On Thursday, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, approved major amendments to the country’s Environmental Protection Law (EPL), the first since the law was enacted 25 years ago. These amendments are a game changer....continued→
Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney and Asia Director, Beijing
Came to NRDC in 1981 and spent five years suing the Department of Energy to clean up the radioactive and toxic waste from 50 years of nuclear weapons production. Then married a US diplomat and moved to Moscow, where our first son was born the day that Chernobyl blew up. Frightened by the potential impacts of radioactive exposure on my infant son, I signed up for a meeting with a group of experts brought from Washington by the US Embassy – only to find that they were the same “experts” I had spent years debunking in various lawsuits. My personal and professional lives have been intertwined ever since.
When we moved to Beijing in 1990, I was entranced to find that China was just awakening to the idea that sustainable development was in its own self-interest. Through the UN Development Programme, I was asked to help China develop the world’s first blueprint for sustainable development in the 21st century. I also met with representatives from 70 different Chinese government agencies and NGOs to figure out what they needed to achieve this goal. But all along, I kept thinking about NRDC and how much it had to offer China, particularly in the area of clean energy and energy efficiency. When I returned to NRDC in 1995, I started our China Clean Energy Project (now China Program) and haven’t looked back since. Now we have an office in Beijing and a staff of nearly two dozen people working on issues ranging from industrial efficiency, green buildings and smart growth to open information and environmental health.
In his recent trip to China, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with government leaders in Beijing and came away with concrete steps that the world’s two largest greenhouse gas emitters can take together to address climate change. Both...continued→
The reaction of China's official media to the new IPCC climate change report is unequivocal: "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. The evidence for this has...continued→
As China prepares to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional time for viewing the harvest moon, the government has announced a new plan that may make it easier to see the moon through the smog. On Thursday, the State Council,...continued→
How do you get to be the most energy efficient economy in the world? That’s the subject of the new ACEEE International Scorecard Self-Scoring Tool, an analytic tool that helps users develop a high-level snapshot of the overall energy efficiency...continued→
The Skyscraper Museum got it right. Its 2009 exhibit, “Vertical Cities: Hong Kong and New York,” called these two cities – one my current home, one my hometown - the world’s “most similar skyscraper societies.” Top: The view...continued→
The new Joint-U.S. China Statement on Climate Change, signed during Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to China on April 13th, is extraordinarily symbolic because it recognizes that forceful cooperation and intensified action by the United States and China -...continued→
The new Joint U.S.-China Statement on Climate Change, signed during Secretary of State John Kerry’s trip to China last week, is a remarkable document. Using the strongest possible diplomatic language, the statement clearly displays a new sense of urgency about...continued→
I was delighted to see that California Governor Jerry Brown has made climate change and environmental protection a key focus of his visit to China this week. In addition to discussing with China's Premier Li Keqiang the importance of collaboration...continued→
Photo ©Gary Braasch Last fall, a startling new report revealed that air pollution caused an estimated 3.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2010. Now, thanks to a new analysis by our friends at the Health Effects Institute (HEI), we...continued→
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a gathering in China before. Nearly one hundred people - including city, provincial and central government officials, business leaders and NGO representatives - met in Beijing yesterday to discuss their efforts to promote...continued→
I was trying to clean the coal dust from the windows of my dingy Beijing apartment one day in March 1992 when the phone rang with astonishing news. Nearly one-third of the delegates to the National People’s Congress had just...continued→
Hazardous air pollution not only continues to plague much of China, but is now also stifling Hong Kong, the vibrant city whose Chinese name means “Fragrant Harbour.” Here is the view of Hong Kong that greeted me this weekend. It’s...continued→
Leaders of the Chinese government gathered in Beijing yesterday for the National People’s Congress, an annual meeting in which the top legislative body discusses and votes on major issues and legislation. During this year’s NPC, several new members of China’s...continued→
Improving Beijing's Air Quality: Recommendations for Strengthening Beijing's Draft Air Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations
Beijing residents continue to struggle with choking levels of hazardous air pollution, compounded by a sandstorm, causing the government to urge people to stay indoors and take steps to protect themselves. A new study published on Wednesday found that PM...continued→
Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.