China Environmental News Alert
Posted September 6, 2012
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.
August 31, 2012 – September 6, 2012
China Post (September 6, 2012)
The spiraling use of chemicals, especially in developing countries, is inflicting a rising bill by damaging people's health and the environment, according to a U.N. report issued on Wednesday. Formerly small-scale consumers and producers of chemicals, developing economies now represent the fastest-growing sector of this industry, importing or making compounds for manufacturing and agriculture. But many countries lack safeguards for handling chemicals safely or disposing of them properly, according to the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) report, entitled “Global Chemicals Outlook.” Estimates have found that in just one year, water pollution caused US$634 million in damage to commercial fisheries in China.
China Daily (September 5, 2012)
Foreign companies will enjoy new opportunities with the development of the recently announced seven strategic emerging industries, such as environmental protection and new-energy vehicles. According to a national development plan for strategic emerging industries during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), unveiled in July, the government wants the industries to generate 8 percent of GDP in 2015 and 15 percent by 2020. This is a marked rise from the 4 percent of GDP that they were responsible for in 2010. Plans for energy saving and environmental protection, high-end manufacturing, new materials and new-energy vehicles have been issued. Plans for new-generation information technology, biotechnology and new energy are being examined for approval by the State Council.
Wall Street Journal (September 4, 2012)
Morgan Stanley said its infrastructure arm has led a private-equity consortium in investing $300 million in hydropower operator Zhaoheng Hydropower, in what is the largest foreign investment in China's renewable-energy sector to date. Hydropower generates power from water sources, and like wind and solar power, is a clean energy source that doesn't require fossil fuels such as coal or gas. "Zhaoheng operates in China's fast-growing renewable energy sector where there is tremendous potential for growth," said James Chern, executive director of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners. "Our plan is to be a long-term investor and help Zhaoheng's capacity grow to one gigawatt in the next two years."
New York Times (September 4, 2012)
The municipal government of Guangzhou, a sprawling metropolis that is one of China’s biggest auto manufacturing centers, introduced license plate auctions and lotteries last week that will roughly halve the number of new cars on the streets. The crackdown by China’s third-largest city is the most restrictive in a series of moves by big Chinese cities that are putting quality-of-life issues ahead of short-term economic growth, something the central government has struggled to do on a national scale.
China Daily (September 4, 2012)
China is researching the foundation of a national carbon-trading market before linking with other countries' carbon trading schemes, said a top climate change official. The United States, Australia, Japan and the European Union are discussing the possibility of building a sub-regional or regional carbon market with China, said Xie Zhenhua, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission. "Our priority is getting our work done first, accumulating experience and then taking part in making the rules," Xie said at a low-carbon forum over the weekend.
Outside (September 4, 2012)
Car sales in China are a wee bit flat right now, but it’s still one of the world’s largest car markets. Congestion in cities is so bad that local governments have begun restricting how many people can drive each day. Despite that, the air quality and traffic remain untenable. Still, the China Environmental Protection Foundation’s campaign to get people out of their cars was an uphill battle at best. But its Green Pedestrian Crossing installation managed to drive the message home to pedestrians in a really innovative and tangible way. The group enlisted the talents of Jody Xiong, creative director at design agency DDB Group China, to try to get more Chinese citizens to opt for walking instead of driving.
Xinhua (September 3, 2012)
On August 29, the training course on climate change and climate information services in developing countries was opened in Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology. 38 participants from 21 developing countries participated in the training. Guan Zhaoyong, the Deputy Principal of NUIST expressed warm welcome and sincere greetings to members of all countries. He introduced the development of NUIST and the regional training center, and emphasized the importance of climate information services. Song Lianchun, the Director of Beijing Climate Center pointed out that extreme weather disasters occurred frequently in Asia and caused a large number of casualties and property loss. In China, economic losses caused by drought, floods, tropical cyclones, storm surges, heat waves and other natural disasters have reached 1% to 3% of GDP. The training courses will meet the needs for climate services in developing countries.
The National (September 3, 2012)
With a cityscape that is all cranes and thrusting new towerblocks, Tianjin Eco-city could at first glance be any of the hundreds of urban areas in China expanding at a breathless pace. But this joint Chinese-Singaporean project, which was started in 2008 and will be finished in 2020, aims to be something very different from the norm: a model for more sustainable development in a country urbanising at a pace unprecedented in history. "With rapid urbanisation, there will be new cities being built. When you're building new cities you start by going for principles of sustainability," says the project's chief executive, Ho Tong Yen, a Singaporean diplomat and government official. "Other cities [can] regard us as a standard and try to outdo us or match us ... What we're doing is not costly. If any developer wants to do this it can be done."
Xinhua (September 2, 2012)
Investment in the Chinese energy sector should be cautious as the country's energy consumption growth is likely to slow down, a Chinese energy expert warned on Saturday. Zhou Dadi, standing vice president of the China Energy Research Society(CERS), said it is unsustainable to boost the energy sector by expanding energy production capacity. "Energy consumption growth will inevitably slow to a reasonable pace," said Zhou in a news briefing, at which the CERS annual China Energy Development Report was released.
China Daily (September 1, 2012)
China's top legislature expanded on Friday the number and type of entities permitted to file class-action lawsuits, ending a heated debate on who has the right to defend the public interest by bringing litigation to court. Government agencies and related organizations are allowed to file class-action lawsuits, in which a group of people collectively bring a litigation concerning environmental pollution and unsafe food incidents to court to defend the public interest, the Amendment to the Civil Procedure Law states. The amendment marks a step forward from the draft proposed to lawmakers on Monday, which empowered only social groups and government agencies to file class actions.
(CENA prepared by Jack Marzulli)
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