China Environmental News Alert
Posted April 11, 2013
NRDC has been working in China for over fifteen years on such issues as energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy technologies, environmental law, and green supply chain issues. This China Environmental News Alert is a compilation of news from around the world on China and the environment.
March 28, 2013 – April 11, 2013
China Daily (April 11, 2013)
Recent water pollution scandals reflect poor supervision by local governments, an expert said in response to a case of river pollution in Yunnan province. Zheng Xiaoyun, assistant director of the Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences and president of the International Water History Association, spoke of the “milk river” case, a reference to the Xiaojing River in the Dongchuan district of Kunming, the Yunnan provincial capital. The river looks as it if has been tainted with milk due to the discharge of tailwater by mining companies.
China.org.cn (April 11, 2013)
Outdoor air pollution ranked fourth both in mortality and in the overall burden on health rates in China, where it contributed to 1.2 million deaths and 25 million healthy years of life lost in 2010, according to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report, presented at an international Workshop in Beijing on March 31. The report found that outdoor air pollution in the form of fine particles is a much more significant public health risk than previously known or assumed − contributing to an annual 3.2 million premature deaths worldwide and 76 million years of healthy life lost.
Environmental News Service (April 10, 2013)
To strengthen and coordinate efforts to improve air quality, California Governor Jerry Brown today signed the first agreement of its kind between a subnational entity and the Government of China. “Reducing pollution takes great political struggle,” said Governor Brown in a meeting with China’s Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian. “We know in America it’s not easy, so it won’t be easy in Beijing. But to the extent that we can help, we would like to help.” The two-year agreement establishes collaboration to enhance pollution control strategies for industrial sectors and the transportation sector. It encourages joint efforts to protect public health, promote clean and efficient energy, protect the environment and natural resources, and supports sustained economic growth.
Wall Street Journal (April 10, 2013)
China, the world’s second-largest consumer of oil, has signaled an end to the days of breakneck growth as it seeks to balance economic expansion with other issues including increasing environmental awareness. The scale of the latter ambition is laid bare by the Asian Development Bank, which warns that a huge rise in energy demand across Asia makes grim reading for efforts to control emissions. In China specifically, air pollution contributed to some 1.2 million premature deaths in 2012, the New York Times says. Some 70% of the country’s energy need is provided through burning coal. In an effort to reduce its need for coal and oil, China is pushing ahead with an astonishing 28 new nuclear plants. The head of CLP Group, one of Asia’s biggest utility players, tells Fortune that the country’s nuclear plans don’t just represent rhetoric.
The Guardian (April 9, 2013)
The extent of the split within the European solar industry over proposals for Brussels to impose tariffs on imported solar panels from China was laid bare yesterday, when it emerged that over 1,000 companies from across the industry have written to the European Commission warning import duties could have a grave impact on the industry. The European Commission recently launched an anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigation against Chinese solar manufacturers, after European solar manufacturers lodged a series of complaints alleging that Chinese rivals were benefitting from unfair subsidies. Speculation is now mounting that the EU could follow in the footsteps of the US and impose import tariffs on Chinese solar panels, while also pursuing a complaint to the World Trade Organisation about Chinese government subsidies.
Environmental News Service (April 9, 2013)
The World Bank has approved a grant to China of more than US$18 million to support the government’s efforts to ease traffic congestion and cut greenhouse gas emissions in large cities. Private car ownership and usage are rapidly increasing in China, plunging many large Chinese cities deep into clouds of polluted air and greenhouse gas emissions, made worse by growing traffic congestion. The grant from the Global Environment Facility’s Large City Congestion and Carbon Reduction Project aims to help China address these issues by establishing a policy framework to reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions in these large cities.
China Dialogue (April 2, 2013)
Expectations for the government’s environmental policies are high following the change in leadership. At his debut press conference, Li Keqiang, China’s newly appointed premier, promised to tackle China’s pollution crisis with “an iron fist, firm resolution and tough measures”.
Business Insider (March (March 31, 2013)
The unhealthy smog that settled over Beijing earlier this year, capturing international media attention, is not the only visible sign of China's rapid economic growth and the resulting environmental hazards. Countless rivers and lakes have also been contaminated by nearby factories, and sometimes, dumping by local residents. This March, more than 2,000 dead pigs were found floating in a Shanghai river, a main water source for the city's 23 million residents. Polluted water sources have been linked to a rise in "cancer villages," or areas where cancer rates are high among people who live along tainted waterways.
New York Times (March 29, 2013)
The cost of environmental degradation in China was about $230 billion in 2010, or 3.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — three times that in 2004, in local currency terms, an official Chinese news report said this week. The statistic came from a study by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, which is part of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The figure of $230 billion, or 1.54 trillion renminbi, is based on costs arising from pollution and damage to the ecosystem, the price that China is paying for its rapid industrialization.
Global Times (March 29, 2013)
Officials who perform incompetently in environmental protection will be disciplined, Beijing's municipal Party secretary said Thursday morning. Guo Jinlong, secretary of the Beijing Committee of the Communist Party of China, said at a press conference Thursday that the government will include environment protection as an index to assess officials' performance, according to the Beijing Evening News. "We should build sound systems for environmental protection. Those officials who perform poorly and passively in their job will be held accountable," said Guo during the conference. Hou Jianmei, media officer with the Beijing government, told the Global Times he cannot provide further details about the punishment system.
(CENA prepared by Jack Marzulli)
* The links and article summaries in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Greenlaw has officially moved to a new home! All Greenlaw.org.cn content can now be found in the blog section of NRDC China Program's newly launched website: www.nrdc.cn.