China Environmental News Alert
Posted September 6, 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.
August 30 - September 6, 2013
Wall Street Journal (September 3, 2013)
Faced with often catastrophic air pollution, Beijing is considering taking a page out of London’s playbook: a congestion fee for car owners.
A notice published on the Beijing government website (in Chinese) late Monday said the city is mulling a policy to impose a congestion fee for cars as it aims to keep less than 6 million vehicles licensed by the end of 2017, from about 5.35 million now.
ChinaFile (August 29, 2013)
Beijing’s annual water consumption has reached 3.6 billion cubic meters, according to statistics released by the Beijing Water Authority, far more than the 2.1 billion cubic meters locally available.
The per capita annual water availability is now around 120 cubic meters, well below the United Nations absolute water scarcity threshold, and puts China’s capital city in a position of more severe water scarcity than some countries in the arid Middle-East.
The Atlantic Cities (September 3, 2013)
The air quality in Beijing has grown so bad that it's begun to produce its own catch-22s. All that smog is starting to keep tourists away, but tourism is just the kind of less energy-intensive industry that China needs to develop. The city is hoping to ramp up its public bike-share system, in an effort to shift a majority of trips through the city center onto public transportation. But who would want to ride a bike in this atmosphere?
China’s State Oceanic Administration was sued for misconduct in allowing ConocoPhilips to resume operations in Bohai Bay after a 2011 oil spill, the state-run Global Times reported, citing a lawyer for the plaintiff.
National Geographic (September 5, 2013)
I have spent the past seven years traveling across China, documenting some of the most pressing crises affecting the world’s most populous nation. I’ve climbed glaciers, ridden across deserts, crawled through wetlands, and walked through sandstorms, all in an effort to try to understand the complex environmental issues facing China in the early 21st Century.
Along my travels, I have also met countless experts who have helped me to better understand the state of China’s ecosystems.Here I present five common misconceptions people often have about environmental issues in China.
Wall Street Journal (September 3, 2013)
China’s fierce public debate on genetically modified food, long a political hot potato in a country obsessed with how to feed its 1.3 billion citizens, has become the subject of a spat between big guns from two of its most powerful governing institutions.
The Atlantic (September 5, 2013)
It’s a rare “blue sky” day in Beijing. The city is bathed in a beautiful late-afternoon light—the kind that makes people rush outside just to enjoy it. But rather than bask in the weather, a small group of expats and Chinese locals have instead chosen to hole themselves up in a café.
With screwdrivers in hand, the group hacks away at cheap blue plastic fans. A moment later, they strap onto the fans’ standard issue HEPA filters, gauze-like panels that are as white as bridal veils. In less than five minutes—and for less than $30—they’ve managed to construct an air purifier that the instructor of this DIY workshop claims is just as effective as professional models selling for thousands of dollars.
New York Times (August 31, 2013)
Jiang Kejun may be one of the few Beijing residents who see a ray of hope in the smog engulfing the city. A researcher in a state energy institute, he is an outspoken advocate of swiftly cutting China’s greenhouse gas output, and he says public anger about noxious air has jolted the government, which long dismissed pollution as the necessary price of prosperity.
New York Times (September 4, 2013)
Thousands of dead fish floating along a 19-mile stretch of a river in Hubei Province in central China were killed by pollutants emitted by a local chemical plant, provincial environmental officials said Wednesday.
Environmental protection officials said tests on water taken from the Fu River upstream from the metropolis of Wuhan revealed that extremely high levels of ammonia in the water were caused by pollution from a plant owned by the Hubei Shuanghuan Science and Technology Company.
Quartz (September 5, 2013)
A new note from Citigroup attacks “one of the most unassailable assumptions in global energy”—the forecast that China’s coal consumption will grow wantonly over the next two decades. By extension, it challenges apocalyptic climate change forecasts.
Science Blog (September 4, 2013)
The brown, smog-filled skies that engulf Beijing have earned China a poor reputation for environmental stewardship. But despite China’s dirty skies, a study led by Stanford environmental scientists has found that a government-run clean water program is providing substantial benefit to millions of people in the nation’s capital.
(CENA prepared by Jack Maher)
* 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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