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October

 

NRDC China Environmental News Alert

shared by Hilde Binford

Over fall break, I was privileged to represent Moravian College at the United Nations conference on climate change in Tianjin, China. Moravian College is one of six small liberal arts colleges in the United States with “official observer” status as part of the “civil society.”   When I was there, I did not see the sun for ten days because of the smog. In addition to the conference, I was also able to visit the Three Gorges and the Three Gorges Dam — the largest dam in the world.  In the spring semester, Environmental Studies will sponsor a film showing of “Up the Yangtze” that chronicles the building of this dam and its affects on the local population.

As we focus on China this year, I want to share with you several recent articles relating directly to China and the environment from the NRDC in China. The story is not simple — there are very real challenges that China is facing, and the issues are complex.

NRDC China Environmental News Alert

October 9, 2010 – October 15, 2010

A service of the Natural Resources Defense Council, China Program

China's Zijin fined 9.56 million yuan for water contamination
Xinhua (October 10, 2010)
Fujian provincial authorities have fined Zijin Mining Co. 9.56 million yuan ($1.43 million) for severe water pollution caused by one of its copper plants. Two acidic chemical spills occurring in July poisoned the Ting River in Fujian Province, killing large quantities of local fish and leaving water supplies inconsumable. The spill has led to over 31 million yuan of economic damage, and was attributed to poor maintenance of sewage tanks.

Report warns of drastic glacier shrinkage in China
Xinhua (October 10, 2010)
Recent reports have suggested that the average area of glacial regions in Western China might shrink by about 30% by 2050 due to climate change. With most glaciers located in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, glacier recession patterns would reduce ocean glaciers by over 52% and Asian continental glaciers by over 24%. In addition to global glacial reductions, the area is also predicted to see a drastic decrease in accumulated snowfall over the next few years.

China considers to charge residential electricity on tiered basis
Xinhua (October 9, 2010)
The director of China’s NDRC has proposed a tiered electricity pricing mechanism for residential electricity consumption. The proposal would serve to save energy and support sustainable growth without causing a marked increase in power for the majority of citizens. Households who consume no more than 140 kWh per month would see a rise of $.15 USD per kWh, with the upper two tiers being charged a $.05 increase per kWh respectively. Authorities are conscious of avoiding inflationary prices, however, and the proposal is seen as a relatively modest move in addressing electricity consumption reform.

China assists herders to protect grasslands
Beijing Review (October 13, 2010)
Herders in eight provincial governments in western China will receive government subsidized assistance to reward their efforts in grassland conservation. The government will give an annual subsidy of 90 yuan per hectare of grassland where grazing and herding is banned, with grasslands containing herds of sustainable sizes obtaining 22.5 yuan per hectare. In addition, about 2 million households will receive annual stipends for general assistance. The total amount allocated for the new support program will be 13.4 billion yuan per year.

China overtakes U.S. as biggest energy consumer
Reuters (October 12, 2010)
The International Energy Agency has recently announced that China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest energy consumer, based on their metrics and analysis. While China is not one of 28 countries in the IEA, the agency monitors Chinese consumption patterns closely, and claims that half of the world’s oil demand comes from China.

EPA: Hope for progress with China despite friction
Associated Press (October 13, 2010)
Despite the recent deadlock between the United States and China following the Tianjin climate conference, the U.S. EPA has displayed an optimistic outlook on future potential for collaboration between the countries in multilateral efforts to curb climate change. After a visit to China, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson asserts that both countries are making positive headway on domestic forefronts, but has stressed the importance on pushing for progress in the international collaborative effort.

China's wind power capacity to grow five-fold by 2020

Associated Press (October 13, 2010)
A recent report has China’s wind power capacity to increase by more than five fold in the next decade. Total installed wind power capacity will reach at least 150 gigawatts according to the China Wind Power Outlook 2010 report. China currently ranks second in the world in installed wind generating capacity, and is attempting to reach ambitious carbon reduction targets by 2020.

Water crisis threaten's Asia's rise

New York Times (October 11, 2010)
Recent droughts in the Mekong River region have highlighted the threat of water scarcity in the southeast of China. An estimated 21% of China’s surface water is unfit even for farming, and industry that constitutes 70% of the country’s water consumption. In addition, melting glaciers and the damming of rivers that flow beyond its boundaries could prove to be an item of contention between China and its neighbors in times of water shortage.

32 killed as China suffers its worst pollution day
Hindustan Times (October 11, 2010)
Thirty-two people were killed across China due to thick, fog like smog that blanketed the entire country, forcing some areas to declare air quality to be “hazardous”. The smog was so thick that visibility was at a minimum in most major cities, in which a collected thirty-two people died in traffic accidents caused by the fog.

Rare earth exports not blocked
Straits Times (October 8, 2010)
Premier Wen Jiabao stood before the sixth annual China-EU Business Summit and announced that China has not, and will not block, the export of rare earth minerals from China. Despite complaints from many countries in the face of rare earth export decreases, China insists that the move is to prevent environmental degradation, and does not serve as an economic bargaining chip.

China's timber consumption anticipated to increase

Fordaq (October 9, 2010)
According to the deputy administrator of China’s State Forestry Administration, the country’s total timber consumption has risen by 20 million cu.m in the past year, and will continue to grow in the near future. Imported wood rose by 50 million cu.m as well, prompting the minister to urge the promotion of domestic timber supplies and improved sustainable forestry management.

Turning barren lands into fertile farms Dingxi way
Xinhua (October 12, 2010)
Dingxi, a barren city in Gansu Province, was once deemed by visiting UN experts as “unsuitable for human existence”, and until recently, has proven correct. After decades of failed subsistence farming, potatoes have recently been introduced to the community as an alternative crop that might succeed in the region’s harsh climate conditions. The region now accounts for 5 million tons of potatoes, producing more than any other city in China. Along with the growth of the crop, processing plants have also provided the region with an influx of work and economic viability.

(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.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

Contact NRDC Beijing at:
A1606 Building No. 1, G.T., International Center
Jia 3, Yongandongli, Jianguomenwai Ave., Chaoyang District
Beijing 100022, P.R. China
86-10-5879-4079


Thematic Programming at Moravian College: China in Focus

by Dorothy Glew for Bethlehem Press, October, 2010

A few months back I began writing articles for a local newspaper, the Bethlehem Press. The first piece I wrote was about Moravian’s involvement in The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Since then, I’ve written some other pieces about various programs at Moravian. I like to let the community know about the interesting things that are going on at the College.

For years I’ve been listening to NPR and enjoying Frank Gifford’s reports, so I was really excited when I heard that he would be speaking at Moravian. I was even more eager to hear him after I finished reading China Road. I mentioned his upcoming presentations to the editor of the Bethlehem Press. If anything, he was more excited than I. He and his wife have been to China several times to visit their son, who lives in Beijing.

I attended both of Gifford’s presentations and thoroughly enjoyed them.  I was instructed to
keep my article on Gifford to two pages, which took some doing. There was so much to say! The following article was the finished product!

Thematic Programming at Moravian College: China in Focus

On Wednesday, September 22nd, Moravian College, Moravian Theological Seminary, and Moravian College Comenius Center for Continuing, Professional, and Graduate Studies launched a new tradition of thematic academic programming intended to “bring together the entire community.” Each year Moravian’s incoming freshmen are assigned a book that is discussed during Freshmen Orientation Weekend.  This year’s reading was Colors of the Mountain, by Da Chen, a memoir about the author’s coming of age during the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong.

The newly-formed Thematic Academic Programming Committee decided that this year’s subject would be China, partly because it would build on the freshmen reading and also because the subject is broad enough to provide opportunities for participation and integration by all disciplines. Throughout the year China will be explored through lectures, films, and discussions.

The official kickoff of China in Focus featured two presentations, at a graduate symposium and at an all-college convocation, by Rob Gifford, London Bureau Chief of National Public Radio and author of China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Gifford earned a BA in Chinese Studies From Durham University in England and an MA in East Asian Studies from Harvard University. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Gifford served as China correspondent for NPR from 1999 to 2005.

Not only is Gifford extremely knowledgeable about China, he is also very gracious and has a wonderful sense of humor. These qualities, along with a seemingly insatiable curiosity about China, made him an ideal speaker.

China Road recounts a 3,000-mile, cross-country journey that Gifford took in the summer of 2005. Starting in Shanghai on the east coast, he traveled on Highway 312 through the Gobi Desert to Kazakhstan on China’s western border.

Along the way he conducted spontaneous interviews with the people he encountered—farmers, a hermit, fellow riders on a bus, an Indian restaurant owner in the Gobi Desert, truck drivers, three employees of the Family Planning Bureau, among many others—in an effort to understand the Chinese mindset. Gifford’s goal was to find out about the “real” China as lived by the middle class in the East, the peasants in the central part of the country, and the Tibetans and members of the Uighur ethnic group in the West, some of whom are disaffected and resistant to rule by the Beijing government.

In both of his presentations Gifford emphasized that views about China tend to be one of two extremes. There are the “panda huggers” who are awed by the extraordinary economic and technological development that has taken place in China, lifting four hundred million people out of poverty since 1978. In contrast, there is China the “dragon slayer,” the “big, bad China” view of the country as a closed society that has been shaped by the rule of the ruthless Mao Zedong and the Communist Party.

While there is validity to both views, Gifford aimed to present a more nuanced view reflecting both the positive and negative aspects of modern-day China. In the cities of eastern China where people are enjoying unprecedented prosperity, the talk is all about goods—iPods, smart phones, cars, etc. Materialism reigns.

There is a growing feeling of pride among this segment of the population. This feeling is reinforced by the fact that China, which was a closed society for so long, is now recognized as a world power. Not only does it hold a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, but it is also a member of the World Trade Organization and was chosen to host the 2008 Olympics. The government encourages this national pride, which draws attention way from any lingering unease with the repressive aspects of the national government.

In contrast to past practice, the government now grants people social and economic rights, denying them only political rights. People can pretty much say and do as they wish as long as they stay out of politics. So, for example, the government responds to prostitution, which is widespread, by looking the other way. Gifford likened the increased freedom to moving from a birdcage to an aviary.

On the negative side, the benefits of China’s boom are available only to those who are well connected. In contrast to those enjoying the good life are people who work long hours in dingy factories and are just getting by. The peasants who make their living off the land are even worse off. Corrupt local government officials exploit them by imposing taxes to enrich themselves. In general, there is massive government corruption at the local level.

In addition, the environmental cost of China’s growth is enormous. Gifford observed that “you can barely breathe in some places.” In addition, the mandatory limit of one child per family is brutally enforced by the Family Planning Bureau through forced abortions at what Gifford called “a huge cost to the women of China.”

Will China’s extraordinary development make it the world’s next superpower, or will the huge problems the country faces cause it to implode? There is a great deal to be said in support of both views.

For the rest of the world there are troubling questions. China requires enormous natural resources to sustain its growth. What will happen if it can’t get those resources? How will the standoff with Taiwan be settled?

In addition, there are issues that need to be resolved. For one, how are we to deal with China’s devaluation of the yuan, which has had a huge effect on our balance of trade? For another, the world needs to secure China’s cooperation to counter climate change. Finally, Iran’s effort to develop nuclear weapons is a particularly thorny issue. Inasmuch as China gets twelve percent of its oil from Iran, it is not going to support sanctions. Gifford commented that we need to engage with China in order to resolve these issues.

Gifford ended his talk by urging the students to visit China. He remarked that they’ll be “blown away” by the China they find. “We split it into black and white,” he said. “Go and see what it really is.”

 

Film: Nanking

submitted by Dave Roth, October 2010

A powerful, emotional and relevant reminder of the heartbreaking toll war takes on the innocent, Nanking tells the story of the Japanese invasion of Nanking, China, in the early days of World War II.

 

NRDC China Environmental News Alert, October 16-22, 2010

shared by Hilde Binford

US launches trade probe into China's green tech
China Daily (October 16, 2010)
The United States has initiated an investigation into Chinese policies and practices in the renewable energy sector to inspect China’s observance of WTO rules. The inquiry comes after a request from the United Steelworkers in September, in which questions of industry protectionism came to light. Under Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act, the US Trade Representative may request a consultation with the country in question when the investigation is initiated.

China to cut energy intensity by 17.3 pct by 2015
Reuters (October 18, 2010)
China has announced its plans to cut energy intensity by 17.3% between 2011-2015, compared to 2010 levels. The announcement is part of an effort to cut energy intensity by 31% by 2020, leading to a 16.6% reduction from 2016-2020.
 
China said to widen its embargo of minerals

New York Times (October 19, 2010)
After having blocked shipments of rare earth minerals to Japan for the past month, industry officials have reported China having blocked shipments to the United States and Europe as well. Chinese custom officials have been said to be imposing border restrictions, after earlier denouncements were made by top Chinese officials regarding America’s trade actions. Chinese officials vehemently deny such embargos, and have yet to announce future export quotas.

Beijing, fighting traffic, considers car limit
Wall Street Journal (October 21, 2010)
Beijing officials are considering limiting the amount of cars on the road in order to alleviate crippling traffic congestion. This is the first time officials have publicly mentioned limiting the number of automobiles, and could indicate a change in gridlock prevention policy. Since 2008, the city has implemented a reduction policy based on weekly driving allowances in accordance to license plate numbers, but with over 2,000 cars being added to streets on a daily basis, officials have been looking to more drastic measures. There is also hope that eliminating massive traffic jams will increase air quality, as stop-and-go driving causes more pollution than smooth travel.

Shrinking arable land threatens grain security
China Daily (October 18, 2010)
China’s summer grain output fell by .3% from last year, the first decline in seven years for China’s summer grain quota. China has established a “red line” target to guarantee its arable lands never shrink to less than 120 million hectares; according to the Ministry of Land and Resources, available arable lands are just above 121 million hectares. Loss of arable lands has been mainly attributed to urbanization and economic growth, as well as the effects of encroaching desertification.

China's Zijin Mining sued over pollution
Reuters (October 16, 2010)
Two subsidiaries of China’s largest gold producer, Zijin Mining, have been sued by city government officials following this year’s massive pollution spill. Zijin Mining has already been fined $1.4 million for damages incurred after contaminating a nearby river, but authorities from Xinyi city is seeking another $3 million in reparations.

New storms hit flood-ravaged China province, thousands evacuated
Xinhua (October 16, 2010)
Thousands have been evacuated from China’s Hainan Province following surging floods. Flooding of two nearby rivers has led to the destruction of property and crops in the region, as heavy rains are predicted to continue to fall.

China sets up foundation to protect largest tropical rainforest

Xinhua (October 19, 2010)
China’s largest tropical rainforest, Xishuangbanna, will now be protected by a government- sponsored foundation in an effort to preserve the area’s extensive biodiversity. Located in the southwestern part of the Yunnan Province, the rainforest is home to a quarter of the country’s animal diversity, and one-sixth of the country’s plant species.
 
Annual output of electric vehicles to hit 1 million by 2020

China Daily (October 16, 2010)
The Ministry of Science and Technology has predicted the number of electric motor vehicles to reach one million units by 2020. Twenty-five cities have joined the pilot program launched in 2009, designed to promote energy-efficient and new-energy vehicles. Public transport vehicles have also been targeted as ways to promote the growth of the industry. A total of $1.28 billion has been invested in the industry since the launch of the program.

China invites tenders for first solar thermal power project
Xinhua (October 21, 2010)
China has begun accepting bids for its first solar thermal power plant located in Inner Mongolia. The 50 megawatt plant will be built on 100 hectares of uninhabited land, and is estimated to cost $240.5 million. The project was approved in 2007 by the NDRC, and will generate 120 million kwh of power.

20 killed in China mine blast

Daily News & Analysis (October 16, 2010)
Twenty workers were killed, and another 17 trapped underground, after a gas explosion hit a coal mine in China’s Henan Province. China’s mining sector is already considered the most dangerous in the world, accounting for more than 2,600 mining deaths last year alone. More than 1,000 small mining operations have been shut down in this year in efforts to improve mining safety standards.

(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.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

Contact NRDC Beijing at:
A1606 Building No. 1, G.T., International Center
Jia 3, Yongandongli, Jianguomenwai Ave., Chaoyang District
Beijing 100022, P.R. China
86-10-5879-4079

 

NRDC China Environmental News Alert, October 23-29, 2010

shared by Hilde Binford

China sets emission cuts as "binding goals" in 2011-2015 period
Xinhua (October 27, 2010)
In China’s recent Proposal for Formulating the 12th Five Year Program, officials will announce “binding” goals in the reduction on both energy consumption intensity and carbon emissions. Suggested initiatives to be addressed in the final drafting of the Five Year Plan include the development of a “recycling economy”, promoting the economic use of natural resources, and strengthening environmental and ecological protection. The proposal is widely seen as a blueprint in which the country’s development will follow for the next five years.
 
EU plans to clamp down on carbon trading scam
The Guardian (October 26, 2010)
The European commission has announced plans to act upon recent carbon trading scams, mostly in respect to Chinese HFC-23 projects. Over $2.5 billion have been allocated in permits under the EU emissions trading scheme. Chinese industrial gas companies were found to be manufacturing HFC-22 primarily to earn money from then destroying HFC-23 through carbon trading. Reform of the CDM carbon credits system is already slated to undergo a series of discussions in the upcoming Cancun climate conference.
 
Chinese CDM fund to have $1.5 billion for clean-energy projects by 2012

Bloomberg (October 22, 2010)
The China CDM Fund plans to double available funds for renewable energy projects to 10 billion yuan by 2012, adding 3 billion yuan by each year. As a government body, the fund raises money mainly through the revenue Chinese companies earn through selling CER credits. In addition, China also wants to begin a pilot program to test the effects of implementing an emissions cap on growth in selected cities or provinces.
 
Soaring coal prices set to hit power generators
China Daily (October 27, 2010)
Many state-owned power generators have been predicted to suffer fiscal losses due to rising coal prices, eroding profit margins for some of China’s largest energy producers. Reports of 50% losses have been reported by industry experts, with prices having risen 7% in the last month alone. Coal demand is expected to increase in the upcoming months, as cold weather creates a greater demand for heating.
 
Chinese smelter found leaking thallium into river

AFP (October 23, 2010)
Chinese officials have recently ordered a halt in production in one of China’s largest state-owned industrial conglomerates. Heavy traces of thallium were found in the nearby Bei River in Guangdong caused by sewage from a NONFEMET sewage treatment plant. Thallium is a highly toxic metal, and is known to have severe detrimental effects on the nervous system if consumed.

China's Three Gorges Dam reaches maximum capacity

Associated Press (October 27, 2010)
China’s Three Gorges Dam recently reached its maximum water level capacity, driving electricity output to full capacity for the first time since it began operations two years ago. With a peak height of 175 meters, many experts have warned that maintaining levels this high might carry heightened risks for landslides and damage to downstream ecosystems. This year, annual power generation will near 84.7 billion kwh.

China, Costa Rica Sign Environmental Accord

Latin American Herald Tribune (October 28, 2010)
Costa Rica and China have signed an environmental cooperation accord in efforts to promote environmental protection within national development. Costa Rica is second in the world in the Environmental Performance Index, and China is the world’s largest investor in absolute terms of renewable energy. The upcoming climate conference in Cancun was also addressed, and both parties agreed that “comprehensive and balanced” progress needed to be made in negotiations.
 
First carbon footprint labeling hits shelves
China Daily (October 24, 2010)
Zhangzidiao Fishery Group has initiated China’s first carbon footprint labeling for a food product, applying the newly approved label to its sea scallops. The label gives the number of grams of carbon per 100 grams of a product during its entire lifecycle. In 2009, the company produced 27,000 tons of scallops, or the equivalent of 7,337 tons of carbon dioxide.

China considers fuel-efficiency taxes and hikes gas prices

AOL DailyFinance (October 26, 2010)
Chinese officials have considered proposing a new law that will raise taxes on cars with larger engines and reduce taxes on vehicles that use clean, renewable energy. The proposed law could raise the cost of owning a car while keeping all other social repercussions at a minimum. There has been a discussion addressing a wide range of possible policy initiatives, as pollution and traffic have been at the forefront of problems facing Chinese urban areas.

Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed rail line to begin operations Tuesday

People’s Daily (October 22, 2010)
A new high-speed rail from Shanghai to Hangzhou will begin operations this week, cutting travel time between the two cities from an hour and a half to forty-five minutes. The 202-km long high speed line cost $4.4 billion to build, and began construction in February of 2009. This is one of the forty-two high-speed passenger rail lines to be built in China by 2012.

China develops indigenous turf grass to save water, green urban areas

Xinhua (October 22, 2010)
Chinese researchers have developed thirty varieties of drought-resistant grass from indigenous samples taken from Inner Mongolia. China currently imports 95% of their turf seeds from America and Europe, with over 10,000 tons imported annually. The dry seeds are more suited to dry, arid environments and only require a tenth of the water that imported turf needs. The turf is mainly designed to help green newly developing urban environments.
 
China to reduce vehicles during Asian Games

OneIndia (October 25, 2010)
With the opening of the Asian Games arriving, China has confirmed that it will restrict the use of 40% of the city of Guangzhou’s vehicles to curb pollution and traffic. Local officials will use the same system used during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, in which odd and even numbered license plates are assigned particular days. There will also be 1,000 more free public transportation vehicles added to the road in attempts to limit the impact on the daily life of residents.

Where cigarette butts mean money
China Daily (October 28, 2010)
The city of Xianyang in China’s Shaanxi Province has initiated a cash for cigarette butts drive in efforts to win the title of China’s National Health City title. The government will pay locals .05 yuan for each cigarette butt picked from the streets. In the past month, over 7 million cigarette butts have been collected, with 100,000 yuan having been distributed for 2 million butts. However, shortages in funds have kept the other 5 million from being paid. The drive will continue until the end of the December.
 
(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.
-



The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

Contact NRDC Beijing at:
A1606 Building No. 1, G.T., International Center
Jia 3, Yongandongli, Jianguomenwai Ave., Chaoyang District
Beijing 100022, P.R. China
86-10-5879-4079

 

November


 

NRDC China Environmental News Alert, October 30 - November 5, 2010

shared by Hilde Binford

China's energy consumption to be kept below 4.2 billion tons of coal by 2015
People’s Daily Online (October 31, 2010)
The director of China’s National Energy Administration announced that China’s primary energy consumption will be kept between 4 and 4.2 billion tons of standard coal by 2015. To achieve the country’s non-fossil fuel energies ratio and the carbon emissions per GDP reduction targets, coal consumption must remain below 4.2 billion tons in the next five years. Current per capita energy consumption stands at 2.5 million tons of coal per capita, and if left unchecked, that number could rise to 7 billion tons of coal consumed by 2030.

Pioneer of China environmental NGOs dies
Reuters (October 29, 2010)
Liang Congjie, founder of Friends of Nature, China’s first environmental NGO, passed away last Friday at the age of 78. Liang was known as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and began Friends of Nature in 1994. He has had an immense effect on “promoting ordinary Chinese participation in supervising pollution problems and protecting the environment.”

China to build world's fastest 510-km-long intercity high-speed rail line
Sify News (November 2, 2010)
China has recently approved a $10.6 billion high-speed railway linking the two western cities of Xi’an and Chengdu, and is slated to be the world’s fastest intercity high-speed rail. The train will run at a speed of 250 km/h, cutting down the usual 13 hour travel time to about 2 hours. The line is set to be completed in four years, and is being built to carry 70 million passengers annually.

China, Canada pledge co-operation on emissions reductions
The Montreal Gazette (October 29, 2010)
Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice signed a memorandum of understanding with China during his recent visit to Beijing, promising greater cooperation between the two countries in better protecting land, air and water. Details of the MOU include addressing national parks, biodiversity, and environmental emergencies. The two countries are celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations.

China to cut 2011 rare earth quota slightly
Reuters (November 2, 2010)
China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that rare earth export quotas will experience a slight cut from this year’s already lowered numbers. China already cut exports by over 40% from 2009 numbers, and claims to have done so in efforts to save the environment. Officials assert that slight cuts for next year will have a negligible affect on the overall amount of rare earths exported.

Russia begins oil pipeline shipments to China
Bloomberg (November 2, 2010)
Trial shipments of oil have been sent through the newly built 4,000 km pipeline running from Russia to China. The pipeline is expected to provide over 15 million tons of crude oil annually to China, though it has the capacity to handle twice that amount. The pipeline will continue to undergo a series of trials over the next two months, but will open for operation at the beginning of next year.

China quarantine bureau rejects U.S. corn cargo
Reuters (November 2, 2010)
Traces of unapproved genetically modified organisms have been found in a recent shipment of corn coming from the United States. Discovered in the port city of Chiwan, officials say traces of genetically modified elements that have not been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture were present, and the cargo was promptly returned to the United States. China is currently the world’s second largest consumer of corn.

Garbage floating in Three Gorges Dam collected after it threatens reservoir’s turbo generators

Global Times (November 2, 2010)
Workers have finished removing over 3,800 tons of garbage from the Three Gorges Dam after the dam’s water levels were recently raised to maximum capacity. The floating debris began threatening the operation of the dam’s hydropower turbo-generators, and took workers under a week to clear. A spokesman from the local environmental protection bureau ensures that the waste will be disposed of in an environmentally conscious manner.

UN chief urges China to continue reducing pollution, gap between rich and poor
Xinhua (November 1, 2010)
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed an audience at Nanjing University after receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Law, stressing China’s need to continue moving down the path of sustainable development and environmental sustainability. Ban commended the Chinese government’s efforts towards striving for these goals, but showed concern for China’s commitment for the future of the Kyoto Protocol.

Official blasts US 301 probe of Chinese clean energy policies
Xinhua (November 4, 2010)
A senior official from the China Chamber of International Commerce denounced the recent United States probe into Chinese protectionist policies in the domestic clean energy front. In response to the probe, China claims that American protection measures have been far more extensive, and now is the time to focus on bilateral cooperation in the sector, rather than throwing accusations.

China to sell 500,000 tons of zinc from reserves as power cuts lift prices
Bloomberg (November 3, 2010)
China will be selling over 500,000 tons of zinc from its national reserves in efforts to boost domestic supplies due to reduced production from recent power supply limits. China is currently the world’s largest producer of zinc, and the government hopes to stabilize zinc markets despite the recently passed energy saving initiatives.

Official claims giant pandas becoming less endangered
People’s Daily (November 3, 2010)
Deputy Director of the State Forestry Administration has asserted that giant pandas have been rebounding in number, and are currently less endangered than in the past. China currently has 62 giant panda nature reserves, with over 300 giant pandas being raised in captivity. Over 60% of giant panda habitats are protected by reserves, with 70% of wild populations living within the designated area.


(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.


The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has 1.2 million members and online activists, served from offices in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Beijing.

Contact NRDC Beijing at:
A1606 Building No. 1, G.T., International Center
Jia 3, Yongandongli, Jianguomenwai Ave., Chaoyang District
Beijing 100022, P.R. China
86-10-5879-4079



World News from China with Diane Sawyer

shared by Katie Desiderio