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posted by martyb on Sunday October 17, @03:02AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the core-elation? dept.

Intel published a developer guide confirming details of its upcoming Alder Lake processors.

Desktop "Alder Lake-S" processors will include up to 8 "Golden Cove" performance cores (P-cores), 8 "Gracemont" (Atom) efficiency cores (E-cores), and 32 graphics execution units (Gen 12.2 EUs). A smaller die will include only up to 6 P-cores and no E-cores, to be used in lower-end products such as a 6-core Intel Core i5-12400 or a quad-core i3.

Mobile "Alder Lake-P" processors will include up to 6 P-cores, 8 E-cores, and 96 graphics EUs. A smaller "ultra mobile" die will include up to 2 P-cores and 8 E-cores.

AVX-512 is physically present on Golden Cove cores, but disabled in Alder Lake.

The guide mainly focuses on software implementations for hybrid CPUs. It provides various optimization strategies for Alder Lake, including lack of optimization, a "Good Scenario", and the "Best Scenario". According to the document, lack of optimization will not mean that the CPU will be unable to distribute workloads for hybrid CPUs, which should be handled by ThreadDirector anyway, but some may be distributed to the wrong types of cores, should the scheduling algorithm not recognize the task.

In the "Good Scenario," Intel assumes that the application will be aware of the hybrid architecture. The primary tasks should target Performance cores, whereas non-essential and background threads with lower priority should target Effcieent cores.

The "Best Scenario" goes into further detail about which workloads specifically should target Efficient cores: Shader Compilation, Audio Mixing, Asset Streaming, Decompression, Any other non-critical work.

Intel's Thread Director combines a microcontroller with software-based scheduling:

Intel's Thread Director controller puts an embedded microcontroller inside the processor such that it can monitor what each thread is doing and what it needs out of its performance metrics. It will look at the ratio of loads, stores, branches, average memory access times, patterns, and types of instructions. It then provides suggested hints back to the Windows 11 OS scheduler about what the thread is doing, whether it is important or not, and it is up to the OS scheduler to combine that with other information about the system as to where that thread should go. Ultimately the OS is both topologically aware and now workload aware to a much higher degree.

Inside the microcontroller as part of Thread Director, it monitors which instructions are power hungry, such as AVX-VNNI (for machine learning) or other AVX2 commands that often draw high power, and put a big flag on those for the OS for prioritization. It also looks at other threads in the system and if a thread needs to be demoted, either due to not having enough free P-cores or for power/thermal reasons, it will give hints to the OS as to which thread is best to move. Intel states that it can profile a thread in as little as 30 microseconds, whereas a traditional OS scheduler may take 100s of milliseconds to make the same conclusion (or the wrong one).

On top of this, Intel says that Thread Director can also optimize for frequency. If a thread is limited in a way other than frequency, it can detect this and reduce frequency, voltage, and power. This will help the mobile processors, and when asked Intel stated that it can change frequency now in microseconds rather than milliseconds.

[...] On the question of Linux, Intel only went as far to say that Windows 11 was the priority, and they're working upstreaming a variety of features in the Linux kernel but it will take time. An Intel spokesperson said more details closer to product launch, however these things will take a while, perhaps months and years, to get to a state that could be feature-parity equivalent with Windows 11.

See also: Intel 12th gen Alder Lake-P and Alder Lake-M mobile SKUs to enter production between Q4 2021 and Q1 2022; Up to 14 cores, Xe GT3, PCie Gen5, and DDR5 on the anvil
Linux 5.16 To Add Intel Encrypted PXP, Alder Lake S Declared Stable & Ready
Alder Lake Support Added To Intel's TCC Driver In Linux 5.15
Scheduler Changes For Linux 5.15 - Still No Sign Of Any Intel Thread Director Optimizations

Previously: Windows 11 Bashes Some AMD Procs; Boosts Some Intel Core i7 Alder Lake

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday October 16, @10:21PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

UN declares access to a clean environment a human right:

GENEVA, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday recognised access to a clean and healthy environment as a fundamental right, formally adding its weight to the global fight against climate change and its devastating consequences.

The vote passed with overwhelming support, despite criticism in the lead-up from some countries, notably the United States and Britain. read more

The resolution, first discussed in the 1990s, is not legally binding but has the potential to shape global standards. Lawyers involved in climate litigation say it could help them build arguments in cases involving the environment and human rights.

"This has life-changing potential in a world where the global environmental crisis causes more than nine million premature deaths every year," said David Boyd, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, who called the decision a "historic breakthrough".

The text, proposed by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland, was passed with 43 votes in favour and 4 abstentions from Russia, India, China and Japan, prompting a rare burst of applause in the Geneva forum.

[...] Critics had raised various objections, saying the Council was not the appropriate forum and citing legal concerns.

Environmental defenders had said Britain's earlier critical stance was undermining its pledges ahead of the global climate conference it is hosting in Glasgow next month.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday October 16, @05:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the iodine? dept.

Sweeping FDA guidance would drastically cut salt in American foods:

The Food and Drug Administration is asking food manufacturers and restaurants to cut the salt in their products over the coming 2½ years, hoping to reduce Americans' overall sodium intake by 12 percent.

The sweeping recommendation, announced Wednesday, is expected to cover a wide variety of foods — from chain restaurant meals to processed food on grocery store shelves and even baby food.

"What we'd like to see is the food industry gradually lower the sodium content" in the most common foods, Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, told NBC News.

The goal, Woodcock said, is to slash rates of heart disease, the country's No. 1 killer. Reducing sodium in the diet ultimately "would have a major impact on hypertension, heart disease and stroke," she said.

Current dietary guidelines recommend that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. That equates to about one teaspoon of table salt.

But the average person in the U.S. consumes about 3,400 mg of sodium a day,according to the FDA. The majority of that comes from processed foods, not table salt.

"We recognize that cutting down on sodium in your diet is hard to do on your own, because about 70 percent of the sodium we eat comes from processed, packaged and prepared foods," Susan Mayne, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said on a media call Wednesday.

The new recommendations aim to cut the average salt intake by 12 percent, down to 3,000 mg a day, Woodcock said. That is the equivalent of consuming 60 fewer teaspoons of salt a year.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 16, @01:03PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the green'ish dept.

Ten EU countries call on Brussels to label nuclear energy as green:

[...] Tapping into Europe's ongoing energy crunch, the countries make the case for nuclear energy as a "key affordable, stable and independent energy source" that could protect EU consumers from being "exposed to the volatility of prices".

The letter, which was initiated by France, has been sent to the Commission with the signature of nine other EU countries, most of which already count nuclear as part of their national energy mix: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Romania.

Nuclear plants generate over 26% of the electricity produced in the European Union.

"The rise of energy prices have also shown how important is it to reduce our energy dependence on third countries as fast as possible," says the letter, as seen by Euronews.

Over 90% of the EU's natural gas come from foreign importers, with Russia as the main producer. This great dependency has been credited as one of the main factors behind the rise in energy prices.

"Supply tensions will be more and more frequent and we have no choice but to diversify our supply. We should pay attention not to increase our dependency on energy imports from outside Europe."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 16, @08:19AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

France to ban plastic packaging for most fruit and vegetables from January 2022:

France will ban plastic packaging for nearly all fruit and vegetables from January 2022 in a bid to reduce plastic waste, the environment ministry said on Monday.

Implementing a February 2020 law, the government published a list of about 30 fruits and vegetables that will have to be sold without plastic packaging from Jan. 1. The list includes leeks, aubergines and round tomatoes as well as apples, bananas and oranges.

"We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives. The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging," the ministry said in a statement.

It estimated that 37% of fruit and vegetables are sold with packaging and expects that the measure will prevent more than one billion useless plastic packaging items per year.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday October 16, @03:33AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the insert-pine-cone-koan-here dept.

PinePhone Pro Linux smartphone to feature a power-optimized Rockchip RK3399S processor

Pine64 has now announced the PinePhone Pro Linux smartphone with a Rockchip RK3399S hexa-core processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, that's a power-optimized version of the popular Rockchip RK3399 processor. It will provide a noticeable upgrade to the PinePhone Linux smartphones launched in November 2019, which, by today's standards, is quite underpowered.

Besides the faster processor, PinePhone Pro also comes with 4GB RAM and 128 GB storage which should make it a better candidate at mobile desktop convergence, as well as a 5.95-inch display with 1440×720 resolution, a 13MP rear camera, a 5MP front-facing camera, and more.

[...] Pine64 collaborated with Rockchip to fine-tune the RK3399 SoC's performance so that it meets the necessary thermal and battery-consumption envelopes, as and as a result, RK3399S was born. Pine64 also explained Rockchip helped a great deal in enabling the PinePhone Pro's suspend state, which allows the smartphone to receive calls and SMS messages while preserving the battery.

[...] Just like most Pine64 products, the PinePhone Pro will rely on work from the community for software support, and the first PinePhone Pro devkit is up for pre-order for $399 plus shipping and eventual import taxes now with a clear focus on developers and established contributors, although newcomers with an established development record can also pre-order. Tech enthusiasts without a developer background are asked to wait a couple of more months for the second batch of PinePhone Pro "Explorer Edition" that is scheduled to be manufactured before the end of the year, and ship in early 2022. Additional information may also be found on the product page.

Also at Phoronix.

Previously: PinePhone Linux Smartphone Priced at $149 to Arrive This Year
How PINE64 is Creating a Device-Design Community to Compete with Raspberry Pi
PinePhone Braveheart Linux Smartphone Begins Shipping
Another Opportunity to Purchase a PinePhone

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday October 15, @10:52PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

NASA’s Lucy mission will soon be in the sky, with a launch set for Saturday:

Less than five years have gone by since NASA selected the "Lucy" mission for development as part of its Discovery Mission program, and now the intriguing spacecraft is ready for launch.

The $981 million mission will fly an extremely complex trajectory over the span of a dozen years. The spacecraft will swing by Earth a total of three times for gravitational assists as it visits a main-belt asteroid, 52246 Donaldjohanson, and subsequently flies by eight Trojan asteroids that share Jupiter's orbit around the Sun.

The Lucy mission is scheduled to launch on Saturday at 5:34 am ET (09:34 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. An Atlas V rocket carrying the 1.5-ton spacecraft rolled to the launch pad on Thursday in advance of the launch attempt. The weather looks fine Saturday morning, with a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions. The launch will be covered live on NASA TV.

Lucy will fly by its first asteroid target in April 2025, a main-belt asteroid named after Donald Johanson, the American anthropologist who co-discovered the famed "Lucy" fossil in 1974. The fossil, of a female hominin species that lived about 3.2 million years ago, supported the evolutionary idea that bipedalism preceded an increase in brain size.

[...] No probe has flown by these smallish Trojan asteroids, which are clustered at stable LaGrange points trailing and ahead of Jupiter's orbit 5.2 astronomical units from the Sun. The asteroids are mostly dark but may be covered with tholins, which are organic compounds that could provide raw materials for the basic chemicals of life.

[...] According to Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the pandemic struck during a critical time period when the spacecraft was assembled with its four major scientific payloads. It took about 14 months to integrate the spacecraft bus with the instruments and verify that the craft could survive for a full 12-year mission in space. If Lucy is successful, the mission will travel farther on solar power than any previous spacecraft.

Also at CNN and c|net.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday October 15, @07:17PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the un-linked dept.

Microsoft shutting down LinkedIn in China:

Microsoft is shutting down its social network, LinkedIn, in China, saying having to comply with the Chinese state has become increasingly challenging.

It comes after the career-networking site faced questions for blocking the profiles of some journalists.

LinkedIn will launch a jobs-only version of the site, called InJobs, later this year.

But this will not include a social feed or the ability to share or post articles.

LinkedIn senior vice-president Mohak Shroff blogged: "We're facing a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements in China."

And the firm said in a statement: "While we are going to sunset the localised version of LinkedIn in China later this year, we will continue to have a strong presence in China to drive our new strategy and are excited to launch the new InJobs app later this year."

Also at CNBC:

LinkedIn was the last major U.S. social network still operating in China.

See also: Here's the Biggest Loser From LinkedIn's China Departure

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday October 15, @04:27PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the turnabout-is-fair-play? dept.

Dead-End SF Street Plagued With Confused Waymo Cars Trying To Turn Around 'Every 5 Minutes':

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A normally quiet neighborhood in San Francisco is buzzing about a sudden explosion of traffic. Neighbors say their Richmond District dead-end street has suddenly become crowded with Waymo vehicles.

[...] They come all day, right to the end of 15th Avenue, where there’s nothing else to do but make some kind of multi-point turn and head out the way they came in. Not long after that car is gone, there will be another, which will make the same turn and leave, before another car shows up and does the exact same thing. And while there are some pauses, it never really stops.

“There are some days where it can be up to 50,” [resident Jennifer] King says of the Waymo count. “It’s literally every five minutes. And we’re all working from home, so this is what we hear.”

At several points this Tuesday, they showed up on top of each other. The cars, packed with technology, stop in a queue as if they are completely baffled by the dead end. While some neighbors say it is becoming a bit of a nuisance, everyone finds it a little bizarre.

[...] In an emailed statement, a Waymo spokesperson said, “We continually adjust to dynamic San Francisco road rules. In this case, cars traveling North of California on 15th Ave have to take a u-turn due to the presence of Slow Streets signage on Lake. So, the Waymo Driver was obeying the same road rules that any car is required to follow.”

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 15, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

British Medical Journal: Daily Use of CBD Oil May Be Linked to Lung Cancer Regression:

It may be worth exploring further the use of cannabidiol ('CBD') oil as a potential lung cancer treatment, suggest doctors in BMJ Case Reports after dealing with a daily user whose lung tumor shrank without the aid of conventional treatment. The body's own endocannabinoids are involved in various processes, including nerve function, emotion, energy metabolism, pain and inflammation, sleep and immune function.

[...] The report authors describe the case of a woman in her 80s, diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. She also had mild chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoarthritis, and high blood pressure, for which she was taking various drugs. She was a smoker, getting through around a pack plus of cigarettes every week (68 packs/year).

Her tumor was 41 mm in size at diagnosis, with no evidence of local or further spread, so she was suitable for conventional treatment of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. But the woman refused treatment, so was placed under 'watch and wait' monitoring, which included regular CT scans every 3-6 months.

These showed that the tumor was progressively shrinking, reducing in size from 41 mm in June 2018 to 10 mm by February 2021, equal to an overall 76% reduction in maximum diameter, averaging 2.4% a month, say the report authors.

When contacted in 2019 to discuss her progress, the woman revealed that she had been taking CBD oil as an alternative self-treatment for her lung cancer since August 2018, shortly after her original diagnosis.

[...] This is just one case report, with only one other similar case reported, caution the authors. And it's not clear which of the CBD oil ingredients might have been helpful.

"We are unable to confirm the full ingredients of the CBD oil that the patient was taking or to provide information on which of the ingredient(s) may be contributing to the observed tumor regression," they point out.

And they emphasize: "Although there appears to be a relationship between the intake of CBD oil and the observed tumor regression, we are unable to conclusively confirm that the tumor regression is due to the patient taking CBD oil."

Reference: "Lung cancer patient who had declined conventional cancer treatment: could the self-administration of 'CBD oil' be contributing to the observed tumour regression?" 14 October 2021, BMJ Case Reports.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday October 15, @10:51AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Photon-Phonon Breakthrough: A New Way To Combine Two Different States of Matter:

New research by a City College of New York team has uncovered a novel way to combine two different states of matter. For one of the first times, topological photons—light—has been combined with lattice vibrations, also known as phonons, to manipulate their propagation in a robust and controllable way.

The study utilized topological photonics, an emergent direction in photonics which leverages fundamental ideas of the mathematical field of topology about conserved quantities—topological invariants—that remain constant when altering parts of a geometric object under continuous deformations. One of the simplest examples of such invariants is number of holes, which, for instance, makes donut and mug equivalent from the topological point of view. The topological properties endow photons with helicity, when photons spin as they propagate, leading to unique and unexpected characteristics, such as robustness to defects and unidirectional propagation along interfaces between topologically distinct materials. Thanks to interactions with vibrations in crystals, these helical photons can then be used to channel infrared light along with vibrations.

The implications of this work are broad, in particular allowing researchers to advance Raman spectroscopy, which is used to determine vibrational modes of molecules. The research also holds promise for vibrational spectroscopy—also known as infrared spectroscopy—which measures the interaction of infrared radiation with matter through absorption, emission, or reflection. This can then be utilized to study and identify and characterize chemical substances.

Reference: "Topological phonon-polariton funneling in midinfrared metasurfaces" by S. Guddala, F. Komissarenko, S. Kiriushechkina, A. Vakulenko, M. Li, V. M. Menon, A. Alù and A. B. Khanikaev, 8 October 2021, Science.
DOI: 10.1126/science.abj5488

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday October 15, @08:09AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Rickroll Grad Prank Exposes Exterity IPTV Bug:

When Township High School District 214 in Illinois got rickrolled all at once across its six different schools just before graduation, it was more than a meticulously executed senior prank.

Cybersecurity star-in-the-making and recent high-school graduate Minh Duong found, and was able to exploit, a zero-day bug in the district's Exterity IPTV system. The goof was received in good humor by school administrators, luckily for Minh and his cohorts, and the bug was reported to Exterity.

But so far, the company hasn't responded to Minh's disclosure or said anything about possible mitigations, he said.

"If I don't end up hearing back from them in my next few attempts at contact, I will publish the exploit that I used," he told Threatpost. "CVE-2021-42109 has been reserved for the Exterity IPTV privesc vulnerabilities, with my blog post being listed as a reference."

"The Big Rick," as the prank was called, came off beautifully — hijacking every TV, projector and monitor on the district's IPTV system to play Rick Astley's classic video for "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Projectors and TVs across the Township district are all connected, and can be controlled through a blue box with three Exterity tools: The AvediaPlayer receiver, the AvediaStream encoder and the AvediaServer for management.

[...] So far, there's no indication that Threatpost could uncover that the bugs have been fixed by Exterity, which was recently acquired in April by IP video-tech company VITEC. Neither company responded to Threatpost's inquiries by press time.

I hacked and rickrolled my entire high school district (03:16).

Original Submission

posted by FatPhil on Friday October 15, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the but-I'm-still-on-2.0 dept.

Dear Friends and Software Freedom Lovers,

Devuan Developers are pleased to announce the release of Devuan Chimaera
4.0 as the project's newest stable release. This is the result of lots of
painstaking work by the team and extensive testing by the wider Devuan

What's new in Chimaera 4.0?

        * Based on Debian Bullseye (11.1) with Linux kernel 5.10.
        * Your choice of init: sysvinit, runit, and OpenRC.
        * Improved desktop support - virtually all desktop environments available
            in Debian are now part of Devuan, systemd-free.
        * New boot, display manager and desktop theming.
        * Enhanced accessibility: installation via GUI or console can now be
            accomplished via software or hardware speech synthesis, or using a
            refreshable braille display, and Devuan Chimaera has the ability to
            install desktop environments without PulseAudio, allowing speech
            synthesis in both console and GUI sessions at the same time.

"without PulseAudio", eh? Speculations on the reason for that are welcome, he asked them knowingly... -- Ed.

Original Submission

posted by FatPhil on Friday October 15, @02:48AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what's-this-privacy-concept? dept.

iPhone apps no better for privacy than Android, Oxford study finds:

"Overall, we find that neither platform is clearly better than the other for privacy across the dimensions we studied," say the academic paper entitled "Are iPhones Really Better for Privacy?" and presented by researchers from the University of Oxford.

If this sounds vaguely familiar, it may be because an Irish team earlier this year came to similar conclusions about the privacy of the Android and iOS core operating systems, apps notwithstanding. Meanwhile, an American researcher in 2020 found that the security of iOS apps was roughly equal to that of Android apps.

[...] The researchers analyzed the code, permissions and network traffic of 12,000 randomly selected free apps from each platform that had been updated or released in 2018 or later. Each app was run on a real device, either a first-generation iPhone SE running iOS 14.2 or a Google Nexus 5 running Android 7 Nougat.

They found that nearly all (89%) of the Android apps contained at least one tracking library, which was almost always Google Play Services. The numbers weren't much lower on iOS, where 79% of apps had at least one tracking library, most likely Apple's own SKADNetwork, which tracks which ads a user clicks on.

However, 62% of iOS apps also ran Google's AdMob ad tracking library, followed by 54% of iOS apps (and 58% of Android apps) running Google Firebase. Facebook trackers were in 28% of Android apps and 26% of iOS ones.

[...] Almost all tracking companies observed were based in the U.S. About 9.5% of iOS apps and 5% of Android ones used Chinese-based trackers; 7.5% of iOS apps and 2% of Android ones used Indian trackers.

Plenty more details in the article itself.

Journal Reference:
Konrad Kollnig, Anastasia Shuba, Reuben Binns, et al. Are iPhones Really Better for Privacy? Comparative Study of iOS and Android Apps, (DOI:

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday October 15, @12:05AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Analysis | China’s Power Crisis Will Affect Industries Worldwide:

A villain is emerging in China’s efforts to rein in its energy prices: inefficient, power-hungry industry.

With flooding in the coal hub of Shanxi province driving prices up to 1,508 yuan ($234) a metric ton even as the government tries to kickstart extra production, further measures are clearly needed to prevent more generators cutting off their turbines and causing blackouts through the cold of northern China’s winter. That means a crackdown on the factories that still consume the lion’s share of electricity.

Industry makes up only 25% of grid demand in the U.S., but in China it’s fully 59% of the total — more than all the country’s homes, offices and retail stores put together. Cheap power has been an essential tool of development, and the government has traditionally encouraged major users with electricity tariffs that get cheaper the more you consume. With about two-thirds of the grid powered by coal, the cost of digging up the black stuff has determined how much industrial users pay for their power.

The problem is that coal isn’t getting any cheaper. After a sustained period of deflation prior to 2016, when a glut of dangerous and unregulated mines was closed down, annualized costs jumped 40% in 2017. They didn’t really fall again until Covid-19 struck, and they’ve since rebounded with a 57% increase from 12 months ago in August.

Such increases might be tolerable if end-users were turning this power into high-value goods — but all too often, that’s not the case. China now consumes more electricity per capita than the U.K. and Italy, but comes nowhere close in terms of economic output. Determined to hit President Xi Jinping’s targets on peaking emissions by 2030 and hitting net zero by 2060, Beijing’s policy makers have fixed on so-called “dual high” sectors — those whose energy consumption and carbon emissions are both elevated — as the culprits. These are many of the industries that have grown fastest in recent decades, such as cement, steel, base metals, oil refining, chemicals, and glass. They collectively account for more than half of China’s emissions.

Original Submission