China Environmental News Alert
Posted January 17, 2013
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.
January 11, 2013 – January 17, 2013
Xinhua (January 17, 2013)
More than half of Liaodong Bay in east China’s Bohai Sea is covered by floating ice, the National Marine Forecasting Station reported on Wednesday. The station warned the thick floating ice might crash into offshore platforms or shipping vessels, disrupting fishery, aquaculture and shipping operations.
South China Morning Post (January 17, 2013)
The proposed beach at Lung Mei, incinerator at Shek Kwu Chau, expansion of the Tseung Kwan O landfill into Clear Water Bay Country Park and a potential third runway at the airport in Hong Kong have all provoked strong reactions from environmental groups and sectors of the public concerned about their impact on wildlife and the environment. This is despite some of these projects having undergone environmental impact assessments, which have been accepted by the Environmental Protection Department. Advocates for new infrastructure, housing and the like mutter that the green groups are anti-development whiners.
Xinhua (January 16, 2013)
Seawater warning levels in 300 coastal areas in China will be re-verified by the end of 2014, according to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) on Wednesday. Levels for more than one-third of coastal areas were re-verified last year, the SOA said. The seawater warning level refers to the level of coastal water that warns of potential tide disasters when met or exceeded.
China Daily (January 16, 2013)
Companies were urged to release more information on pollutant discharge than the legal minimum required, to meet growing public demand for transparency. The call, by an environmental official, was made as Tianjin launched a pilot project that encourages industrial companies to voluntarily release environmental data and map out the transfer of pollutants for the public to track.
Xinhua (January 16, 2013)
A set of draft standards will impose limits on the amount of particulate matter that light vehicles are allowed to emit, the latest effort by the Chinese government to curb air pollution. The regulation, titled “Limits and Measuremet Methods for Emissions from Light-Duty Vehicles,” was released Wednesday to solicit public opinion.
Reuters (January 16, 2013)
The annual global investment in forests, wetlands and other ecosystems that help keep human water supplies clean jumped by a third over four years to more than $8 billion, with China accounting for about 90 percent of that, according to a report released on Wednesday. China accounted for more than $7.46 billion of spending in 2011 on natural water protection, known as watershed payments, according to Forest Trends' Ecosystem Marketplace, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental advocacy group. U.S. investment that year was $360.5 million.
Beijing residents, state media fed up with persistent smog and government inaction Washington Post (January 15, 2013)
It takes a lot to faze residents of a city as smoggy as Beijing. But after four straight days of air so hazardous it has defied government charts and labels, the disbelief and outrage are palpable. Government vehicles have been pulled off the roads, production slowed at thousands of factories and children told to stay indoors. On Monday, even China’s state-run media — which usually avoid criticizing the government on such topics — ran reports and editorials acknowledging the problem and demanding solutions.
Global Times (January 15, 2013)
China stands at a crossroad in economic and social development. On the one hand, China is now the second largest economy in the world and has enjoyed rapid economic development over the last 30 years. At the same time, it is increasingly obvious that the current economic growth model may not be sustained in the long term - not only in China, but around the world - as it causes immense environmental and social disturbances. The Chinese government is fully aware of these problems and it has been investing large sums into infrastructure, environmental protection and green energy. Yet, challenges brought by rapid urbanization, population growth and resource scarcity remain severe.
The Globe and Mail (January 14, 2013)
On Saturday night, you’d have sworn Beijing’s streets were the middle of Mordor. Already renowned for its extraordinary bouts with pollution, Beijing’s air hit a new low – or, rather, a high – on the air-quality index scale this weekend, soaring to 755, or 886 micrograms per square metre. The U.S. Embassy puts out hourly readings of PM 2.5, the smallest and most dangerous particulate matter, on Twitter; the scale normally tops out at 500, a level they call hazardous. As Beijing prepares to unveil its 2012 GDP growth later this week, the pollution is a reminder that a country cannot become the world’s second-largest economy in just 30 years of global participation without some serious side effects.
New York Times (January 12, 2013)
One Friday more than two years ago, an air-quality monitoring device atop the United States Embassy in Beijing recorded data so horrifying that someone in the embassy called the level of pollution “Crazy Bad” in an infamous Twitter post. That day the Air Quality Index, which uses standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, had crept above 500, which was supposed to be the top of the scale. So what phrase is appropriate to describe Saturday’s jaw-dropping reading of 755 at 8 p.m., when all of Beijing looked like an airport smokers’ lounge?
(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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