China Environmental News Alert
Posted January 24, 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 18, 2013 – January 24, 2013
Xinhua (January 24, 2012)
Beijing is planning to implement a harsher emission standard for motor vehicles starting next month in an effort to curb the city’s air pollution, municipal environmental authorities said Wednesday. The new Beijing V emission standard, which could be as strict as the Euro V emission standard used in Europe, will be adopted as of Feb. 1, said Fang Li, spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection bureau. The standard will be applied to new cars on the auto market and motor vehicles that have yet to receive license plates, Fang said, adding that vehicles currently in use will not be influenced by the new regulation.
China Daily (January 24, 2012)
The anticipated government action to clean up the air quality in cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, has triggered a rush for shares in companies that specialize in pollution-control equipment and technology. Chen Fangming, a Shanghai-based private equity fund manager, said shares in the environmental protection sub-index of China’s A-share market have risen more than 8 percent in the past two weeks, as investors anticipate government investment in the green sector to be “very large indeed.”
New York Times (January 24, 2012)
The crazy meowing from a truck crashed on a highway outside Changsha, in central China, told rescuers this was no ordinary cargo; inside, over 1,000 cats and kittens were crammed into bamboo cages, headed for restaurant tables in the southern city of Guangzhou, Chinese media reported. Some cats were badly injured in the nighttime accident two Sundays ago. Some were dying of thirst. Some were giving birth. Some were adopted by animal lovers who rushed to the scene, alerted by text message, telephone or microblog posts, said participants. In all, about 200 cats died; about a dozen are still in animal hospitals in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, according to local media reports.
Xinhua (January 23, 2012)
China’s Sky Solar Holdings, a solar-energy developer, plan to invest 1.36 billion U.S. dollars in Chile, the firm announced Tuesday. Sky Solar director for Latin America Chen Hong detailed his company’s planned operations in Chile at a forum hosted by Chile’s Foreign Investment Committee (CIE). Chinese ambassador Yang Wanming said Chinese companies are interested in investing in infrastructure and energy in Chile and called for greater cooperation between the two countries in green energy and innovation.
China Daily (January 23, 2012)
In Ningxiang county of Changsha city, central China’s Hunan Province, many hills have been carved away by local factories. The site is among many scattered in mountainous areas of the county. The high profit margin – 50 percent – has spurred a rampant exploitation of sand resources from the local mountains, resulting in serious soil and water erosion. Many unauthorized sand extraction plants have emerged in recent years, along with officially approved plants, forming a prosperous sand industry in the county. The severe deterioration of the environment has prompted many locals to call for a crackdown on the exploitation.
The Wall Street Journal (January 22, 2013)
China's government is facing stiff resistance from sprawling state-owned corporations and local interests in its bid to combat air pollution, in an early test for the nation's new leaders following some of the worst air-quality days in recent memory. A consequence of decades of breakneck growth, China's deep environmental problems are now seen as a potential obstacle to strong economic development, with concerns ranging from air pollution and water use to increasing consumption of fossil fuels. China's environmental degradation will be one of the topics at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, as part of a broader conversation on reform needed to keep the world's No. 2 economy humming.
The Guardian (January 22, 2013)
China and Australia top a global list of planned oil, gas and coal projects that will act as "carbon bombs" and push the planet towards catastrophic climate change, a Greenpeace report warned on Tuesday. The Point of No Return study, by consultancy firm Ecofys for Greenpeace, calculated that the 14 giant fossil fuel projects would produce 6.3 gigatonnes of CO2 a year in 2020 – as much as the entire United States emits annually. The largest contributors will be China's five north-western provinces, which aim to increase coal production by 620m tonnes by 2015, generating an additional 1.4bn tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.
The Guardian (January 22, 2012)
Record-breaking pollution in Beijing and other environmental problems in China are the result of unchecked government power, one of the country's former top environment officials has said. "I have to admit that governments have done far from enough to rein in the wild pursuit of economic growth, and failed to avoid some of the worst pollution scenarios we, as policymakers, had predicted," Qu Geping, a top environmental protection administrator from 1987 to 1993, told the South China Morning Post. Qu said that Chinese authorities could have pre-empted the crisis by adhering to a 1983 policy "stipulating that economic and urban construction should synchronise with environmental protection". Yet they haven't, and the country's air, water and soil continue to deteriorate. "Why was the strategy never properly implemented?" he said. "I think it is because there was no supervision of governments. It is because the power is still above the law."
Business Week (January 21, 2012)
In another sign that Beijing officials are, for now, leaning toward openness, officials will allow the city’s 20 million residents to weigh in on draft regulations aimed at curbing the Chinese capital’s horrendous air pollution, according to a notice posted Jan. 20 on the Beijing municipal government website. The public can comment on the proposed new measures until Feb. 8, the day before China shuts down for the annual Chinese New Year festival, said the statement issued by the city’s legal affairs office. “This is important. Now public scrutiny should play a key role in promoting pollution control and enforcement of this rule,” says Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. Ma’s environmental advocacy group plans to comment through the online platform that the municipal government has created for this purpose.
Bloomberg (January 18, 2012)
Carbon traders are backing China to revive a global emissions market that lost 34 billion euros ($45 billion) last year as it shrank for the first time in history. Investors from Climate Change Capital in London to Climate Bridge Ltd. in Melbourne said this month they are seeking involvement in what may become the world’s largest emissions market. Beijing’s worst-recorded air pollution has renewed pressure on the government, which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 45 percent before 2020. Falling European Union and United Nations prices shrank the value of carbon emissions traded around the world by 36 percent to 61 billion euros last year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said Jan. 3. Seven exchanges are scheduled to start pilot programs this year in China, the world’s most polluted country, establishing the biggest cap-and-trade program outside the EU.
(CENA prepared by Jack Marzulli)
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