China to Flatten 700 Mountains

Andy Wong / AP Photo

Chinese visit a tourist spot shrouded in fog, caused by air pollution, in Linfen, Shanxi province, China, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009. Delegates converged Sunday for the grand finale of two years of tough, sometimes bitter negotiations on a climate change treaty, as U.N. officials calculated that pledges offered in the last few weeks to reduce greenhouse gases put the world within reach of keeping global warming under control.

China must really be struggling for place to put their rapidly growing population. A construction firm is planning to spend billions to flatten 700 mountains—in order to build a new metropolis on the outskirts of the northwestern city of Lanzhou. The massive undertaking has fittingly been called the largest “mountain-moving project” in Chinese history. The first stage of the operation is already underway, but the plan is being criticized for its environmental and financial questionability. A spokeswoman for the construction group dismissed skepticism, saying, "Our protective style of development will divert water to the area, achieve reforestation, and make things better than before.”