China Environmental News Alert
Posted April 30, 2012 in Greening China
NRDC has been working in China for over fifteen years on such issues as energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy technologies, environmental governance and public participation, and green supply chain issues. This China Environmental News Alert is a weekly compilation of news from around the world on China and the environment.
The Financial Times (April 27, 2012)
China has issued its biggest fine for oil spill pollution, asking for $269 million from ConocoPhillips and Cnooc in compensation for environmental damage caused by oil seepage from their well in the Bohai Bay. Lax environmental standards in the world’s second-largest economy have left China with chronic pollution and the Bohai Bay spill last summer was the first time Chinese authorities had publicly tackled an oil spill from an offshore well in Chinese waters. China’s State Oceanic Administration said on Friday that “significant progress” had been made in oil spill compensation. The agency added that money from the fines would be used for purposes including ecological construction, environmental protection, restoring damaged marine life and monitoring the impact of the oil spill in Bohai Bay.
Bloomberg (April 27, 2012)
China is beginning to approve emission credits after a seven-month freeze, stoking speculation a glut that’s contributed to an unprecedented decline in European carbon prices will keep growing. The world’s second-biggest economy this month began issuing letters approving credits in the three years starting 2013, according to Tricorona, a unit of Barclays. The Project Developer Forum, a lobby group whose members have received credits worth about 3.7 billion euros ($4.9 billion), said China, which doesn’t publish carbon-governance rules, halted the approvals in August last year. The resumption of Chinese credits is the latest blow to prices in the 92 billion-euro market set up by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which imposed greenhouse-gas targets on most developed nations through 2012. European carbon fell to a record this year amid a surge in the supply of credits, cutting costs for companies from such as the oil company Royal Dutch Shell that are required to buy them to protect the climate.
People’s Daily (April 28, 2012)
Three UN groups have hailed Xinhua News Agency's efforts in initiating a joint media campaign aimed at promoting environmental awareness. "The campaign will have a huge influence in the world and arouse the public's awareness of the environment. It also reflects Xinhua's strong support for the world cause of sustainable development and the Rio+20 summit," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) China office wrote in a letter to Xinhua on Wednesday. The UNEP hailed Xinhua's international influence as a major international agency and also called for future partnership with Xinhua.
Xinhua (April 26, 2012)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was pushing hard for closer Sino-Swedish cooperation on sustainable development as he mentioned this several times during his two-day official visit to Sweden that ended Wednesday. Sweden excels in modern manufacturing and high technologies, while China has taken sustainable development as a national strategy in its effort to accelerate economic structural adjustment and build an information-driven country, Wen told ministers attending an international forum on sustainable development on Wednesday before wrapping up his visit.
The Jakarta Post (April 27, 2012)
China will help Thailand develop an efficient management plan for the Chao Phraya River basin.The assistance will be provided under an agreement signed with China during Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's visit to the country earlier this month.
Chinese Water Resources Vice-Minister Jiao Yong disclosed the information on Thursday as his team began a trip to Thailand. He and five other Chinese officials will stay in Thailand until Sunday as guests of Thailand's Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk said China had modern water-resource management laws and an efficient water system.
China Daily (April 28, 2012)
Chinese fisheries authorities have taken emergency measures to protect finless porpoises after the deaths of more than 20 of the endangered species were reported earlier this month. Authorities in Dongting and Poyang lakes linked to the Yangtze River have launched campaigns to reduce human impact on the lives of the porpoises, which are native to, and only found in, the Yangtze River Basin. Since the beginning of this year, more than 20 finless porpoises have been found dead in the Yangtze River and the two lakes. Initial autopsies showed that most of them died of starvation, and experts warned that human activities, such as shipping, sand gathering, illegal fishing and water pollution are all possible causes for their deaths.
The Sacremento Bee (April 27, 2012)
Chinese drivers purchased about 2.1 million SUVs last year, according to LMC Automotive, a figure that's expected to double by 2014. That would put China neck-and-neck with the U.S., the world's top SUV market, despite steep import duties and luxury taxes that can drive prices for some models well above $100,000. "The luxury buyers cannot get enough," said Michael Dunne, the Indonesia-based head of auto consulting firm Dunne & Co. "It's ironic. Ten years ago, no one wanted to touch an SUV in China. They were considered construction or farming vehicles. They were associated with labor or hard work." Now, demand is surging.
China Daily (April 28, 2012)
Sino-Russian cooperation in the energy sector will expand beyond the traditional oil and gas arena as economic ties between the two countries continue to grow closer, industry experts said. Russia sold 2.31 million tons of crude oil to China in March, a year-on-year increase of 47.8 percent. Russia became China's third-biggest source of crude oil after the country slashed crude oil purchases from Iran by more than 50 percent year-on-year. Russia exported a total of 7.17 million tons of crude oil worth $2.06 billion to China in the first three months of this year, an 81.4-percent increase from the same period last year.
Reuters (April 28, 2012)
Shenhua Energy, the country's largest coal producer, posted a 6 percent rise in quarterly profit, boosted by higher sales volumes in the world's second-largest economy. Shenhua said on Friday first-quarter net profit rose to 11.74 billion yuan ($1.86 billion), compared with a restated 11.09 billion in the 2011 period. Some analysts say the outlook for Shenhua and smaller peers Yanzhou Coal Mining and China Coal Energy is overshadowed by a slowing economy, government price controls and rising mining costs. Shenhua said its commercial coal production rose 12 percent in the first quarter to 79.1 million tonnes, accounting for 27 percent of its annual operating target. Sales volume increased 16 percent to 108 million tonnes, accounting for 26 percent of its 2012 target.
Solar investors react badly to Chinese manufacturing numbers
PV Magazine (April 27, 2012)
Solar stocks have lost most of their gains in 2012 due to weak manufacturing data and growing concerns about the health of the Chinese economy. Shares of the American company First Solar also dropped after the company was downgraded to “sell” by Maxim Group LLC. Manufacturing in China has contracted for the sixth consecutive month, according to HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics, despite China Purchasing Managers Index reaching a two-month high of 49.1.
(CENA prepared by Christopher Page)
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