China Environmental News Alert
Posted October 11, 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.
October 4 - 11, 2013
Wall Street Journal (October 7, 2013)
Tourists from across China swarmed into the capital of Beijing for the week-long National Day holiday that ends Monday, peaking with 1.1 million visitors on Thursday alone. But as the holiday headed into the weekend, a phenomenon familiar to all Beijingers cast a pall over the festivities.
“My nose and throat are protesting due to the heavy pollution over the past two days,”said one Weibo user who traveled in Beijing. “People who dare to travel to Beijing must be from the death squad.”
Bloomberg (October 7, 2013)
This weekend, the Ladies Professional Golf Association demonstrated its willingness to sacrifice player safety for its own long-term financial health.
The occasion was the conclusion of the Reignwood LPGA Classic -- the LPGA’s first tournament in China. The importance of this event for the association’s desired future in China’s rapidly expanding golf market cannot be underestimated. At the top of the leader board going into Sunday’s final round was Guangzhou-born Shanshan Feng. As the LPGA website announced, “This week is all about .... Shanshan Feng.”
Unfortunately for the LPGA, this week has also been all about air pollution.
China's capital to replace some coal-fired heating plants
Reuters (October 5, 2013)
China will replace four coal-burning heating plants in the capital Beijing with natural gas fired ones by the end of next year as it steps up efforts to clean up pollution, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday
Mainland China joins global effort to phase out industrial uses of mercury
South China Morning Post (October 9, 2013)
Efforts by mainland hospitals to phase out instruments that use mercury - such as thermometers - reveal the severity of China's problem with the toxic metal, the scale of which remains sketchy even to experts.
Several hospitals in Beijing and Hebei province are replacing mercury-based thermometers and blood-pressure devices, and the mainland has agreed to phase out all such products by 2020. This was a target agreed in an international treaty to be signed next month in Japan, said Wang Wei , from the Beijing Global Village Environmental Education Centre.
Sean Gallagher's 'Meltdown' Photos Show China's Environment in Crisis
Wall Street Journal (October 7, 2013)
British photographer Sean Gallagher spent the past seven years casting the spotlight on China's environmental crises. Here, a man walks over rocks near to a glacial lake that has formed at the base of the Dagu Glacier on the southeast edge of the Tibetan Plateau. The glacier has been reducing in size in recent years, as a resulting of rising temperatures in the region.
Killer hornets are wreaking havoc in China
The Atlantic (September 27, 2013)
A plague of hornets, each the size of a human thumb, have descended on Shaanxi province this summer—at least 28 have been stung to death, while another 419 have been injured, according to a local news report from China Radio Network (CRN), via the New York Times’ Chris Buckley. The death toll from hornet attacks in Ankang city is more than twice the annual average between 2002 and 2005, say the Ankang police, as the Guardian reports. A local doctor said hospitalizations due to hornet attacks have risen steadily over the years.
China's disappearing rivers: is climate change to blame?
The Atlantic Cities (September 24, 2013)
China's recently published "water census" shows that as many as 28,000 rivers have vanished from the country since the 1990s. It's a trend, the report suggests, that's likely to continue. But the causes of this problem are a little murkier. The "census" offers no reason for the disappearance of so many water sources.
In some places, like Minqin, where the Shiyang River has run dry, Beijing insists that climate change is to blame. Residents disagree. The government built a sizable upstream reservoir nearby two decades ago to irrigate a large farm. That cut off the water supply for residents.
Chinese gas plants come with environmental ramifications, study finds
Duke Chronicle (October 3, 2013)
China has become a global leader in building synthetic natural gas plants, but according to a recent Duke study this investment comes with serious environmental costs.
Chinese policymakers have approved construction for nine synthetic natural gas plants and proposed the creation of 40 more. The study found, however, that the nine approved plants will consume over 200 million tonnes of water annually, which could lead to water shortages in the plants’ areas. SNG plants also leave a large environmental footprint, with synthetic natural gas plants producing seven times more greenhouse gas emissions that conventional natural gas plants
Ma Jun: China needs to do its bit to combat climate change
The Guardian (October 7, 2013)
The same day that the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that human activity is the dominant cause of climate change, a cloud of grey smog shrouded the view from the window of the office of Ma Jun, one of China's most well-known environmentalists and director of the Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs (IPE).
It's a murky reminder of China's position as the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases and the impact its rapid economic growth has had on its environment.
Germany, China among signatories to UN treaty to cut mercury
Bloomberg (October 10, 2013)
Germany, China and Japan are among at least 110 nations that signed a United Nations treaty to curb emissions of man-made mercury.
The Minamata Convention adopted at a conference in Japan would outlaw new mercury mines and reduce industrial use of the metal, the German Environment Ministry said today in an e-mailed statement. The treaty will enter into force if at least 50 signatories ratify the agreement, the ministry said.
“The Minamata Convention will protect people and improve standards of living for millions around the world, especially the most vulnerable,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in an address read to the conference according to a UN statement e-mailed today.
(CENA prepared by Jack Maher)
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