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UPDATED: March 28, 2012 Web Exclusive
The Power to Fight Desertification
A Chinese power company shares its experience at the UN
By Huang Wei

Representatives of Inner Mongolia Maowusu Biomass Cogeneration Co. Ltd. and Chinese government officials discussed efforts of combating desertification in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region during a seminar at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City on March 26.

As a side event of the Third Intersessional Meeting of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the seminar demonstrated the commitment of the Chinese Government in securing sustainable development as well as showcasing the public-private partnership for exploring low-carbon development, combating desertification, utilizing biomass for energy and even producing nutritional supplements. This integrated approach to combating desertification could be introduced as a good model for African and other developing countries' sustainable development initiatives.

Maowusu's thermoelectric power project combats desertification by planting shrubs to stabilize shifting sand dunes and preventing the spread of desert wastelands, which contribute to air pollution in Beijing in the form of dust storms. Carbon dioxide emitted by the power plant is sequestered to cultivate spirulina, a type of algae that can be used as a nutritional supplement.

The project planted shrubs across an area of 240 square km. The installed capacity of the thermoelectric project is 30,000 kilowatts and has generated a total of 230 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.

The project has created 8,000 jobs and provides electricity for locals. Increasing the living standards for formerly nomadic ethnic minorities significantly contributes to achieving the UN Millenium Development Goals.

This side event was co-sponsored by China's State Forestry Administration and the Government of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

About 80 people including government officials, experts, scholars, representatives of private industry and media introduced and discussed practices, problems and opportunities in combating desertification.

(Reporting from New York City)

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