China Environmental News Alert
Posted November 22, 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.
November 15, 2012 – November 22, 2012
China Daily (November 22, 2012)
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has emphasized that China must establish an ecological civilization by incorporating it into the country's economic, political, cultural, and social advancement. This will further enrich the Scientific Outlook on Development and meet the intrinsic requirements for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, signifying that China's modernization transition has officially entered a new phase in its bid to build an all-round well-off society.
Xinhua (November 22, 2012)
China’s chief negotiator to the UN climate change talks said on Wednesday that the country opposes the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), a plan to tax non-EU international airlines for carbon emissions. However, he said the country is willing to seek a solution to carbon emissions reduction in the aviation industry through multilateral mechanisms.
NRDC Program Fellows Blog (November 22, 2012)
Environmental public interest litigation in China currently suffers from unclear legislation. That should change November 1, 2013 when Article 55 in the Civil Procedure Law comes into effect. The new amendment clearly allows for environmental civil suits, but many NGOs are still in the dark as to who will qualify as a “legally approved body or relevant organization.” Last week during the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV)’s Judges and Lawyers training, a few law professors and judges discussed the implications of Article 55. Specifically, they discussed three factors that could possibly affect an NGO’s right to file public interest lawsuits: resources, expertise and focus.
Reuters (November 21, 2012)
For China's new leadership, reversing the environmental destruction wreaked by three decades of unrestrained economic growth is among its highest priorities. Across the country, to the government's alarm, social unrest spurred by environmental complaints has become increasingly common. However, even with pledges from Party leadership to create a ‘Beautiful China,” polluters have leverage over local governments.
The Guardian (November 19, 2012)
More than 1,000 coal-fired power plants are being planned worldwide, new research has revealed. The huge planned expansion comes despite warnings from politicians, scientists and campaigners that the planet’s fast-rising carbon emissions must peak within a few years if runaway climate change is to be avoided and that fossil fuel assets risk becoming worthless if international action on global warming moves forward. The World Resources Institute identified 1,200 coal plants planned across 59 countries, with about three-quarters in China and India.
Global Times (November 19, 2012)
China on Monday sent the third satellite in its "Environment I" family into the sky, sharpening its abilities in environmental monitoring and disaster forecasting. The launch marks the completion of a plan initiated by China in 2003 to create a small environmental monitoring satellite constellation, according to north China's Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. The radar satellite will join the other two operating optical satellites "Environment I" satellites, which were launched in Sept. 2008, to form a network covering most of China's territory.
China Dialogue (November 19, 2012)
This was China’s second attempt to introduce a giant panda born through artificial insemination into the wild. Unlike last time, however, Taotao was born and raised in an environment designed to mimic his natural habitat. There are no precedents to follow ing this process, and the failure of the release of another panda, Xiang Xiang, five years ago has cast a shadow over the programme. But that disappointment spurred the researchers at the Wulong Panda Centre into even greater efforts to prepare Taotao for the wild.
China's leaders made it clear this week that they want to put an end to the growing number of environmental protests flaring up across the country. On Monday, environment minister Zhou Shengxian announced that future industrial projects must include a "social-risk assessment" before they can launch, a plan Zhou hopes will reduce "the number of emergencies and mass incidents." In other words, if you're a local official who has plans to build a new power plant in your town, you'll first have to predict how much it will piss off your citizens. Many China observers see Zhou's statement as a reaction to the increasingly large, frequent, and violent environmental protests staged by citizens ranging from upset farmers in rural villages to students and middle-class residents in major cities. Most recently, citizens in the coastal city Ningbo reportedly gathered by the thousands over three days to protest the expansion of a petrochemical plant that produces paraxylene, a toxic ingredient used to make polyester.
China Dialogue (November 15, 2012)
After years of neglect, the environment is gradually gaining more attention from China’s leaders. The most noticeable manifestation of this is in their vocabulary. Six months ago, Hu Jintao, speaking at the opening of a study session for provincial and ministry-level cadres, spoke at unusual length about the “ecological civilization,” a concept he first put forward in 2007. Most recently, he has said that, “the construction of an ecological civilization will be given a prominent place and included in all aspects and processes in economic, political, cultural and social development.” With this, Party rhetoric on environmental matters reached a new peak. And, if we look back at how the Communist Party has talked about environmental protection since 1949, we can see how much its stance has changed.
NRDC China Program Fellows Blog (November 14, 2012)
Predicting Chinese policy changes can be a bit like divining tea leaves. At a judges and lawyers training hosted by NRDC this past weekend, a prominent Chinese judge offered his thoughts on the future of Chinese environmental policy. The judge said the central government plans to provide concrete support for the implementation of the 12th five-year plan’s environmental policy. The evidence for this, however, is less concrete. As is often the case in China, subtle semantic changes can lead to large policy shifts.
(CENA prepared by John Kuo and 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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