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Greenlaw from NRDC China’s Blog

China Environmental News Alert

Greenlaw from NRDC China

Posted January 31, 2013 in Greening China

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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 24, 2013 -- January 31, 2013

China burns half of coal consumption worldwide, figures show

The Guardian (January 30, 2013)

China now burns nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined. The country's appetite for the carbon-intensive fuel rose by 9% in 2011, to 3.8bn tonnes, meaning it now accounts for 47% of worldwide coal consumption. The growth, revealed by US government figures on Tuesday, was driven by China's booming economy, which has grown at an average rate of around 10% over the past decade. China overtook the US as the world's biggest carbon emitter in 2007, and became the world's biggest consumer of energy in 2010.

China's environment: An economic death sentence

CNN Money (January 30, 2013)

For a long time, environmental activists, economists, and China scholars have warned about the coming environmental disaster in China. Such a catastrophe finally appeared in the most dramatic form in mid-January, when a thick layer of poisonous pollutants smothered much of northern China and made air in Beijing hazardous to breathe. 

China's Rise: Environment & Climate Change

Energy Collective (January 29, 2013)

China’s GDP has been growing at a rate of 10% a year for the past three decades. The country is rising quickly, no doubt. Some say China’s pursuing the dream of becoming a global superpower, and some argue that that is an inevitability. But is GDP the sole factor in measuring global power? The answer is definitely not! Most experts in the field consider the major criteria in measuring power: economic power, military power, and innovation in technology. And China is lacking in all three. And though GDP is a good indicator for economic power, it is not the only one; there’s also GDP per capita, average income per person, income inequality, accumulated wealth… all of which China fails drastically in.

China lacks quality environment assessment agencies

China.org.cn (January 29, 2013)

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) publicized a report after a three-year survey into the country's environment assessment agencies. By the end of 2012, 1,163 such organizations had been registered. However, their overall performance and quality did not meet standards, the report said. Unprofessional practices include weak quality control, lack of follow-up surveillance reports and poorly compiled evaluation documents.

Curbing Air Pollution in China: Eliminate Dirty Diesel Fuel

NRDC Switchboard (January 29, 2013)

One week ago, much of China was plagued by the worst air pollution in recent memory. The heavy smog that blanketed the country for five days was so extreme that it stirred up a media storm and even prompted state-run media to demand more action from the government. While some of the government’s emergency actions – shutting down factories and limiting the number of cars on the road – did help alleviate the pollution temporarily, Beijing’s Air Quality Index readings are  back to hazardous levels and nearly off the charts again as I write this. China must take more aggressive, long-term steps to address the root causes of its poor air quality in order to create lasting impact.

China nods energy consumption control target

China Daily (January 31, 2013)

The State Council, or China's Cabinet, on Wednesday approved an energy consumption control target, part of the country's efforts to correct overuse and foster greener growth. The government aims to keep total energy consumption below 4 billion tons of standard coal equivalent by 2015, with electricity consumption below 6.15 trillion kilowatt-hours, according to a statement released after a State Council meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

China says 14 guilty of pollution protest violence

Associated Press (January 30, 2013)

China says 14 people have pleaded guilty to encouraging a violent mass protest that forced a local government to scrap a wastewater treatment project north of Shanghai. The official Xinhua News Agency said the defendants were prosecuted Wednesday on charges of encouraging mass violence against government buildings and intentionally damaging property in Qidong city in Jiangsu province. Xinhua says the sentences will be announced later.

China’s hottest commodity: Pollution-fighting face masks

Globe and Mail (January 30, 2013)

Zhao Danqing is a businessman in the unusual position of wanting his product to become obsolete, quickly. With hazardous levels of pollution again blanketing Beijing and authorities urging city residents to stay indoors, even the most stoic old Beijingers are finally acknowledging the problem and stocking up on protective face masks. Major corporations including Apple, JPMorgan and the BBC are also handing them out to their employees.

China to Boost Solar Power Goal 67% as Smog Envelops Beijing

Bloomberg (January 30, 2013)

China plans to increase its goal for solar-power installations in 2015 by 67 percent to reduce reliance on fossil fuels blamed for greenhouse gases and as smog in Beijing reached record hazardous levels this month. The world’s biggest emitter of carbon-dioxide plans to raise the solar target to 35 gigawatts by 2015 from 21 gigawatts set last year, boosting demand for manufactures that suffer from slowing sales in Europe, Shi Dinghuan, the counselor of China’s State Council and the president of Chinese Renewable Energy Society, said today by phone.

Hydro dams could jeopardise 'Grand Canyon of the east', say green groups

The Guardian (January 30, 2013)

Chinese environmental groups warn that government plans for a slew of hydroelectric dams on the pristine Salween (Nu) river – often called the Grand Canyon of the east for its deep valleys and sweeping views – could jeopardise biodiverse ecosystems and indigenous cultures, and lead to potentially catastrophic seismic events.

Chinese Environmental NGO releases report on Apple and other IT companies

NRDC Switchboard (January 29, 2013)

Lots has been published about the labor issues that Apple has faced over the past two years, but much less about the environmental problems in the company’s supply chain.  That is certainly NOT because the IT industry has a paltry impact on the environment; to the contrary, IT manufacturing relies on a number of toxic metals and solvents and has a huge environmental impact that is quite apparent across China.  NRDC and a Chinese NGO named the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) have actively worked with Apple over the past year to recommend an improved environmental oversight program.

(CENA prepared by Tim Quijano)

* 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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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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