China Environmental News Alert- May 25, 2014
Posted May 25, 2014
Each week NRDC China provides a quick, but comprehensive overview of China's Top environmental stories
May 17 - 25, 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.
China, Russia sign USD$400 billion natural gas deal
The Washington Post (May 21, 2014)
China signed a huge, long-awaited deal on Wednesday to buy Russian natural gas, giving Beijing a new source of clean energy and Moscow a diplomatic boost as it faces international sanctions for its aggressive actions in Ukraine. With the stroke of a pen, Russia significantly shifted its economic relations with its neighbors, creating a major new export market to the east and reducing its reliance on European customers at a time when its relations with the West are at their lowest point since the Cold War. The 30-year deal was announced after meetings in Shanghai between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is worth an estimated $400 billion, Alexei Miller, chief executive of the Russian energy giant Gazprom, told Russian reporters. The deal marked a new partnership between two countries that have at times mistrusted each other but have also sought to counter U.S. influence in global affairs.
China inaugurates first environmental court
China Daily (May 23, 2014)
A special court for environmental cases was opened on Friday in East China's Fujian province. It is the country's first such specialized judiciary organ. The court affiliated to the Fujian Provincial Higher People's Court has recruited 12 environmental, agricultural, marine and mineral experts as technical consultants. Entrusted by the court, the consultants can appear in court as litigation assistants to provide technical consultation and interpretation. Wang Chengquan, deputy chief justice of the high court, said Fujian was approved as China's first "ecological civilization demonstration zone" in April to explore and pilot judicial protection of the environment.
China glaciers shrink 15 percent in warming
Phys.org (May 21, 2014)
China's glaciers have shrunk by thousands of square kilometres over the past 30 years as a result of climate change, state-run media reported Wednesday. The Qinghai-Tibet plateau in western China has seen its glaciers shrink by 15 percent, or 8,000 square kilometres (3,089 square miles), the official Xinhua news agency cited the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) as saying. Glacier melt in the region, which includes the Chinese portion of the Himalayas, has accelerated since the 1990s, the report cited researchers as saying, the latest sign of the impact of climate change in the region. The report cited CAS researcher Kang Shichang as saying that "more and bigger cracks" have appeared in ice on Mount Everest, a sign of "rapidly melting glaciers".
China policymakers test radical cuts to carbon emissions
Responding to Climate Change (May 22, 2014)
Britain developed its own “2050 Pathways” calculator in 2010, to allow academics and policymakers to test the potential for radical national carbon cuts in the wake of the UK’s ambitious Climate Change Act. The country has now helped China develop its own version, in collaboration with the Energy Research Institute (ERI). ERI is based within and provides advice to the country’s powerful energy policymaking body, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The “China 2050 Pathways” tool is based on unpublished national energy and industrial data. “The data for this calculator is from the institute and many experts give us their suggestions,” said Zhang Bo the developer of the pathway, at the “China 2050 Pathways Development Group”, in a brief email correspondence with RTCC.
China finds it's hard to trade global warming pollution
Scientific American (May 23, 2014)
China has made progress in its carbon trading pilot programs but still has a long way to go, government officials and industry players believe.Up to now, the pilot emissions trading schemes have been providing an experimental test bed for Chinese companies to learn what carbon trading is and how to get involved, industry players said. Chen Haiou, president of Shenzhen's China Emissions Exchange, shared her experience."After Shenzhen carbon market made its first deal last June, we had more than one month without any trading," Chen told attendees last week at the forum. "We were wondering where hundreds of regulated emitters went." The finding surprised her. Chen said despite years of preparations, many regulated emitters still couldn't understand carbon trading; some even hung certification of their allocated allowances on the office wall because they thought it was an honor from the local government, signed by the Shenzhen mayor.
China's food security, 2.0 and beyond
Forbes (May 21, 2014)
There was a time when overseas acquisitions by Chinese food companies were known more for debacles than success. China Bright Food, the state-owned food group based in Shanghai, used to be known for a string of failed matrimonies – with Australian sugar maker CSR , UK’s United Biscuits, and most publicly French yoghurt maker Yoplait – between 2010 and 2011. Even when a Chinese acquisition was consummated, as it did when privately-owned Shanghai Pengxin Group bought sixteen New Zealand farms, local backlash and legal challenges ensued for years. Today, the storyline has pivoted. Acquiring food producers all over the world – or, as the Chinese media quipped in one case, “borrowing foreign chicken to lay golden eggs” – is now a regular occurrence. The global reach of China’s acquisitions is expanding with a better track record.
Chad suspends China's CNPC unit over environmental violations
Reuters (May 22, 2014)
Chad has suspended all exploration and drilling activities of the local unit of China National Petroleum Corporation for failing to take measures to meet environmental standards in its operations, its oil minister said on Thursday. "Despite a first suspension imposed on the company in August 2013, unacceptable practices such as land-filling polluted sites without cleaning them, has continued," oil minister Djerassem Le Bemadjiel said in a statement. He said CNPC has been notified of the suspension of its activities across Chad until further notice. No CNPC official was immediately available to comment. Chad suspended CNPC's activities in August, accusing it of intentionally spilling crude during drilling operations to reduce cost, and not taking adequate clean-up steps.
China's Sinopec and Weatherford in oil services joint venture with focus on shale
Reuters (March 21, 2014)
Sinopec Group said it is forming a joint venture oilfield services company with U.S.-listed Weatherford International, a move that may give the Chinese state energy firm the lead in tapping the nation's potentially vast shale resources. The joint entity, likely the largest of its kind in China, aims to marry Weatherford's technological and management know-how with the Chinese oil major's ability to expand its upstream business, including in the country's nascent shale gas sector, industry officials have said.
(CENA prepared by Jeffrey Wong)
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