China Environmental News Alert
Posted October 18, 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.
October 12, 2012 – October 18, 2012
China Daily (October 18, 2012)
Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the Joint US-China Cooperation on Clean Energy, said that she often gets asked if China really wants to go green. “Of course China wants to go green,” she said. “But it’s for a different reason than America. The Americans are coming from a moral standpoint, but in China it’s more visceral, because we smell, we eat and we breathe pollution every day.”
Want China Times (October 18, 2012)
China's carbon trading market opened gradually between 2003 and 2005, after many enterprises began eying the potential of the market. The country's development institutions began equipping themselves with the required facilities that would meet the prerequisites laid down by the EU and the Kyoto Protocol. However, "the second commitment period" of the Kyoto Protocol has not been chalked out, despite an approaching expiration of the "first commitment period" in 2012. Many contracts are slated to end on Dec. 31. The global carbon trading market has declined since 2011, with the "first commitment period" coming to an end and on account of the aftermath of the Eurozone crisis.
Financial Times (October 18, 2012)
A senior Chinese energy official says the country’s solar panel industry is like “a patient on life support” that will have to undergo radical consolidation and cuts to emerge from the “crisis” of overcapacity. The dire assessment underscores how China, the world’s biggest producer of solar panels, has been hit as global demand has slowed and panel prices have fallen by 30 per cent over the past year. Solar companies worldwide have been closing their doors as they lose out on price wars with Chinese companies who are also struggling to stay afloat.
Xinhua (October 17, 2012)
China's power consumption growth slowed further in September as factory activity and industrial output posted weaker increases amid the economic downturn. The National Energy Administration (NEA) said Wednesday that China's total electricity consumption grew only 2.9 percent from a year earlier to 405.1 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh). The growth was 0.7 percentage point lower than August and 9.3 percentage points lower than September 2011, according to NEA data. The September data brought electricity consumption in the first nine months to 3.69 trillion kwh, up 4.8 percent year on year, further easing from the 5.1-percent growth seen in the first eight months, according to NEA data.
Circle of Blue (October 17, 2012)
Even as it grows bolder and wealthier, China is producing extraordinary stress on its air quality, water supply, land, public health, as well as its long-term economic strength. But, unlike Las Vegas, we found that what happens in China with the soaring economic demand and deluge of wastes does not stay in China. In 2010, the latest year for accurate figures, China accounted for 9.5 percent of global GDP. In order to fuel the economic engine — now the world’s second largest, behind the United States — China consumed 20 percent of the world’s energy, 51 percent of the iron ore, 47 percent of the steel, 54 percent of the cement, and 60 percent of global soybean exports.
Bloomberg (October 16, 2012)
When it comes to coal consumption, no other nation comes close to China. The country reigns as the world’s largest coal user, burning almost half of the global total each year. About 70 percent of China’s total energy consumption and nearly 80 percent of its electricity production come from coal, and its recent shift from being a historical net coal exporter to the world’s largest net coal importer took only three years. China’s great thirst for coal is undeniably troubling from a sustainable development standpoint. However, the situation may be changing. I recently joined three other experts to speak at a Congressional briefing entitled, “Why China Is Acting on Clean Energy: Successes, Challenges, and Implications for U.S. Policy.” While my fellow speakers spoke about the progress of clean energy development in China, I sought to explain how the growing constraints on coal development are acting as one factor pushing China to move more aggressively towards clean energy.
China Daily (October 16, 2012)
A nationwide survey examining China’s environmental protection industry was launched on Tuesday, said the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The survey aims to compile scientific data for the nation’s policymakers, and will cover the manufacture and operation of resource recycling and environmental friendly products in 2011. Services related to the environmental protection industry, including the operation of environmental protection facilities and the construction of environment-related projects, will also be included in the census.
China Daily (October 16, 2012)
More than 120 scientists and scholars from home and abroad discussed new tools and instruments for the observation and management of environment development during the two-day SCOPE-Zhongyu Environmental Forum on Oct 13-14 in Taiyuan, Shanxi province. Two scientists, Professor John Giesy from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and Professor John Freney from CSIRO Plant Industry in Australia, received the SCOPE-Zhongyu Lifetime Achievement Awards for their significant contributions and expertise for regional and global syntheses. Zhu Yongguan, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, received the SCOPE-Zhongyu Young Scientist Award at the opening ceremony of the forum for "his environmental arsenic research that opens up new directions for bioremediation technologies and mitigation."
Wall Street Journal (October 16, 2012)
A report by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection acknowledged safety concerns in China's fleet of nuclear reactors, including potential complications from the sheer variety of reactors in operation. The latest report, part of a broader effort by Beijing to evaluate safety in the country's nuclear-power industry, suggested the government is moving closer to restarting the approvals process for reactor expansion, which was suspended following Japan's Fukushima disaster last year. In addition, the report was the latest signal that Beijing is moving to embrace some of the world's most modern reactor technologies.
Business Insider (October 12, 2012)
Last January, China’s environmental authorities barely averted the contamination of nearly three million people’s drinking water after a mining company dumped cadmium – a toxic heavy metal used in the manufacture of batteries, paint, solder, and solar cells – into the Longjiang River.
To stop the contamination from spreading, the local fire department had to add significant quantities of dissolved aluminum chloride, which binds to cadmium and settles on the river bottom. The toxic sediment will eventually be dredged. Such threats to health and the environment are not uncommon in China. The water in as many as half of the country’s rivers and lakes is unfit for human consumption or contact. China has also gained a reputation for food and drug contamination (not to mention lead paint in toys and poisonous toothpaste).
(CENA prepared by Jack Marzulli)
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