I wrote recently about the ecological problems challenging China’s continuing economic growth. A stub in an email from The Scientist (subscription required for full access) prompts a quick post on the scale of the challenge of the desert, and the size of the Chinese response.

Jerry Guo writes: “With the Beijing Olympics just a year away, and desert dunes now only 150 miles away from the city, officials have been dreaming big when it comes to battling legendary Chinese sandstorms in the capital and across the country’s arid north. … The 4,500 kilometer shelterbelt – with 25 million hectares of trees planted and 10 million more hectares planned by 2050 – has been the world’s largest reforestation campaign.” The planned cost is $8 billion, which is a ‘straw in the wind’ indicator of the likely costs globally of responding to climate change and resource shortage.

On the Walking the Wall blog, written by Brendan Fletcher and Emma Nicholas, can be found an interesting recent post, with some fine photos, of a walk along the green wall, with informed commentary towards the end on some of the local issues involved.