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Greenlaw from NRDC China’s Blog

China Environmental News Alert

Greenlaw from NRDC China

Posted March 8, 2014

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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 1 - 8, 2014

China Declares "War on Pollution," Says Premier
Reuters (March 4, 2014)
China is to "declare war" on pollution, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday at the opening of the annual meeting of parliament, with the government unveiling detailed measures to tackle what has become a hot-button social issue.  "We will resolutely declare war against pollution as we declared war against poverty," Li told the almost 3,000 delegates to the country's largely rubber-stamp legislature in a wide-ranging address carried live on state television.  Curbing pollution has become a key part of efforts to upgrade the economy, shift the focus away from heavy industry and tackle the perennial problem of overcapacity, with Li describing smog as "nature's red-light warning against inefficient and blind development".

China Needs Industry to Enlist in "War on Pollution"
Wall Street Journal (March 6, 2014)
China's newly declared "war on pollution" includes measures designed to curb smog and speed up industrial reform, particularly for the country's massive state enterprises.  The question now is whether those influential companies will water down the measures, as they have previous attempts at environmental controls.  The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning agency, unveiled an annual target for reducing nitrogen-oxide emissions, which mainly come from power producers, cement and steel factories and motor vehicles. The commission also plans to overhaul resource taxes on coal that will make the fuel more costly, and introduce a tiered pricing model for electricity that will make power more expensive for big users such as cement and aluminum companies.

CNPC Considers Private Investors Amid Changes to State Companies
Business Week (March 5, 2014)
China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, will seek outside investors for its oil and gas exploration and refining businesses as the nation opens up state companies.  Six sectors including oil and gas reserves, unconventional oil and gas exploration, pipelines, refining, overseas businesses and financial units have been chosen for possible equity partnerships with private investors, the China Securities Journal reported today, citing Zhou Jiping, chairman of the state-owned company. The board hasn’t decided on the shareholding structure of such partnerships, Zhou said.  The move is the latest sign that China’s energy companies are seeking to add outside investors. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386), known as Sinopec, said last month it would seek private investors for as much as 30 percent of its oil retail unit, which includes more than 30,000 fuel stations.

China To Cut Energy Intensity By Over 3.9 Percent in 2014
ECNS/Xinhua (March 5, 2014)
China aims to cut energy intensity by more than 3.9 percent this year to strengthen energy conservation and emissions reduction, according to a government work report.  The emissions of sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand will both be reduced by 2 percent this year, says the report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday at the annual session of the National People's Congress.  Energy intensity was cut by 3.7 percent, and emissions of sulfur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand decreased by 3.5 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively in 2013, according to the report.  The government will continue to raise the proportion of electricity generated by non-fossil fuel, develop smart grids and promote balanced distribution of energy resources, encourage the development of wind and solar power, and start construction of a number of hydropower and nuclear power projects, says the report.

China Could Meet 2015 Shale Gas Target On Sinopec, CNPC Efforts
Platts (March 3, 2014)
China is targeting shale gas output of 6.5 billion cubic meters/year by 2015 and 60 billion-100 billion cu m/year (5.8-9.7 Bcf/day) by 2020 under its official plans.  Analysts had earlier criticized these targets as unrealistic given the huge challenges facing operators in China's nascent shale gas sector.  Sinopec, or China Petroleum and Chemical Corp., said Monday it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the municipal government of Chongqing to work on exploration, development and construction of transmission and distribution infrastructure.  The pact was signed Saturday and included an agreement on the Fuling project, located in the Sichuan Basin in Chongqing in southwest China.  Sinopec is planning to produce 5 billion cu m/year of shale gas from the project by 2015, after raising its target last year from an original 1 billion cu m/year by 2015. CNPC's listed subsidiary PetroChina had said in August 2013 that it expects to produce 1.5 billion cu m/year of shale gas by 2015, out of total unconventional gas output of 27.8 billion cu m/year.

China Issues First Wastewater Standards for Leather Sector
JustStyles (March 4, 2014)
China's first water pollution standard targeting the leather and fur processing industry came into force this weekend (1 March) and could push many small manufacturers out of business.  Released by China's ministry of environmental protection, the standard, GB30486-2013, aims to cut annual industry-related wastewater emissions to 138m tonnes from the current 160m tonnes per year, for instance, which would require significant investment.  A ministry note said that this standard could be impossible to attain for 45% of manufacturers in an industry whose annual production is below 50,000 pieces of cow leather (45 square feet per piece) - and they may have to quit the sector.  Indeed, the standard will also require manufacturers to reduce demand for chemical oxygen to about 30,000 tonnes from 40,400 tonnes; for ammonia nitrogen to 7,300 tonnes from 16,000 tonnes; and trivalent chromium to 6.72 tonnes, a sharp fall from the current 1,280 tonnes, according to a ministry note.  It said to achieve the goal, the industry needs to invest about CNY2bn (US$325.01m) to upgrade facilities and employ new technologies, including high chrome exhaustion systems for tanning; using cryogenically frozen leather; and employing hydrolytic acidification-sequencing batch reactor (SBR) processes to treat wastewater.

Beijing Capital Purchases New Zealand Waste Manager
Reuters (March 4, 2014).
New Zealand's biggest waste management firm from Australia's Transpacific Industries Group Ltd for almost $800 million, enabling the Chinese state-owned company to acquire technology that could help combat chronic pollution in the capital and beyond.  Demand for waste management is growing in China as the government launches a raft of measures to tackle environmental degradation, which has become a politically sensitive issue.  Transpacific's New Zealand waste business specialises in environmentally friendly landfill methods, odour management and hazardous waste handling.

 (CENA prepared by Jeffrey Wong)

*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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