China Environmental News Alert
Posted April 26, 2014
Chinese Legislature Adopts Revised Environmental Protection Law
Xinhua (April 24, 2014)
The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, on Thursday voted to adopt revisions to the Environmental Protection Law. With 70 articles compared with 47 in the original law, the revised Environmental Protection Law, the first change to the legislation in 25 years, sets environmental protection as the country's basic policy. The new law says that economic and social development should be coordinated with environmental protection and encourages studies on the impact environmental quality causes on public health, urging prevention and control of pollution-related diseases. It says that the country should establish and improve an environment and health monitoring, survey and risk assessment mechanism. The revised law will go into effect from Jan. 1, 2015
China Says More Than Half Of Its Groundwater Is Polluted
The Guardian (April 23, 2014)
Nearly 60% of China’s underground water is polluted, state media has reported, underscoring the severity of the country’s environmental woes. The country’s land and resources ministry found that among 4,778 testing spots in 203 cities, 44% had “relatively poor” underground water quality; the groundwater in another 15.7% tested as “very poor”. Water quality improved year-on-year at 647 spots, and worsened in 754 spots, the ministry said. “According to China's underground water standards, water of relatively poor quality can only be used for drinking after proper treatment. Water of very poor quality cannot be used as source of drinking water,” said an article in the official newswire Xinhua,
China To Meet 2015 Environmental Targets?
Reuters (April 23, 2014)
China is now back on track to meet a series of mandatory targets to cut pollution and improve energy efficiency by 2015, after falling behind expectations due to strong economic growth over 2011-12, a state planning agency official said on Wednesday. China has promised to tackle the severe pollution of its air, water and soil, but it admitted late last year that it was struggling to meet its energy and pollution targets for the 12th five-year plan period ending in 2015. "Central and local government authorities are now adopting tougher measures and have also developed more effective incentive mechanisms, putting China back on course to achieve its targets, said Xu Lin, director of the planning office at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). [Progress table in timetable]
PetroChina To Increase Shale Gas Spending
The Guardian (April 18, 2014)
Chinese state energy group PetroChina plans to spend more than 10bn yuan (£950m) on shale gas fracking this year as domestic competition heats up after rival Sinopec announced a commercial find. PetroChina's decision to triple its shale gas spending comes months after Sinopec lifted hopes that China is near a breakthrough by announcing a commercial find. PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas producer, has also lifted its 2015 shale gas output target to 2.6bn cubic metres (bcm), up from the previous 1.5 bcm, according to a company official and a government source. That would represent only about 2.3% of China's total natural gas output of around 113 bcm last year. "PetroChina wants to play catch up after Sinopec's success," said a government source who has been briefed on PetroChina's plans. PetroChina will focus on two pilot zones – Weiyuan-Changning in southwest Sichuan basin and Zhaotong in Yunnan province.
China's Carbon Traders Flock To Hubei Carbon Market
Reuters (April 21, 2014)
Expectations for a surge in carbon permit prices in China's newest emissions market of Hubei have sent speculative traders scrambling to make a profit, driving up trading volumes far in excess of the country's other markets. Just two weeks after its launch, the emissions market in the central province of Hubei has attracted far more investors than any of its rival emissions schemes. That highlights the chance it could emerge as the most liquid carbon market in the world's biggest-emitting nation, aided by low pricing of permits and an absence of capital thresholds for participants. In the first 12 trading days after the Hubei carbon market opened on April 2, 1.6 million permits changed hands, compared to a total of just 66,000 permits sold on China's five other pilot carbon markets in the same period. Hubei's current market price does not necessarily reflect the cost for companies to comply with the scheme, said Peng Feng, an official with traders Climate Bridge. This is because it is as yet unclear by how much companies would need to reduce emissions, while daily price movements are driven by speculative traders, rather than compliance buyers seriously hedging positions.
China Carbon Cash Revenue Slows To Trickle As UN Credit Dries Up
Reuters (April 23, 2014)
Revenues for China's biggest sellers of U.N.-issued carbon credits shrunk last year to a tenth of 2012 values, choking off billions of dollars flowing to clean energy projects in the world's top carbon-emitter. China will now have less money to put into a stepped-up campaign to cut greenhouse gas emissions, clean its air and raise the share of fossil-free energy in its total mix to 15 percent by the end of the decade, from a current 8 percent. The carbon offsets generated in China had offered lucrative low-cost compliance options for emitters when European Union allowances traded at above $25. But after the financial crisis a slowdown in EU industry caused emission levels to drop, creating a huge oversupply of tradable carbon permits. Many Chinese project developers now hope that the country's emerging domestic emissions market can generate new funds. But demand would depend on the government's willingness to impose strict emission caps on its biggest polluters, and whether other buyers emerge needing carbon offsets.
China Imposes Stiff Penalties for Rare Animal Consumption
The Guardian (April 25, 2014)
China's top legislative body passed a new "interpretation" of the country's criminal law on Thursday that will allow authorities to jail people who knowingly eat products made from rare wild animals. Prison sentences for the offence range from under three years to more than a decade, the state newswire Xinhua reported. Beijing classifies 420 species as rare or endangered, including giant pandas, golden monkeys, Asian black bears and pangolins – scaly, slow-moving anteaters which curl into balls to avoid their predators. While China already promises harsh fines and jail sentences for people who catch, kill, traffic, buy and sell the animals, it has until now remained unclear on the potential consequences for eating them.
Chinese Food Companies Open Up Supply Chain to Smart-phone Users
Chinadialogue (April 15, 2014)
Han Jia-Hwan is schooled in the ways of WeChat. But the 58-year-old chairman of China’s largest chicken meat processor, Dachan Food (Asia), isn’t interested in using the popular messaging app to chat. He has a grander scheme. It starts with a simple swipe of a smart phone. Dachan, which slaughters 180 million chickens every year, plans to show customers its entire supply chain by assigning each product a QR code, a complex pattern that can be scanned by the messaging app. “By scanning the code, customers can immediately see in WeChat which farm produced the chicken, how it was fed and who processed it,” Han said. “We control every step and now we are letting everyone see it.” Dachan is not the only food company laying bare its production process. As anxiety grows in China over environmental degradation and its potential impacts on the food chain, big Chinese companies are using similar schemes to prove the safety of their products.
(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.