 2013 a plan against pollution to reduce by a quarter the concentration of fine particles in some key areas like around Beijing and Shanghai.

"China is not considered a democratic country and yet it is found that the government has had to take measures that the public demanded, "notes Mr. Greenstone.

The anti-pollution policy was, however, accompanied by an economic cost and the authorities ordering the closure of thousands of factories too close to the city center.

They also decreed at the end of 2017 the end of coal heating, the main source of energy in China, in northern parts of the country. country, even before gas heating systems could be installed. Schools in Hebei Province (north) had to make up their minds to classify in the courtyard, where the temperature was colder than inside …

Winter, traditionally very polluted in the north of China, was relatively pure this year, but a peak of pollution hit Beijing on Tuesday, with a fine particle rate higher than 300 micrograms per m3, more than 12 times the standard recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO ).

Waste banned from China: positive effect for French papermakers, vigilance on quality

China's decision last year to stop importing certain types of waste, including paper for recycling, has had a positive effect for the French paper industry, which thus has more raw material, but wants to be vigilant about quality

The Chinese measure "has put back on the market quantities of paper and cardboard to recycle that we sometimes lacked," said Agnès Roger, president of the professional federation of the paper sector Copacel, presenting Thursday to the press the annual report of this activity.

"We have again the opportunity to have material (first) and therefore it should push industrial production," she said. But she stressed that manufacturers should be "vigilant, mainly on the quality" of the papers to be recycled.

For Yves Herbault, vice president of Copacel, "in the short term, for paper manufacturers who use paper and cartons to recycle, overall it is a windfall effect ", especially because of a" positive effect on the accounts, the raw material has decreased significantly. "

" This is an opportunity for all European and French paper manufacturers, "said Herbault. But it evokes "still a number of risks".

"In the medium term, paper manufacturers must be vigilant because collectors will find solutions to meet the needs of China," he said.

The vice president of the federation predicts that collectors "will increase prices and increase their sorting capacity to supply good quality products to China"

We could find in Europe, in France, products of lower quality ", he considered, calling on paper manufacturers to "organize their chains of control much better".