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Greenlaw from NRDC China’s Blog

China vows voluntary, non-binding carbon cuts and other China environmental news

Greenlaw from NRDC China

Posted December 10, 2010

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NRDC has been working in China for fifteen years on such issues as climate, energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy, governance and law, health, and green supply chain issues. This China Environmental News Alert is a weekly compilation of news from around the world on China and the environment.
December 4, 2010- December 10, 2010


China and the Cancun climate negotiations 

China vows voluntary, non-binding carbon cuts
China Daily (December 8, 2010)
After misinterpreted reports issued by various news outlets, Chinese delegates cleared the air by confirming that the nation’s carbon cuts were voluntary parts of a domestic plan and not tied to a binding UN resolution. China asserts that pledges will be honored and incorporated into the national plan for future social development. Particular stress was placed on the lack of outside authority and the non-negotiable nature of the pledges. 

China won't compromise on issues of principle, says chief negotiator
Xinhua (December 5, 2010)
China has stood resolute in refusing to compromise on issues of principle in recent climate change negotiations in Cancun. Issues such as the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol are not open to negotiation, but China has shown a willingness to cooperate and make compromises on “non-principle” issues. China sees opposition to the renewal/replacement of the Kyoto Protocol as a negative influence on the conference, and plans to assert their resolute commitments in an attempt to reach some sort of consensus by the end of the conference. 

U.S. envoy says China seriously dealing with carbon emissions
CRIEnglish (December 9, 2010)
U.S. climate change negotiator Todd Stern asserted that China is making serious efforts in dealing with carbon emissions, adding that he has “enormous respect” for the domestic efforts China is making. However, Stern quickly pointed out that China’s emissions are still enormously high, but that good channels of communication have been established between the two countries in order to continue cooperative efforts to battle climate change. 

Other China environmental news 

Chinese company wins the 'grand prix' of Green Awards
The Independent (December 4, 2010)
The fifth annual Green Awards were held in London this year, honoring companies from around the world that addressed the importance of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. This year’s Grand Prix award was given to the China Environmental Protection Agency for its campaign to encourage citizens to drive less and walk more. Though the campaign addressed the issues of pollution levels in China's cities, its message was found to be globally applicable. 

China may raise already ambitious hydropower goal
Reuters (December 10, 2010)
China could expand its already ambitious hydropower development plan in the near future according to state media reports. The country could be slated to build an additional 20 GW of normal hydropower plants and an additional 30 GW of pumped storage hydropower generating capacity from 2011 to 2015, bringing figures up to 83 GW and 80 GW respectively. The increase would lift China’s hydropower generating capacity by 2020 to 430 GW, up from the originally planned 380 GW. 

New rules on petitions are just a start, say scholar Nu Tze-wei (original Chinese source) (December 3, 2010)
In an attempt to cure a big headache for courts around the country, the mainland's top court issued a guideline this week on how to put an end to long-running petition cases that target judicial procedures. The Supreme People’s Court has not made the specificities available to the public, but the guideline supposedly sets down a procedure for the courts to declare that a repeatedly petitioned case has been conclusively dealt with and is not to be reopened. A benefit of the new guideline is that the courts will now be obliged to take some action to finalize a case, and it will also, in theory, screen out petitions that are truly unreasonable. For petitioners, however, the guideline might make it harder to seek justice in a system that is still largely crippled by corruption and judicial incompetence. 

China open to initiatives on international nuclear fuel bank
China Daily (December 4, 2010)
Chinese officials have remained open to the possible establishment of an international nuclear fuel bank through the International Atomic Energy Agency. The proposal was first issued by the United States, and calls for the creation of a low-enrichment uranium bank which countries could turn to if their regular supplies were to run out. The plan has run into opposition from some developing countries, however, as they fear the bank could undermine their opportunity to acquire their own nuclear technology for energy purposes. 

Coal and cars combine to increase pollution in North
China Daily (December 8, 2010)
Officials have noted an increase in air pollution in northern parts of China, attributing the spike to winter related coal-fired heating. Particulate matter emitted from coal fired plants is only exacerbated by the lack of wind in the winter, and the lingering effect vehicle exhaust has on emissions. It has been calculated that Beijing alone requires 4 million tons of coal for heating during the winter months, with every ton of coal releasing an estimated 2.7 tons of CO2. To address the issue, Beijing is planning to eliminate all coal fired plants in the next five years, investing $4.5 billion in establishing a city wide gas heating system.

China pledges new support to solar development
Industrial Fuels and Power (December 3, 2010)
China has promised new subsidies to develop and support the country’s burgeoning solar industry. The new announcement includes the creation of 13 industrial zones, compensation worth up to half the price of solar power equipment, and energy subsidies of $.6-.9 per watt generated. Foreign investors have complained that these efforts violate free-trade commitments, giving manufacturers improper subsidies and hampering access to the Chinese market. 

Factory blamed for lead poisoning
Shanghai Daily (December 7, 2010)
In Jiangsu Province, ten children have been diagnosed with lead poisoning in addition to ten villagers having died from lead poisoning related cancer in the past two years. Following an investigation by the China Business News, the illnesses have been traced back to Jiangsu Chilwee Power, a large storage battery producer situated in the village. The plant was opened up exactly two years ago, correlating with the rash of reported illnesses. Complaints from villagers have largely been ignored, however, as local officials have been suspected of unethical protectionism. 

Chinese vice premier urges intensified flood control, anti-drought efforts
Xinhua (December 7, 2010)
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu has urged all levels of government to address the country’s flood and drought contingency capabilities. Recent drought and flood disasters in the southwest of China killed over 3,185 people, with over 1,067 left missing. Hui stressed the necessity to enhance disaster alleviation and emergency response capabilities for potential future natural disasters.

22 killed in China wildfire
Sify News (December 5, 2010)
Grassland fires in a mountainous region in Tibet claimed the lives of 22 soldiers and villagers. Gusting winds and dry winter conditions helped feed the fire as 2,000 people continue to fight the remaining pockets of fire. This is only the latest in a string of deadly fires to strike the Chinese countryside.

(CENA prepared by Phillip Yang)
* 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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