China Environmental News Alert
Posted August 14, 2013 in Greening China
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.
August 9 - 15, 2013
The Sydney Morning Herald (August 12, 2013)
China plans to accelerate investment in technology to save energy and tackle the dire pollution blamed for a series of health crises that have generated widespread public anger. ...The country's cabinet, the State Council, said on Sunday that environmental protection would be elevated to a "pillar industry" that would receive government support in the form of tax breaks and subsidies.China is already investing 2.3 trillion yuan ($410 billion) in energy savings and emissions reduction in the five years through 2015, state media have said. The State Council said the new plan would ensure the environmental protection industry grows by 15 per cent annually, generating turnover of 4.5 trillion yuan ($810 billion) by 2015.
The Economist (August 10, 2013)
All industrial nations one day hit an environmental turning-point, an event that dramatises to the population the ecological consequences of growth. ... The fetid smog that settled on Beijing in January 2013 could join the ranks of these game-changing environmental disruptions. ... The “airpocalypse” injected a new urgency into local debate about the environment—and produced a green-policy frenzy a few months later. In three weeks from the middle of June, the government unveiled a series of reforms to restrict air pollution. It started the country’s first carbon market, made prosecuting environmental crimes easier and made local officials more accountable for air-quality problems in their areas. It also said China—meaning companies as well as government—would spend $275 billion over the next five years cleaning up the air. Even by Chinese standards that is serious money, equivalent to Hong Kong’s GDP or twice the size of the annual defence budget. Is this China’s turning-point? Many environmentalists, both in the country and outside, fear it is too little, too late.
The Guardian (August 10, 2013)
The future of the world's most famous mountain range could be endangered by a vast dam-building project, as a risky regional race for water resources takes place in Asia. New academic research shows that India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan are engaged in a huge "water grab" in the Himalayas, as they seek new sources of electricity to power their economies. Taken together, the countries have plans for more than 400 hydro dams which, if built, could together provide more than 160,000MW of electricity – three times more than the UK uses. In addition, China has plans for around 100 dams to generate a similar amount of power from major rivers rising in Tibet. A further 60 or more dams are being planned for the Mekong river which also rises in Tibet and flows south through south-east Asia. Most of the Himalayan rivers have been relatively untouched by dams near their sources. Now the two great Asian powers, India and China, are rushing to harness them as they cut through some of the world's deepest valleys. ...The result, over the next 20 years, "could be that the Himalayas become the most dammed region in the world", said Ed Grumbine, visiting international scientist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Kunming.
经济参考报 (August 12, 2013)
Wall Street Journal (August 11, 2013)
Tieling, China— When this small city in northeastern China launched a plan to build a satellite city 6 miles down the road, it got off to a promising start. Urban planners spent millions of yuan to clean up surrounding marshland that had become a dumping ground for the city's untreated sewage. A pristine environment, they hoped, would help attract the businesses that would raise incomes and swell the population. Four years later, Tieling New City is virtually a ghost town. Tieling symbolizes the enormous challenges Chinese Premier Li Keqiang faces as he touts urbanization—a process analysts expect will see 250 million people move from rural areas to cities over 20 years—as the force that will ensure his country's economy keeps growing well into the future.
China Daily (August 13, 2013)
As China accelerates the pace of its urbanization, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation unveiled its Smart City program on Tuesday with the first nine selected pilot cities. "The first nine cities are expected to finish Smart City construction within about three years and it will gradually expand to the whole country," said Li Weisen, deputy director of the administration.The nine cities are Taiyuan in Shanxi, Guangzhou in Guangdong, Xuzhou and Wuxi in Jiangsu, Linyi and Zibo in Shandong, Zhengzhou in Henan, Chongqing, and Huhan in Hubei. Every pilot city will invest more than 36 million yuan ($5.8 million) in the program each year. The Smart City program aims to create an innovation network, optimizing the use of technology in the design and operation of infrastructure and buildings in a way that meets the city's current and future demands.
New York Times (August 9, 2013)
With more than a million people in China dying prematurely each year from breathing its dirty air, and with warming temperatures portending rising sea levels and disruptions to food production, the centrally planned Communist country is experimenting with a capitalist approach to address the problem: it is creating incentives so that the market — and not the government — will force reductions in emissions. ...China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has begun its effort in the southern city of Shenzhen, paving the way for a national Chinese market in a few years. ...Under the Shenzhen program, the government will set limits on carbon dioxide discharges for 635 industrial companies and 197 public buildings that together account for about 40 percent of the city’s emissions. Polluters whose emissions fall below the limit can sell the difference in the form of pollution allowances to other polluters. These companies must decide whether it is cheaper to reduce emissions or pollute above their limit by buying allowances, whose price will be set by supply and demand. Six more regional pilot programs are planned over the next year.
Forbes (August 13, 2013)
Chinese data points usually skew upwards, at least in absolute numbers. More cars, more factories, more houses (whether needed or not). Not so in tourism: the number of foreigners coming to China took a sudden fall in the first half of 2013. The Associated Press reports that overall arrivals dropped by 5% to just under 13 million in the year to June 30. This figure includes tourists, residents and business travellers; China, the third largest destination for travellers after France and the U.S., saw a drop in arrivals from all regions. What happened to drive away the masses? Try eye-stinging air pollution in January that sent particle monitors at the U.S. embassy in Beijing into ‘crazy-bad’ territory for weeks on end, a spectacle captured and relayed by Chinese and Western media to a world that recognises a gross-out when it sees it.
Kyodo News International (August 10, 2013)
Toyota Motor Corp. and Tsinghua University have started conducting joint research on air pollution, officials involved in the project said Saturday. ...Under the project, Toyota, known for its hybrid technology, is providing data related to exhaust emissions and other information on automotive technology to the Beijing-based university, the officials said. Based on the data provided by the Japanese automaker, Tsinghua is trying to find out the generating mechanism of PM 2.5 and the main cause of air pollution in China.
Reuters (August 14, 2013)
Chad has suspended all activities of a China National Petroleum Corporation subsidiary for violations of environmental standards while drilling for crude oil in the south of the country. Chad’s oil minister Djerassem Le Bemadjiel told state radio late on Tuesday that a decision had been taken to indefinitely suspend CNPC's operations after a visit at the Koudalwa field about 200 km (124 miles) south of the capital. “We found flagrant violations of environmental standards by the company ... CNPC's behavior was unacceptable,” said Le Bemadjiel. “Not only do they not have facilities to clean spilled crude, there were also intentional spillages in order reduce costs,” the minister said.
(CENA prepared by Michelle Ker)
* 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.
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