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→
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.
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→
The recent spate of severe air pollution in China has shone a spotlight on the need for strong environmental regulation in China and prompted the government to move forward with a number of new environmental policies and laws – some...continued→
Chinese New Year -- the longest, most important and festive holiday in China -- began on February 10th. It is a week-long holiday in mainland China that includes family reunions, dinner feasts, and fireworks that last for two weeks straight....continued→
Beijing Central Business District Yesterday, China’s State Council set a timetable for adopting stricter diesel and gasoline fuel standards. The plan calls for issuing China V standards (capping sulfur content at 10 parts per million) for gasoline...continued→
While the air in Beijing and throughout much of China has been notoriously polluted in recent weeks, Hong Kong (where I currently live) does not fare much better. The poor air quality in Hong Kong has been a source of...continued→
On Friday, Senator John Kerry will become the new U.S. Secretary of State. In his confirmation hearing last week, Senator Kerry spoke of climate change and its link to U.S. domestic energy policy. Senator Kerry has been a champion in...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.