Heavy snowfall in northern China is testing the country's disaster preparedness and prompting fresh questions about Beijing's efforts to alter its weather.
A massive blizzard over the past week has dumped some of the heaviest snow in five decades on China's usually arid north, clogging highways and collapsing buildings in seven provinces. The storm, which began Monday, had caused at least $650 million in damage as of Friday afternoon and killed more than 40 people in traffic accidents or building collapses triggered by the snow and ice, the government said.
This week's storm follows an unusually early snowfall that blanketed Beijing on Nov.1. Government media attributed the intensity of the storm to the Beijing Weather Modification Office, which is responsible for cloud seeding efforts in the capital.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
There may be more oppressive socialist regimes out there (North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Berkeley), but none are as ludicrously controlling as the Red Chinese. They aspire to control what would seem to be uncontrollable: the procreation of children, the divine appointment of the Panchen and Dalai Lamas, the flight of pigeons in Beijing, searches on the Internet, etc. Now, they aspire to the ultimate symbol of Man-As-God planning: control of the weather: Blizzard Renews Storm Over China Making Snow
"Beijing Weather Modification Office?"
There is some doubt as to whether the Chinese efforts are really having such an extreme effect. There have already been some early snowfalls in the US, after all. Still, it's clear that the Chinese are doing this without taking heed for either the extent of the direct effects of their seeding or for the secondary effects on the masses on the ground (the linked article mentions dozens of deaths and major damage as a result of the storm).
We keep hearing that the Chinese are "going green" and should be our exemplars as stewards of the planet. Yet, their behavior is just the opposite, and not limited to building hundreds of coal-fired factories and power plants. To control the rampaging floods on the Yangtze River, they built the Three Gorges Dam, which displaced millions, drowned a scenic treasure, triggered landslides, and continues to have an unintended impact on the environment. Some scientists believe last year's Sichuan earthquake may have been caused in part by the Zipingpu Dam. This damn the torpedoes approach to cloud seeding - despite open questions about its efficacy and its effects on the ground and in the world's environment is of a piece with this.