Category Archives: China & Environment

China and environment


11 JULY 2019

China has made major progress on air pollution. Wuhan protests show there’s still a long way to go

28 FEBRUARY 2018

Can China take the mantle on climate change leadership?

Beijing’s action on climate change so far has been driven primarily by domestic concerns rather than international pressure or concerns about the global effects of climate change. It has shown a reluctance to shoulder leadership at the United Nations. But technological and economic changes in China and a shift in statements made by Chinese leaders suggest that China could play a greater leadership role over time

25 NOVEMBER 2017

Li Keqiang: China will work with France on climate change

China is ready to work with France in a joint and positive effort to deal with climate change while maintaining multilateralism and an inclusive world economy, Premier Li Keqiang said when meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Great Hall of the People

27 JUNE 2017

China’s ‘clean coal’ power: A viable model or cautionary tale?

Efforts to develop higher efficiency coal plants are being held back by regional differences in energy development writes

2 JUNE 2017

After Trump turns back on climate, China and EU vow to push Paris deal forward

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and officials representing the union sign agreement committing the two sides to fully implement the accord

5 MARCH 2017

China’s Premier Li Keqiang vows to tackle chronic air pollution

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is pledging to make the country’s smoggy skies blue again and « work faster » to address pollution caused by the burning of coal for heat and electricity

9 JANUARY 2017

China: Beijing forms special police team to combat smog

China has announced plans to set up an « environmental police » force tasked with enforcing pollution restrictions across the capital Beijing in a bid to improve the city’s notorious air quality

30 NOVEMBER 2016

How China’s climate revolution can stop global warming

 With or without the cooperation of the US government, nations around the world have begun to take collective action against climate change. Could a new cap-and-trade market in China set a global example?


China pledges 18% carbon emissions cut by 2020

China’s cabinet issued a new climate plan targeting an 18-percent cut in carbon emissions by 2020 compared to 2015 levels, the same day that the Paris Agreement of nearly 200 countries took effect


US, China ratify Paris climate deal, setting stage for G20

China and the United States ratified the Paris agreement to cut climate-warming emissions on Saturday (Sep 3), marking a major step toward the enactment of the pact as early as the end of the year and setting the stage for other countries to follow suit

23 APRIL 2016

China hopes to formally join climate change agreement before September

China announced on Friday that it will finalize domestic legal procedures to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change before the G20 Hangzhou summit in September this year.

9 JANUARY 2016

Beijing to shut 2,500 firms this year to fight pollution

Beijing will close 2,500 small polluting firms this year in its latest effort to combat pollution, state news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday, citing the municipal government

19 DECEMBER 2015

China and Climate Change: Three Things to Watch After Paris

China has made its promises. Will it now deliver?

30 NOVEMBER 2015

COP21: China’s climate efforts far from sufficient

China is one of the biggest polluters in the world. The Asian economic giant, however, says it is committed to tackling the issue as the UN climate conference kicks off in Paris. But how difficult will that be for China?

25 NOVEMBER 2015

China defends coal use ahead of Paris climate summit

China’s special envoy on climate change, Xie Zhenhua, has defended the country’s decision to build more coal-fired power plants ahead of a global climate summit in Paris next week


France, China agree on climate change checks

China and France agreed Monday that an international deal to tackle climate change to be negotiated in Paris should include checks on compliance, in what visiting French President Francois Hollande called a « historic » step forward

19 AUGUST 2015

Climate: China’s emissions overestimated

The United Nations and other international bodies have vastly overestimated China’s greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade or more, according to a study released Wednesday

14 AUGUST 2015

Study: China’s Air Pollution Kills 1.6 Million a Year

A Berkeley Earth study of newly released air quality data from 1,500 sites across East Asia has found that airborne particulate matter contributes to 1.6 million deaths per year in China. That is equivalent to about 4,400 per day, and makes up approximately 17% of all deaths in China

27 MARCH 2015

China’s Never-Ending ‘War on Pollution’

On March 16, the Beijing municipal government announced it would close the last of its major coal-fired generating stations. By next year, China Huaneng Group’s 845-megawatt plant will cease operations. The capital city shuttered another one in 2014 and two more last week

7 MARCH 2015

China takes Under the Dome anti-pollution film offline

The authorities in China have a removed from websites a popular documentary which highlights the country’s severe pollution problem.

5 FEBRUAY 2015

Heavy smog caused over 250,000 premature deaths in 2013: report

Heavy air pollution in 31 provincial capitals and municipalities in the Chinese mainland could have caused some 257,000 premature deaths in 2013, according to a report released on Wednesday.

7 JANUARY 2015

China encourages environmental social groups to sue

China on Wednesday granted public interest groups more power to sue those that flout environmental protection laws, the country’s highest court said, as Beijing steps up efforts to curb pollution that regularly chokes major cities.

17 DECEMBER 2014

China’s glaciers retreat 18.5% since 1950s

The area of western China covered by glaciers has decreased by 18.5 per cent since the late 1950s, equivalent to the size of Cyprus, a recent survey shows

12 NOVEMBER 2014

US, China climate deal boosts hopes of global pact

A surprise deal between the United States and China on Wednesday could be a breakthrough moment in decades-long efforts to secure a global climate change pact, environment experts said


Report: Africa ivory smuggled on China visit

Chinese officials and businesspeople used a state trip by President Xi Jinping and other high-level visits to smuggle ivory out of Tanzania, an environmental watchdog has said.

22 OCTOBER 2014

China’s coal use falls for first time this century, analysis suggests

Drop of 1-2% in amount of coal burned offers ‘a window of opportunity’ to bring climate change under control, say Greenpeace energy analysts

22 OCTOBER 2014

How China is changing Environment (in good)

By John Papon

19 OCTOBER 2014

Masks donned at smog-hit Beijing marathon

Many competitors withdraw from race as pollution soars far above maximum levels recommended by World Health Organisation


China’s per capita carbon emissions overtake EU’s

New data on carbon shows that China’s emissions per head of population have surpassed the EU for the first time.


Chinese sturgeon ‘on brink of extinction’

The wild Chinese sturgeon is at risk of extinction, state media reported, after none of the rare fish were detected reproducing naturally in the polluted and crowded Yangtze river last year.


Waking the Green Tiger : The birth of China’s environmental movement

Editor’s note: The following article was originally published on website chinadialogue (requires proxy) in 2013, but remains relevant to an array of issues facing Yunnan today. It is reposted here in its entirety.

3 JULY 204

China sets up specialised pollution tribunal

China’s Supreme Court has set up a special tribunal to deal with environmental cases, it said Thursday as Beijing pushes a green agenda with public discontent over pollution rising

30 JUNE 2014

Special report: The victims of China’s soil pollution crisis

Rapid industrialisation has left a legacy of soil pollution that is damaging health and livelihoods in villages across China

12 JUNE 2014

China says over 20,000 people charged with environmental crimes last year

Chinese state prosecutors charged more than 20,000 people with environmental crimes last year and made more than 7,000 arrests, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday

12 MAY 2014

China detains 60 people over incinerator protest

China detained 60 people on Monday for their role in a violent demonstration that prompted officials to promise to suspend construction of a waste incinerator, local police said.

10 MAY 2014

Protesters in east China clash with police over waste incinerator plan

Protesters in eastern China clashed with police at a rally against plans to build a huge waste incinerator that residents fear will be harmful to their health and add to pollution.

25 APRIL 2014

China’s NPC adopts revised Environmental Protection Law

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, has voted to adopt revisions to the Environmental Protection Law. The revised Environmental Protection Law is the first change to the legislation in 25 years.

Beijing bans the hunting and trading of 420 animal species at risk of extinction

After years of requests from the international community Beijing recognizes this practice as a « global threat ». It involves pandas, rhinos, pangolins and sharks: used in traditional medicine or considered « treats » these animals are in danger of disappearing. The penalties for violating the new law range from 3 to 10 years in prison

23 APRIL 2014

China says more than half of its groundwater is polluted

Nearly 60% of China’s underground water is polluted, state media has reported, underscoring the severity of the country’s environmental woes

18 APRIL 2014

Report: One fifth of China’s soil contaminated

Conducted between 2005-2013, it found that 16.1% of China’s soil and 19.4% of its arable land showed contamination

12 APRIL 2014

China water contamination affects 2.4m after oil leak

China’s biggest oil company has been blamed for water contamination affecting over 2.4 million people in Lanzhou

9 APRIL 2014

Can China win the war on air pollution?

Coal and cars are the culprits largely responsible for the thick, soupy air that frequently envelops cities like Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai — rendering their skylines invisible and turning day into night. Not surprisingly, this air is dangerous to breathe

31 MARCH 2014

Hundreds protest against Chinese chemical plant

Hundreds of protesters in southern China marched against a chemical plant and environmental degradation on Sunday, in a demonstration that the Maoming city government called a « grave violation » by criminals causing chaos

5 MARCH 2014

China to ‘declare war’ on pollution

China’s prime minister has vowed to tackle the country’s environmental crisis, making a « war » on pollution one of his nine « major tasks » for 2014

26 FEBRUARY 2014

China smog sees face masks sell out

China’s biggest online face mask sellers are running out of stock, with consumers rushing to protect themselves against smog that has shrouded swathes of northern China for an entire week“Even-Mao-is-wearing-a-mask”-in-smog-choked-China-30412.html

12 FEBRUARY 2014

China to set up $1.65bn fund to tackle air pollution

The Chinese government said on Wednesday said it will set up a 10 billion yuan ($1.65bn) fund to fight air pollution, offering rewards for companies that clean up their operations.

1 JANUARY 2014

Pollution Threatens China’s Food Security

A Reuters report this week noted that nearly 3.33 million hectares (eight million acres) of Chinese farmland are too polluted to grow crops. The article, which was re-posted by the state-run China Daily news site, quoted Wang Shiyuan, China’s vice minister of land and resources

23 DECEMBER 2013

Airpocalypse: China’s 4-year pollution plan

The plan for dealing with the overwhelming smog problem stifling China’s cities seems to be adaptation followed by clean up. In the short term, children in Shanghai have been ordered to stay indoors and Chinese airline pilots are being required to master low-visibility landings. One forward-thinking measure has been to limit the amount of new car sales and vehicles permitted on the roads in urban areas. The coastal city of Tianjin has decided to join other metropolises by capping how many license plates it issues to 100,000 per year.

20 DECEMBER 2013

China faces $176bn bill to clean up air pollution

Cleaning up China’s air pollution will cost 1.75 trillion yuan (£176b) between 2013 and 2017, a high-ranking environmental official has estimated.


China pollution grounds hundreds of flights, prompts severe health warning

Shanghai authorities ordered schoolchildren indoors and halted all construction Friday as China’s financial hub suffered one its worst bouts of air pollution, bringing visibility down to a few dozen meters and obscuring the city’s spectacular skyline.

21 NOVEMBER 2013

How China’s action on air pollution is slowing its carbon emissions

New research shows the growth of emissions from China, the world’s biggest emitter, may be slowing due to its efforts to clean up the air pollution problem in many of its cities.


China’s dam boom is an assault on its great rivers

Touted as a low carbon source of energy, China’s hydropower projects are wreaking havoc on river systems across the country and southeast Asia, reports Yale Environment 360

21 OCTOBER 2013

China: Record smog levels shut down city of Harbin

The World Health Organisation recommends daily levels of particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers to be no more than twenty. Anything above 300 is considered dangerous. Levels around 1,000 were recorded in some parts of Harbin. All schools were shut and the airport was closed.

20 OCTOBER 2013

Beijing needs US$160bn to combat pollution over 5 years: director

Beijing is raising the stakes in its fight against pollution as emissions from construction projects and waste management continue to darken the skies, the Beijing-based The Economic Observer reports.

18 OCTOBER 2013

China’s ‘Pollution Diet’: a touchstone for the national modernisation project

According to World Bank estimates, 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China. A 2010 study linked 1.2 million premature deaths to the country’s air pollution. Even the drastic measures in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics only had limited and temporary effects. Since then, air quality has further deteriorated. In February 2013, the Ministry of Environmental Protection rated the capital city China’s ninth worst in terms of air pollution.

17 OCTOBER 2013

Beijing introduces new rules to curb car use on bad pollution days

The new rules, by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, calls for the driving schedule to be enforced on days when Beijing issues a “red alert” under a four-tiered pollution warning system. A red alert will be issued when the air quality index (AQI) is expected to be over 300 over a three-day period.

7 OCTOBER 2013

Ma Jun: China needs to do its bit to combat climate change

The well-known environmentalist talks about the links between local pollution and global warming, and how China is a contributor, but also vulnerable to impacts


China’s dam environmental problem

As the global leader in hydropower, China must adopt environmental policies that account for methane and carbon emissions as well as ecosystem disruptions and erosion potential.


China to shame worst-polluting cities over and over in push for green action

China will start to point the finger at its top ten most air-polluted cities — each and every month — in the hopes that national humiliation will push positive environmental action. A parallel list of the nation’s ten cities with best air qualities will also be published.


China scoops up 100,000 kg of poisoned dead fish

Authorities have scooped up around 100,000 kilograms (220,000 pounds) of dead fish they say were poisoned by ammonia from a chemical plant, environmental officials and state media said Wednesday, in a reminder of the pollution plaguing the country.

27 JULY 2013

China’s Bad Earth

Industrialization has turned much of the Chinese countryside into an environmental disaster zone, threatening not only the food supply but the legitimacy of the regime itself.

20 JULY 2013

One third of China’s cities drowning in garbage

Cities in China that are developing rapidly are facing a garbage crisis. Government figures reveal that more than one-third of the country’s cities are surrounded by waste and that the accumulated trash now occupied 750,000 acres of land across the country.

13 JULY 2013

Protest prompts China to cancel Jiangmen uranium plant

China has cancelled plans to build a uranium processing plant the day after hundreds of protesters took to the streets to oppose the project.                                                                                                                                                                   

9 JULY 2013

China pollution slashes life expectancy by over five years in north

Severe air pollution in northern China has slashed life expectancies there by more than five years compared to the south, potentially robbing 500 million Chinese of a total of 2.5 billion years of life, a new report has claimed.

18 JUNE 2013

China, the domestic market for ivory endangers the survival of elephants

One-tenth of elephants on the planet killed last year. Despite the international ban on the ivory trade, the sale of « white gold » in China is lawful and widespread. A researcher: « The species is at risk, Beijing must recognize the problem. »                                                                                                                                            ,-the-domestic-market-for-ivory-endangers-the-survival-of-elephants-28231.html

A fortune in severed bear paws found being smuggled into China

More than 200 bear paws were discovered being smuggled into China in the tires of a van, Chinese officials told local media.                                                            

28 MAY 2013

Thousands of Tibetans Protest Against Mine

As many as 5,000 Tibetans have protested against Chinese mining operations at a site considered sacred by local residents, drawing a large security force to the area and prompting fears of clashes, according to Tibetan sources this week.

22 MAY 2013

New rice contamination reported in China

Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country’s largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.                             

17 MAY 2013

Chinese Environmental Protesters Demand Transparency

In the short space of several weeks, two provinces in China have seen three protests against the construction of oil refinery plants. Protesters say they are concerned about the possible health and environmental impact of the plants. The protests not only highlight how environmental activism is growing in this country where speaking out about touchy topics can easily land one in jail, but the need for more transparency.

16 MAY 2013

Chinese protesters take to the streets in Kunming over chemical plant plans

More than two thousand people have held a rally protesting against a planned chemical plant in southern China.

8 APRIL 2013

Smog dents Beijing’s expat appeal

A winter of terrible air pollution in Beijing will probably be followed by an exodus of expatriates fleeing China’s capital, say senior executives, diplomats and businesses that cater to expats.                                                                                                                               

27 FEBRUARY 2013

Chinese environmentalist beaten after calling on official to swim in polluted creek

A Chinese environmentalist was allegedly subjected to a vicious five-hour attack after attempting to draw attention to the putrid state of the country’s waterways by challenging a local official to swim in a creek near his home.

26 FEBRUARY 2013

Pollution, a ‘state secret’ in China

China’s environmental watchdog refuses to release findings on soil pollution based on a five-year study involved samples from across the country. Legal and environmental experts slam the decision as irresponsible and dangerous,-a-‘state-secret’-in-China-27242.html               

22 FEBRUARY 2013

China acknowledges ‘cancer villages’

China’s environment ministry appears to have acknowledged the existence of so-called « cancer villages » after years of public speculation about the impact of pollution in certain areas.                                                                                                                 

21 FEBRUARY 2013

Pearl River Delta worse than in Beijing

For an expert at the China Academy of Meteorological Sciences, pollution related to shoe and cosmetic production is deadlier than that in the capital. The central government is silent on the matter


Chinese dams in Tibet raise hackles in India

Plans by China to build three dams in Tibet have rung alarm bells downstream in India, where fears are rising that the northern nation’s thirst for power and water will one day affect the flow of the mighty Brahmaputra River, a lifeline for tens of millions of people.

31 JANUARY 2013

China on red alert over pollution

A 40-car pile-up on a Chinese motorway, caused in part by bad visibility in the smog pointed to growing political strain. It was one of the consequences of the country’s alarming pollution.

24 JANUARY 2013

How Fast Could China Clean Up?

Given reports that China is making a major effort to switch to renewable energy that could account for 10 percent of power generation by 2015, how much can the country actually do about its disastrous levels of pollution, and how soon? The answer is probably not much, and it will take years if not decades.                                                                                                                                                              

21 JANUARY 2013

Ex-minister blames China’s pollution mess on lack of rule of law

China had a chance to avoid environmental disasters some 40 to 30 years ago, the country’s first environmental protection chief has lamented amid worsening air and water pollution.                                                                                              

15 JANUARY 2013

China’s state media finally admits to air pollution crisis

13 JANUARY 2013

Beijing pollution ‘worst on record’

The air quality in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday was the « worst on record », according to an environmentalist group as the pollution levels in the city were at 30-45 times the safety level.

12 JANUARY 2013

Beijing choked by pollution at dangerous levels

The municipal environment warning centre issued an alert advising the elderly, children, and those suffering respiratory or cardiovascular illness in the capital to avoid going out or doing strenuous exercise, Xinhua reported.

8 JANUARY 2013

Future of Shanxi Governor Uncertain After Chemical Spill Coverup

Shanxi Province authorities are taking the heat for a second major cover-up in a matter of weeks. On New Year’s Eve, a chemical called aniline spilled into the Zhouzhang River from the Shanxi Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group in Changzhi City. However, it was not reported by authorities until January 5th.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

7 JANUARY 2013

Chinese coal: key to a global climate solution

China is rich in coal — so rich that coal lies at the heart of any solution to prevent climate change.

6 JANUARY 2013

China facing ‘extremely grave’ environmental crisis

China is facing an « extremely grave » environmental crisis as the true extent of heavy metal and chemical contamination becomes clear, a top government official has warned.