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Reducing the extreme levels of air pollution in China has moved to the top of the political agenda for the new government this year. Without reform, China’s air pollution could worsen by another 70% in 2015. Construction and industrial emissions contribute approximately 20% of particle matters (as measured by PM2.5). We expect measures to address this crisis may have important implications for industrial sector activity. In fact, the forthcoming power rationing in Hebei province highlights that provincial governments may step up their effort to tackle pollution crisis.
According to Bloomberg, Tangshan city will shut 199 polluting factories by rationing their power supply from May 20th. Power supply for three ore-sintering lines at Tangshan Steel and two at Guofeng Steel will be cut. Operations won’t be resumed until desulfurizing devices are added to satisfy environmental standards. Furthermore, outdated, unlicensed and illegal facilities in Tangshan will also be closed by May 31st. If these measures are implemented strictly, we expect this could support steel prices while depress iron ore demand.
Chinese authorities have sought to appease public anger after smog in Beijing hit hazardous levels in January. Pollution has surpassed land disputes as the biggest cause of protests in China, Chen Jiping, a former leading member of the Communist Party’s Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, said in March.
Related FAQ: What is PM2.5 ? Click here to find out
Our soil is the earth’s fragile skin that anchors all life on Earth. It is comprised of countless species that create a dynamic and complex ecosystem and is among the most precious resources to humans. Increased demand for agriculture commodities generates incentives to convert forests and grasslands to farm fields and pastures. The transition to agriculture from natural vegetation often cannot hold onto the soil and many of these plants, such as coffee, cotton, palm oil, soybean and wheat, can actually increase soil erosion beyond the soil’s ability to maintain itself.
Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. These impacts include compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation, and soil salinity. These are very real and at times severe issues.
The effects of soil erosion go beyond the loss of fertile land. It has led to increased pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers, clogging these waterways and causing declines in fish and other species. And degraded lands are also often less able to hold onto water, which can worsen flooding. Sustainable land use can help to reduce the impacts of agriculture and livestock, preventing soil degradation and erosion and the loss of valuable land to desertification.
The health of soil is a primary concern to farmers and the global community whose livelihoods depend on well managed agriculture that starts with the dirt beneath our feet. While there are many challenges to maintaining healthy soil, there are also solutions and a dedicated group of people, including the WWF and the UNCCD who work to innovate and maintain the fragile skin from which biodiversity springs.
Warm winter in the US Farm Belt has reduced soil moisture, increasing risk to crop yield. Price stability and low implied vols across markets raise worries that “Event X” may soon disrupt placidity.