Issue 14, June 19th to June 25th, 2009


China’s environmental report is not too bad (Shanghaiist, 6/25/2009) The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently released a summary of its “State of the Environment” report, and if you haven't read it yet, it's even more exciting than the last Twilight book. To read the original MEP report in Chinese, it's over here. China Environmental Law blog gave the report a B-, so we thought we'd take a look at it ourselves.

Tori Zwisler of Roots and Shoots (Danwei, 6/25/2009) Tori Zwisler is the founding Executive Director of the Jane Goodall Institute – Shanghai, formed in 1999. The institute focuses primarily on the Roots & Shoots program which promotes environmental concern, care for animals and care for people among Shanghai’s youth.

When the environment becomes a trade issue (BNET, 6/24/2009) Is China is attempting to “steal” technology from the United States, or is it just asking for what it deserves? Politicians are clashing over whether developing countries should get free access to renewable energy and efficiency technology, or whether standard intellectual property laws should stand.

The State of China’s Environment: 2008 (China Environmental Law Blog, 6/24/2009) The Ministry of Environmental Protection released the English summary of its “State of the Environment” report earlier this month. We have read it so you won’t have to. Let’s first look at the ten achievements identified for 2008. Where interesting facts and figures were given, we have noted them.

‘Green cats’ bane of green policy (China Daily, 6/23/2009) Let's call it green corruption. Such corruption undermines China's environmental protection and threatens to tarnish its genuine green measures. It is the worst kind of corruption, for it endangers the life of the entire population.


What to do with used batteries? (China.org.cn, 6/25/2009) The recycling of used batteries is not a new topic to the Chinese public. But attitudes to the problems they pose might have to undergo some change.

Immbolised microbes break down phthalates: Chinese researchers make breakthrough (The Chemical Engineer, 6/24/2009) Scientists in China have discovered a microbe, which, when immobilised, can break down phthlalic acid esters (PAEs, also known as phthalates). PAEs are widely used as plasticisers in polymer production, particularly in PVC, but several studies have raised questions about their safety. Phthalates do not easily break down and so accumulate in groundwater, sediments, soils and waste water. They are believed to be carcinogenic and mutagenic, and in several countries the use of certain PAEs is restricted.

Study advises Chinese Government to change fuel in millions of households (ScienceDaily, 6/22/2009) Scientists in China are recommending that the Chinese government consider phasing out the direct burning of traditional chunks of coal in millions of households. It suggests that the government substitute coal briquettes and improved stoves for cooking and heating to help reduce the country's high air pollution levels.

Beijing’s Green Scene (Alibaba, 6/22/2009) You'd never run out of green networking opportunities in Beijing. Thankfully, mixes of expats and locals have wrapped environmentalism and socializing into one package of discounted drinks and offbeat venues.

Insect plague breaks out in Tibet (Global Times, 6/22/2009) An area of about 200 hectares in the Tibet Autonomous Region has been suffering a locust plague as a result of a continued drought, photo from Xinhua.

Cleaner coal: Fixing existing plants is crucial, MIT says (WSJ Blogs, 6/19/2009) The world—especially the U.S. and China—won’t be able to do anything meaningful on greenhouse-gas emissions unless it squarely tackles the coal question. That means now—not in the future. “There is today no credible pathway towards stringent GHG stabilization targets without CO2 emissions reduction from existing coal power plants,” the report begins.

What is the crop productivity and environmental impact of too much or too little fertilizer? (Mongabay.com, 6/18/2009) While the use of synthetic fertilizer has greatly increased agricultural production globally—helping to feed a global population that is not slowing down—it has brought with it high environmental costs. Fertilizer runoff has polluted many coastal regions creating ‘dead zones’ where the ocean is starved of oxygen by the influx of nitrogen. Synthetic fertilizers have also polluted the air with ammonia, and sent emissions of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.


Chinese iron ore producers face uncertain future (Seeking Alpha, 6/24/2009) UNCTAD has forecast that as much as 40% of Chinese domestic iron ore product could close down in the coming years due to rising costs locally, and lower freight costs internationally having made seaborne iron ore more competitive.

Chinese mainland new-energy vehicle goes into Taiwan (ChinaCSR, 6/24/2009) Beijing-based Foton Automobile Company has signed a sales contract with Taiwan Chengyun Automobile Company to provide 75 Euro V hybrid buses.

China opens bioenergy research centre (Biofuels International, 6/24/2009) The first bioenergy research centre has been opened in the Chinese city of Nanning, in southern Guangxi Zhuang’s Autonomous Region.

Asia’s highest steel tower in dark for 1 hour to save energy (Xinhua, 6/23/2009) Dragon Tower, a landmark building in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang province, went dim for an hour Sunday night to join other skyline towers in Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Tokyo and Seoul for energy saving.

China Yuchai International announces Hybrid Engine Developments (PRNewswire Asia, 6/23/2009) China Yuchai International Limited (NYSE: CYD) ("China Yuchai" or the "Company"), announced today that its subsidiary, Guangxi Yuchai Machinery Company Limited ("GYMCL"), is developing two new alternative energy diesel engines. One of them is a new dual fuel engine that utilizes a natural gas and diesel fuel mix which GYMCL is jointly developing with a Shenzhen-based company specializing in dual fuel technology. GYMCL is the first diesel engine manufacturer in China to successfully develop this type of dual natural gas and diesel mix engine.

Himfr.com analyzes environmental testing equipment market (PRNewswire Asia, 6/23/2009) Himfr.com, one of China's leading B2B search platforms with more than 30 B2B industry websites to its name analyzes the environmental testing equipment market in China.

Dow recognized as a Top 10 Sustainability Company in China (RosInvest.com, 6/23/2009) Dow China was recently recognized as a "Top 10 Energy Conservation and Emissions Reduction Corporations" at the Fourth China Summit on the Development of Circular Economy, part of the 2009 China Beijing International High-tech Industries Week.

Technip awarded contract for a 800,0000 tons/year liquefied natural gas plant in China (Mining Top News, 6/22/2009) Technip has been awarded by Ningxia Hanas Natural Gas Company Ltd, a lump sum contract for of a mid-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant to be built in Yinchuan, China.

Energy efficient treatment process helps municipalities meet new class 1A wastewater standards in China (Japan Corporate News, 6/22/2009) The VertiCel Process, an advanced biological nutrient removal technology from Siemens Water Technologies, has seen increased recognition in the Chinese municipal wastewater market. North China Municipal Engineering Design & Research Institute (NCMEDRI) and Tianjin Municipal Engineering Design & Research Institute (TMEDI) have recently accepted the process technology and selected it for their respective municipal wastewater treatment plant up-grade projects

Oil slicks poisoning China’s Bohai Sea (Reuters India, 6/22/2009) Oil spills from pipelines and ships and illegal dumping of waste from the production of crude are polluting China's northeastern Bohai Sea, a senior marine official said on Monday.


China will review planned damn that threatens fish (AP, 6/25/2009) China's environment ministry said Thursday that it has ordered an ecological assessment for a proposed Yangtze River dam that conservationists fear could threaten hundreds of fish species and drive the giant Chinese sturgeon into extinction.

China commits to offshore renewable energy (China Daily, 6/24/2009) China is planning to construct a number of 10 GW wind power bases in the coming years, in a bid to further boost the development of the country's renewable energy industry, the country's top energy official said recently.

Sino-Arab energy co-op mechanism to be built (Xinhua, 6/24/2009) China and 22 Arab nations agreed to establish a cooperative mechanism on energy resources, according to an outcome document approved by the sixth senior officials' meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum here Wednesday.

Woodland plans halted over fears of land shortage (Shanghai Daily, 6/24/2009) China has halted a program of letting marginal farmland return to woodland because of fears that the country's arable land area could fall below a "red line" needed to feed its people, a vice minister said yesterday.

China considers legislation on environmental protection of sea islands (Xinhua, 6/23/2009) China's top legislature Monday began to discuss a draft law intended to step up conservation and environmental protection of offshore islands.

China suspends reforestation project over food shortage fears (Guardian, 6/23/2009) Food shortage fears have prompted the Chinese government to suspend the reforestation of marginal arable land, a senior government official said today. The sacrifice of a key environmental restoration project for crop production highlights the growing problem of feeding the world's biggest population as cities expand into farmland and urban residents consume more meat and vegetables.
Study: China’s Olympic effort to curb smog had little effect (Christian Science Monitor, 6/23/2009) If a new study is any indication, China’s efforts to control pollution during the Olympics were rather ineffective. The Chinese government made Herculean efforts to ensure that the air quality in Beijing during the 2008 summer Games would meet World Health Organization standards. Colleague Peter Ford wrote about those efforts at the time.

China increases cigarette levies to curb smoking (Wall Street Journal, 6/23/2009) China has raised levies on cigarettes, according to the official Xinhua news agency, in a move touted by some state media as an effort to curb smoking. It's not clear how much of an impact the tax increases will have, however, in a country with more smokers -- roughly 350 million -- than the U.S. has citizens.

Turning grey to green (China Dialogue, 6/23/2009) A recent project helped Chinese city mayors learn valuable lessons in sustainable development, reports Sun Xiaohua.

A sea change in China’s attitude toward carbon capture (New York Times, 6/22/2009) When European and Chinese scientists first agreed to collaborate on capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and storing it underground, China's entire carbon capture and sequestration "team" was composed of two Tsinghua University graduate students. Less than five years later, the landscape is markedly different. China's first near-zero-emissions coal plant won state approval this month -- an apparent formality, since construction already is far under way. Two other pilots are in the works, including one in Inner Mongolia that could be the largest sequestration project in the world. Conferences on carbon capture in China now routinely feature high-level government and industry leaders.

New carbon tech, not raft of legalities (China Daily, 6/22/2009) With the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December, pressure is mounting for countries to be clear about their commitments, but Corrado Clini, Italy's director general of the Ministry for Environment, Land and Sea, does not think a legal agreement is a suitable option for China.

Hangzhou plans world’s first low-carbon museum (People’s Daily, 6/22/2009) Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province is planning to construct the world's first low-carbon science and technology museum. The museum will be located in the Hangzhou Hi-Tech Industry Development Zone (Binjiang District). With a construction area of 16,718 square meters and total building area of 33,656 square meters, this museum will open to the public in the first half of 2011 according to an initial plan.

World’s greatest polluters meet in Mexico for climate talks (redOrbit, 6/22/2009) The U.S. summoned environment ministers from the world's largest polluters to meet in Mexico today to expedite a key United Nations climate accord. The U.S. and China, the most industrialized nations, are listed as the greatest environmental offenders.

Asia-Pacific nations urged to expand cooperation for low-carbon economy (Xinhua, 6/20/2009) Asia's first regional low-carbon forum kicked off here Friday with a call for more cooperation among Asia-Pacific nations in the development of a low-carbon economy.

Nuclear power emerges as green option for Asia (Xinhua, 6/20/2009) Nuclear power is emerging as an option key source of "green energy" for most developing Asian countries, in order to stem the spike in greenhouse gas emission which came along way with the region's economic success, experts who participated in a Manila forum said.

China’s Rail Plans: Awesome or Awful? (Far Eastern Economic Review, 6/19/2009) The Guiyang-Guangzhou rail line is but one small part of China's massive efforts to spur continued economic growth through infrastructure development -- with a large segment dedicated to expanding the nation's passenger and freight railway networks. This particular piece of the stimulus puzzle is an 857-kilometer double-track, electrified rail that, taken in isolation, probably would cause quite a stir.

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