China Environmental News Alert
Posted September 27, 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.
September 21, 2012 – September 27, 2012
Global Times (September 27, 2012)
A draft law that will help determine the future of the environment in China has been slammed by experts and environmental campaigners, with some even saying the law looks like it has been written by polluting companies. China's top legislators are about to amend the Environmental Protection Law for the first time in two decades. Critics say there are many important aspects missing from the law, and that it prioritizes economic development over the environment. Perhaps even more crucially, the draft law lacks measures that would allow litigation to be launched when the environmental interests of the public, rather than private individuals, are infringed upon.
Xinhua (September 27, 2012)
Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon," returned to its Shanghai base on Thursday after wrapping up the country's fifth Arctic expedition with a landmark trip. The icebreaker, with a 119-member team aboard, completed an unprecedented round trip between the Pacific and the Atlantic via the Arctic route, making it the first Chinese vessel to have undertaken a high-latitude voyage across the Arctic Ocean, according to a statement from the Polar Research Institute of China. During the three-month voyage, the icebreaker traveled 18,500 nautical miles, including 5,370 nautical miles in the Arctic ice zone. The statement said the expedition team has successfully performed various scientific research tasks. The researchers conducted a systematic geophysical survey, installed an automatic meteorological station, as well as launched investigations on oceanic turbulence and methane content in the Arctic area.
China Daily (September 27, 2012)
China pledged to boost its cleaner production technologies in the next decade, as a major effort to control its growing energy consumption and pollution emissions during the production process, officials said. More advanced technologies on saving energy, water and land should be put into use for industrial production, Liu Pingjun, vice-minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, said on Sept 26. Speaking at a forum in Beijing on low-carbon industry and quality development, Liu said industrial enterprises must adopt energy-efficient, low-emission equipment to work toward China's ambitious target on energy conservation and emissions reduction.
Mail and Guardian (September 26, 2012)
The tide is changing. In a huge move for the global effort to reduce carbon emissions, China has announced that it is starting its own emissions trading system. And it is doing so with the help of the EU, with the long-term aim of the two carbon markets working together. This means that the world’s largest overall emitter of carbon emissions will be doing its all to develop in a more sustainable manner. By linking emissions to a market, Chinese industry will have a monetary incentive to reduce emissions. And for companies that do not meet their targets, this means they can buy credits and pour money into the developing world.
Reuters (September 26, 2012)
China's Sinopec Group, the parent of Sinopec Corp, has ordered the closure of three plants, including two refineries in the southern province of Guangdong, for environmental checks, the company said in a statement. The two refineries are Sinopec Guangzhou Petrochemical Corp and Sinopec Dongxing refinery, with a combined crude processing capacity of 370,000 barrels per day (bpd). Sinopec announced the order late on Wednesday after Chinese state television reported the plants, which also includes a small petrochemical plant, had environmental problems. Sinopec did not specify the problems at the plants or the length of the shutdown.
Xinhua (September 26, 2012)
Eleven Chinese central government departments have started using domestic, new energy automobiles as their official business vehicles, according to the Government Offices Administration of the State Council. The 23 electric vehicles, provided by Shenzhen-based BYD and Hefei-based JAC Motors, will undergo a one-year trial in 11 government departments, including the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Culture and the National Development and Reform Commission, according to a statement released Wednesday by the administration.
China Daily (September 25, 2012)
Local government growth programs are causing increasing concern over their environmental impact, officials from central government agencies warned. In a bid to boost GDP, provincial and municipal governments have recently rolled out at least 17 trillion yuan ($2.7 trillion) in stimulus programs, including giving the green light to environmentally damaging operations, economists warned. Li Zuojun, an economist at the Institute of Resources and Environmental Policies with the State Council Development Research Center, said he was worried that achievements in energy saving and emission cuts in the more developed eastern provinces may be overshadowed by the building of heavily polluting industries in inland areas.
Sydney Morning Herald (September 25, 2012)
Major developing countries have dampened prospects for agreement on international carbon emissions reduction targets by insisting on distinguishing between the responsibilities of industrialized and emerging economies to act on climate change beyond 2020. At a meeting in Durban, South Africa, last December, ministers agreed to negotiate a deal, for implementation from 2020, in which all countries participated, boosting prospects for agreement on medium-term climate targets. Those UN-backed negotiations are the world's main multilateral process for agreeing carbon cuts and can help guide choices in global energy consumption and ambition in emissions markets. So far they have fallen short.
Plastic News (September 25, 2012)
Face-to-face with officials from the Ministry of Environmental Protection, China's plastic recyclers reported their view of the current conditions of the industry and their take of the draft policy of "Imported Waste Plastics Environmental Protection Regulation" at a meeting organized by the recently founded China Scrap Plastics Association Co (CSPA). CSPA Secretary General Jason Wang pointed out six major issues facing China’s plastics recycling industry: pollution and negative public perception, reselling of import licenses, trading of imported waste plastics, “industry turmoil and survival,” high compliance costs and low penalties for illegal activities, and the absence of a large-scale and high-technology model.
The Guardian Blog (September 21, 2012)
Government officials have been in Beijing this week with their Chinese counterparts for an "unprecedented" collaboration on energy. On the table was new nuclear power, and its role in moving the UK to a low-carbon economy. So far, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has been relentlessly optimistic about new nuclear, and hopes that its electricity market reform plans for a draft energy bill will do the trick, despite strong and sustained criticism from a parliamentary select committee on energy, and more recently a House of Lords working group who conclude that the reforms are "unworkable". But Decc is still loyal to the nuclear project and hopes the financial support implied in these market reforms will attract foreign investment.
(CENA prepared by Jack Marzulli)
* 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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