NRDC has been working in China for over twelve years on such issues as energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy technologies, environmental governance and public participation, 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.
April 24, 2010 - April 30, 2010
China and the European Union have set up a ministerial-level dialogue mechanism on climate change as a positive step to move negotiations forward at the Cancun climate summit this November. China and the EU will regularly hold talks on climate change to deepen ties and understanding, as well as establish a climate change hotline. They pledge to work under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and both sides restated their support for the Copenhagen Accord. China has already established a similar dialogue mechanism with the U.S.
China Daily (April 30, 2010)
Friends of Nature, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), and Green Beagle presented a report in which they discovered the manufacturing of printed circuit board (PCB) and IT products are the main source of heavy metal pollution in China. Suppliers of big companies such as IBM, Nokia, Intel, Siemens, and Vodafone are listed as exceeding wastewater discharge standards and contaminating the waters of the Pearl and Yangtze River Deltas. Many battery and power suppliers are also responsible for the outbreaks that resulted in 4,035 people suffering from lead poisoning, and 182 people suffering from high levels of cadmium in their blood. Heavy metals like lead, copper, and nickel are known carcinogens, and remain in the environment for long periods of time.
Global Times (April 27, 2010)
As China’s economy makes a recovery, the country’s goals of increasing energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions has been affected. The State Council voiced concern over what this rapid recovery has meant for polluting industries and pollution regulation—environmental regulation decreased in order for industrial projects to be as productive as possible. Targets to cut overcapacity in iron, steel, thermal and aluminum industries were reiterated, and China will make environmental and energy efficiency requirements more strict to help combat overcapacity. Energy use per unit of GDP is falling short of the national goal of 20% reduction by the end of 2010.
Reuters (April 28, 2010)
The Shanghai Expo, with a budget of 55 billion USD, is vying to be one of the most remembered in history. Though the Expo’s presentation of urban living is depicted as clean and tech-savvy, Shanghai’s Huangpu River remains heavily polluted; in addition, although many of the Expo pavilions are intended to be 100% recyclable, currently it is unclear how the rapid construction projects and urbanization will harm the environment. Wu Zhiqian, a professor of urban planning at Tongji University, claims that Shanghai has done “in 15 years what London did in 150.” At the same time, the Expo provides the opportunity for China to show the international community that China is stepping up as a leader in green and sustainable technologies.
Financial Times (April 28, 2010)
Related Article from New York Times: Shanghai puts on a green face
In the latest product safety scandal, Chinese authorities have seized over seven million toxic disposable food containers and raw materials to make 10 million more. Companies in Jiangxi province were caught manufacturing banned foam boxes that are made with plastic waste and fluorescent whitening agents. The boxes were banned in 1999 but can still be found in many parts in China. Heat from hot food causes toxins to leak out of the boxes and into the food, resulting in potential damage to the liver, kidneys, and reproductive system.
Agence France Presse (April 28, 2010)
The southern island province of Hainan, which used to boast of several successful conservation projects, is now falling faster than ever to development pressures. In the jungles of the Diaolou Mountains, where 1,000-year-old trees provide protection and habitat to some 300 endangered species, wealthy developers have begun construction of a golf course inside a core conservation zone that was intended to be off-limits to humans. Though the elite golf course will be closed to the public, justified skepticism remains regarding the environmental and ecological impact of building the course.
Guardian (April 23, 2010)
Meteorologists say China is experiencing its coldest April in 50 years, due to abnormal atmospheric circulation and a moving Arctic air mass. More than 10 provinces in northwest and north China have suffered from cold and frost, with corresponding direct economic losses of 6 billion yuan (882 million USD). The cold front also brought a dozen sand storms across China. These types of extreme weather events are not only occurring in China, but on the global stage, as climate change increases abnormal weather phenomena.
China Daily (April 29, 2010)
Related Article from Xinhua: North China to see temperature drop, continuing sandy weather
(CENA prepared by Sabrina Orlins)
* 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.
See our bilingual (English and Chinese) blog dedicated to discussion of China's environmental law, policy and public participation at http://www.greenlaw.org.cn.
Report published on NRDC's Switchboard.