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Greenlaw from NRDC China’s Blog

China Environmental News Alert

Greenlaw from NRDC China

Posted April 5, 2014 in Greening China

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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 29th - April 5th, 2014

China To Close Nearly 2,000 Small Coal Mines In 2014
Chicago Tribune (April 4, 2014)
 China will close 1,725 small-scale mines with a total capacity of 117.48 million tonnes in 2014 as part of its programme to phase out low-quality coal production, its energy administration said on Friday.  Beijing hopes to close old and depleting mines in the east and consolidate output in a series of "coal energy bases" in remote parts of the country, including the vast northwestern regions of Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.  The National Energy Administration said in a notice posted on its website (www.nea.gov.cn) that local governments must also encourage mergers and technological upgrades in a fragmented coal sector long plagued by poor safety standards.  They will be obliged to disclose the details of their pit closure program to the public in order to improve enforcement.

Production Starts At China's First Deep-Water Natural Gas Well
Wall Street Journal (March 31, 2014)
China's first deep-water natural gas field has started producing gas, marking a milestone in China's efforts both to exploit energy reserves deep under the South China Sea and to increase use of the cleaner-burning fuel.  The US$6.5 billion Liwan-3 project, operated and 49% owned by Canada-listed Husky Energy Inc., is in undisputed Chinese waters about 325 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong. Beijing wants to increase gas use to around 10% of China's energy mix by 2020 from less than 5% now as part of a push to wean the country off coal, which supplies around two-thirds of its fuel and produces huge amounts of pollution and greenhouse gases.

China's New Wager: Pulling Energy From The Oceans
Wall Street Journal (March 31, 2014)
With 11,000 miles of coastline rich with energy potential and pollution that is getting worse, China is seen by many experts as an ideal location to pioneer and commercialize ocean-energy technologies.  Among the projects under study with Chinese backing: the dynamic tidal-power wall, with turbines using curved blades that are designed to allow eels and fish to pass through safely. If approved, the wall could supply as much electricity as 2½ large nuclear reactors—and cost as much as $30 billion. The project involves building a wall running perpendicular from the coast and then branching off into a T, extending around 20 miles and studded with turbines that would channel and concentrate the power of tidal water. Beijing provided $3.3 million for feasibility studies that are under way in China. Construction is at least a decade away, though initial findings suggest that shallow waters on the Chinese, Korean and European coasts could be suitable.

China Considers More Electric Car Subsidies
Bloomberg (April 3, 2014)
China may exempt electric-car buyers from paying purchase taxes as part of expanded state measures to bolster sales of such vehicles after past incentives failed to spur demand, Vice Premier Ma Kai said.  The government may cut or waive the 10 percent auto-purchase tax for new-energy vehicles -- China’s term for electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles -- and slow down the reduction of government subsidies beyond 2015, according to comments from Vice Premier Ma Kai posted on the Chinaev.org website. Ma also urged local governments to help companies develop electric-car rental services.  Other measures under study include using proceeds from emissions surcharges toward financing electric vehicles, and continuing to pay public-transportation companies fuel subsidies even after they switch to hybrid buses, Ma said.

Shanghai Stock Exchange Mulls Carbon Index
BusinessGreen (March 31, 2014)
The Shanghai Stock Exchange is reportedly considering plans to launch a new index ranking listed companies based on their carbon emissions intensity.  According to Reuters' reports, the stock exchange has asked China Securities Regulatory Commission to impose mandatory carbon reporting rules on listed companies that would allow it to benchmark its nearly 1,000 listed firms based on how much carbon they emit each year per unit of revenue.  In a report to the securities regulator, the exchange said companies were not willing to voluntarily release data and called for emissions reports to be made mandatory.

Hubei Province Launch's Carbon Trading Program
Reuters (April 2, 2014)
China's Hubei province formally launched its carbon market on Wednesday, imposing caps on greenhouse gas emissions from 140 major energy and industrial emitters.Hubei, home of 58 million people and a GDP equal to that of Austria, became the sixth region in China to introduce a market to halt rapid growth in carbon emissions, blamed by scientists for causing climate change.  It is the second-largest carbon trading scheme after Guangdong Province.  The permits traded at 21 yuan ($3.38) each, the lowest in all six Chinese markets.

China Petrochemical Plant May Be Halted After Protest
The Guardian (April 1, 2014)
Following protests that resulted in clashes between demonstrators and police, officials in a city in southern China have said plans for a controversial petrochemical plant will not go ahead if the majority of the city's residents object.  More than a thousand people took to the streets on Sunday in Maoming in Guangdong province in protest at plans for a paraxylene (PX) project which the Hong Kong based newspaper, the South China Morning Post said would be jointly run by the local government and Chinese state oil company Sinopec. It is the latest in a rising number of protests in China over large-scale industrial plants.  Photos circulating on the Chinese social media platform, Weibo showed protesters holding banners marching through the streets of the city and lines of riot police. There were reports that the protests ended in violent clashes.

Beijing's Water To Be Most Expensive in China
ENCS (April 4, 2014)
Beijing has launched two plans for its water rate reform, both of which will make its residents suffer the highest water rates in China, according to the 21st Century Business Herald.  The two plans, released on Wednesday, will charge tiered rates for household water consumption and set the bottom-tiered rate at 4.95 yuan and 5 yuan per ton.  No matter which plan is adopted, water rates in Beijing will exceed Tianjin's 4.9 yuan per ton.  Lack of water resources and the cost of South-to-North Water Diversion project are the two main reasons leading Beijing water rates to be the most expensive.

(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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