University College Dublin Michael Smurfit School in Beijing

This Friday 13 March I talked to a group of fifty executive MBAs; students have an average of 34 years old and 10 years of work experience. The tour is organized by Legacy Ventures, UK.
They have been coming since a few years,

Topic was “A(nother) view on China and 2015: China at the crossroads”
Venue: Hotel New Otani Chang Fu Gong Beijing
Our partner Nicolas Ruble of made a video of the 90 minutes seminar and I am curious to see the result…

And the seminars go and on: Holland in Beijing

Normally twice per year I receive a group from Holland, mostly in Duge Boutique Hotel (Nanluoguxiang). The MBA students are either from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen or the Executive MBA Sports Management (Wagner Sports).

The themes are general introduction about China (people, business and more) and a look back at the 2008 Olympics, with an update of the sport industry in China today (in English).
See the pictures of the sessions of 17 November 2013 and 24 March 2014.
Always a small group but with a lively Q&A (in Dutch)

Beijing Cough Page: updated

Following added to the page:
What is in the polluted air?
A study in 2013 by researchers of Tsinghua University identified more than 1,300 microbes in the atmosphere over Beijing. Although most of them may pose no direct threat to human health, the number still makes for alarming reading. The components of the pollution differ from city to city. In Xi’an most of it is related to coal consumption while Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have more complex sources, due to the growing number of vehicles. Particulate matters due to the burning of oil are more hazardous than those formed by the burning of coal. It is estimated there are some 200 to 300 chemicals in the PM2.5. The most hazardous are organic compounds containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a group of compounds thought to be carcinogenic. The most dangerous particles are the PM1 and Shanghai has more of those than Beijing, a reason for visibility on smog days to be worse in Shanghai; I thought it was due to higher humidity. [source: China Daily]

Gilbert’s letter in China Daily

China Daily edited a bit my post but the result is pretty close:
2 September 2013 – Frustration with smoking ban
By Gilbert Van Kerckhove (China Daily)
Comment on “Health inspectors express frustration with smoking ban” (China Daily, Aug 23)
In the article, health inspectors express frustration with the smoking ban in public places such as restaurants and hotels. If you are a smoker, you can simply ask for an ashtray in a restaurant or hotel. The smoking ban is not yet strictly enforced in facilities managed by Chinese staff.
So if you are a non-smoker and want to avoid secondhand smoke, you have to look for a facility managed by foreigners.
If you have any doubts about this, just visit any restaurant or pub in Sanlitun, an area full of bars and restaurants in Beijing. You won’t find a single smoker in Morel’s Restaurant. But you would be free to smoke in a couple of other well-known bars and restaurants.
The key to banning smoking is imposing the directive with sue seriousness.
Gilbert Van Kerckhove, via e-mail

Fracking: Gangplank to a warmer world

See the article 28 July 2013 in NYT by Anthony R. Ingraffea:
As I explain in my book Toxic Capitalism, fracking (hydraulic fracturing) might be a great new technology but if not done properly it carries very heavy risks for the environment. One of the dangers I mention is methane.
As Ingraffea mentions, methane is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, though it doesn’t last nearly as long in the atmosphere. Still, over a 20-year period, one pound of it traps as much heat as at least 72 pounds of carbon dioxide. Its potency declines, but even after a century, it is at least 25 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. When burned, natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, but methane leakage eviscerates this advantage because of its heat-trapping power. This is the gas that is released into the atmosphere unburned as part of the fracking process, and also from pipelines, compressors and processing units.
A 2011 study from the National Center for Atmospheric Research concluded that unless leaks can be kept below 2%, gas coming from fracking lacks any climate advantage over coal. And a study released this May by Climate Central, a group of scientists and journalists studying climate change, concluded that the 50% climate advantage of natural gas over coal is unlikely to be achieved over the next three to four decades.
But be sure, the fracking lobby does not want to talk about this.
Our solution? Waste less, consume wisely, reduce energy consumption, and don’t cut corners in the quest for energy and raw materials.