China's national planning agency reported 25% of the nation's $586 billion economic stimulus will be spent rebuilding the earthquake-ravaged Sichuan region. Another chunk of the stimulus is destined for roads, railways irrigation and other infrastructure projects across the country. However, analysts say economic indicators have still not displayed a strong enough recovery to offset the plummeting demand for Chinese exports.
China's plan to build eight dams on the Mekong River where it flows through Yunnan Province could result in deterioration of water quality and loss of biodiversity, according to a United Nations report. The dams would add to the hazards already facing the Mekong River of pollution and climate change. China recently completed construction of the Xiowan Dam, the world's tallest at 958 feet.
Florida officials used a workshop with the Federal Rail Administration to ask for $2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail service between Tampa and Orlando International Airport. Florida proposed the 90-mile rail service with trains traveling at speeds of at least 110 mph. As much as $8 billion in economic-stimulus funds is expected to be available for high-speed rail projects across the U.S. by the end of the year.
Alabama Power Co. will launch a four-year experiment in 2011 to capture carbon emissions from a coal-fired power plant near Mobile, Ala. The $175 million project will pipe the C02 gas 9,000 feet underground in an abandoned oil field about 10 miles from the Barry Electric Generating Plant. The Energy Department, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and the Electric Power Research Institute are serving as partners in the experiment.
Improving the efficiency of buildings in the U.S. could reduce carbon emissions by at least 34% through 2050, according to an Environment America report. Almost half of the energy used in the U.S. is used to provide power to buildings. The report endorses upgraded building codes that require energy-efficiency improvements of 30% by 2012 and zero net energy by 2030.