China Environmental News Alert
Posted January 23, 2014
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.
January 13 - 23, 2014
New York Times (January 20, 2014)
Filthy emissions from China’s export industries are carried across the Pacific Ocean and contribute to air pollution in the Western United States, according to a paper published Monday by a prominent American science journal. The research is the first to quantify how air pollution in the United States is affected by China’s production of goods for export and by global consumer demand for those goods, the study’s authors say. It was written by nine scholars based in three nations and was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which last year published a paper by other researchers that found a drop in life spans in northern China because of air pollution.
Pollution-reporting measures seen aiding battle against smog
China Daily (January 21, 2014)
China's air pollution data- reporting initiatives mark a "turning point" in the country's battle against choking smog and other environmental challenges, an official with the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) said.
Linda Greer, the director of the NRDC's health program, said the initiatives which took effect at the start of this year "have more potential than anything else the government has done because it will really enable local officials and concerned citizens to target their concerns and focus attention on the big problems."
Beijing, Shanghai step up rules to battle against pollution
Bloomberg (January 14, 2014)
China’s capital city and the nation’s financial hub are stepping up measures to curb pollution as the meteorological agency warned of hazardous smog levels for a fourth day.
In Beijing, companies, construction sites, street vendors and vehicle owners who exceed stipulated emission limits will face fines and other penalties, according to a draft plan released by the city government on Jan. 18. Shanghai will phase out 500 polluting, hazardous and energy-intensive facilities, the city’s Mayor Yang Xiong said yesterday.
Administration is seen as retreating on environment in talks on Pacific trade
New York Times (January 15, 2014)
he Obama administration is retreating from previous demands of strong international environmental protections in order to reach agreement on a sweeping Pacific trade deal that is a pillar of President Obama’s strategic shift to Asia, according to documents obtained by WikiLeaks, environmentalists and people close to the contentious trade talks.
The negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would be one of the world’s biggest trade agreements, have exposed deep rifts over environmental policy between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. As it stands now, the documents, viewed by The New York Times, show that the disputes could undo key global environmental protections.
China's pollution problem is also a food safety crisis
The Atlantic Cities (January 16, 2014)Tests recently conducted on rice sold in Hong Kong found that grain imports from mainland China contained excessive levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal that can cause cancer and other health problems. Cadmium can originate from the slurry of waste materials that leaches into the ground from open dumps. And for China, Hong Kong's rice is just one food crisis among many.
Beijing vows respect for farmers' rights as it pushes rural land reforms
South China Morning Post (January 19, 2014)
The central government pledged in a key policy document yesterday to respect farmers' rights while reaffirming its commitment to grain self-sufficiency and rural land reforms.
The broad policy statement was released as part of the so-called No 1 Central Document, which is issued jointly every January by the Communist Party's Central Committee and the State Council. The document sets priorities for the 12 months ahead and has focused on rural matters for 11 straight years.
China pollution: How it affects travelers
CNN (January 22, 2014)
The southern Chinese city of Suzhou has been eulogized by artists since the Tang Dynasty. The poet Bai Juyi wrote: "In front of storied buildings everywhere waft the melodies of flutes, And by the door of every house are moored ships and boats."
Today, Suzhou's classical gardens are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and its canal network, bisected by gorgeous stone bridges, has earned the nickname, "The Venice of the East." Yet when our small convoy of cyclists approached the city that so impressed Venetian traveler Marco Polo in the 12th century, there was little to wax lyrical about.
Beijing announces strict new curbs on heavy industry to combat smog
South China Morning Post (January 22, 2014)
Beijing has banned new heavily polluting industrial plants and expansions of existing ones in the first local clean air act on the mainland aimed at tackling smog.Violators of pollution discharge limits will also face stiffer penalties.
The city's regulation on air pollution prevention, which will take effect from March 1, states that tackling the tiny particulate pollutants that cause smog is at the centre of Beijing's clean-up campaign, according to the document posted on the municipal government's website.
China aims for food security as pollution destroys crop land
Bloomberg (January 21, 2014)
China must stick to a policy of “basic grain self-sufficiency.” While keeping imports at an “appropriate” level, it must “not relax domestic food production at any time,” decrees the first policy document of the year, issued on Jan. 19 by the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
Released every January, the zhongyang yihao wenjian, or “No. 1 Central Document” has for the last 11 years focused on China’s agricultural economy, a reflection of the importance the leadership puts upon China’s countryside and its rural population. Previous versions have emphasized everything from scientific and technological innovation and water conservancy to raising farmers’ incomes and agricultural modernization.
Can China solve its water-energy choke point? Wilson Center launches ‘China Environment Series 12’
Wilson Center (January 16, 2014)
Factories in China’s Pearl River Delta tick-tock around the clock, rapidly churning out gadgets from iPhones and Barbie dolls to forks and light bulbs, shipped off to village shops in Uganda and super Walmarts in America’s sprawling suburbs. But far from the global consumer’s view, manufacturing and rapid development are placing unrelenting pressure on China’s environment.
(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.