Feb. 21st, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
No, not the plaintive cry of a porn director who wants to get home for tea, but the rather worrying news that China appears to have lost 10% of its commercial forests without anyone outside China noticing.

That, in hard numbers is more than 20m hectares, and about $8bn worth of wood -- more than even the highest-paid porn star could ever claim.

The Butlers of the world might be ahead of you here, because I am, of course, going to talk about the inflationary impact of this. While oil was nudging back to $100 a barrel and wheat continued to increase in price, people hadn't been paying much attention to timber. But they should, because China has announced that it will be importing the stuff "in the short term" to make up for regional dislocations (basically, the wood needs to be imported to stop local processing factories from shutting down, rather than from a national shortage of timber).

Bad news for tree huggers, but worse for sweet animal lovers. Apparently some 30,000 protected wild animals were killed in the snow storms in China. More proof that nature, when it puts its mind to it, can make a rampaging humanity look like a little child in a playpen.

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