Sinica Podcast

01.27.16

Air Pollution and Climate Change

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Kaiser Kuo and David Moser are joined by Deborah Seligsohn, former science counselor for the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and currently a doctoral candidate at the University of California, San Diego, where she studies environmental...

Green Space

01.22.16

Sea Level Rise In Pictures, Cancer Villages Near Beijing

Michael Zhao
I think a big part of the reason why citizens of the world have not rallied to deal with climate change is the lack of a certain deadline that would warrant our immediate response to the grave consequences of our warming planet. There is no...

Environment

01.19.16

Is Industrial Farming a Tech-Fix or Dead End for Tackling Climate Change?

from chinadialogue
Researchers estimate that between 44 and 57 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) come from the global food system. Agriculture and deforestation caused by agriculture account for 26-33 percent of total emissions, making it a major...

Environment

01.11.16

Chinese Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels

from chinadialogue
A study by Climate Central, a non-profit news organization focusing on climate science, showed that 12 other nations have more than 10 million people living on land that would be destroyed should the earth’s temperature rise to 4 degrees Celsius.As...

Green Space

12.22.15

Nu River Saved, Jack Ma Buys Preservation Land

Michael Zhao
A great piece of news came from China on the night of December 16, that the Yunnan provincial government in southwest China has announced its decision to not develop hydro-electric projects on the Nu River, also known as the Salween (link in Chinese...

Another Kind of Climate Change: China Warms to Superpower Role

ANDREW BROWNE
Wall Street Journal
Paris talks gave a whiff of Beijing’s ambitions to lead—but critics fear that could upend status quo.

Green Space

12.15.15

China is ‘Rational’ Leader on Climate Change, Says Retired NASA Scientist James Hansen

Michael Zhao
James Hansen, retired NASA scientist and “father of climate change awareness,” believes China, the world’s largest CO2 emitter, will now step up to provide the carbon emissions reduction leadership lacking from the U.S., according to a Guardian...

Green Space

12.11.15

Tiananmen Police Don Smog Masks, Wind Makes or Breaks the Blue Sky

Michael Zhao
Now that Beijing has had its first red alert since institutionalizing its smog alert system in 2013, it was news when the special forces who guard Tiananmen Square were seen, for the first time, wearing face masks to protect them from the smog, too...

Why Pollution is Good for China

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
I am a member of a martial arts group that performs at annual temples fairs around Beijing.

Conversation

12.09.15

Is China a Leader or Laggard on Climate Change?

Isabel Hilton, Li Shuo & more
As ongoing climate talks wind down at COP21 this week, participants in and observers of the summit in Paris wrote in to share their assessment of the message coming from the official delegation from China, currently the world’s largest emitter of...

Green Space

12.08.15

Smog Strike Round II

Michael Zhao
Not surprisingly, smog yet again strikes back in much of China. Using the automatic weapon of our archive of daily photos of three of China’s major cities, I’d like to share a flashback of Beijing’s air quality throughout the month of November,...

Green Space

12.04.15

Green Activists Detained for ‘Prostitution,’ Yangtze Dolphins Rebound

Michael Zhao
Given that the Paris climate negotiations are underway, it is fair to start off with something about rising temperatures. This comes from a neat animation posted on Data Seeds’ WeChat Account that visualizes the warming trend within China’s borders...

China Has An Awful Safety Record — And Wants To Run 110 Nuclear Reactors By 2030

Emily Rauhala
Washington Post
The country will have 110 working nuclear reactors by 2030.

China Plans to Upgrade Coal Plants

EDWARD WONG
New York Times
China's cabinet announced that it would try to cut pollution from coal-fired power plants by 60 percent by 2020 through upgrades to plants...

Infographics

11.27.15

The Chinese Road to Paris 2015

Davide Vacatello & Valentina Caruso from Chinese Doodles
Beginning on November 30, Paris will host the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (COP21). Whatever progress is made toward the parties’ agreement on a path forward will depend in large...

Asia-Pacific Leaders See Trade as Solution to Economic, Security Troubles

TREFOR MOSS
Wall Street Journal
Leaders stay quiet on territorial disputes in South China Sea.

Obama Calls on Beijing to Stop Construction in South China Sea

MICHAEL D. SHEAR
New York Times
President Obama addressed the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Manila, where he discussed China, trade and climate change.

U.S., China Least Concerned About Climate Change

Agence France-Presse
China and the United States are the world's biggest polluters, but their residents are among the least concerned about the harms of climate change...

China Underreporting Coal Consumption by Up to 17%, Data Suggests

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Revelation may mean China has emitted close to a billion additional tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.

Environment

10.14.15

U.S.-China Announcement is the Most Significant Milestone to Date for Battling Global Climate Change

from Rocky Mountain Institute
The September 25 joint announcement by President Obama and President Xi represents the second time in two years the leaders have met to make significant climate commitments. Last year’s meeting focused on setting aggressive goals that reflect each...

China Is Working to Reach Its Emissions Peak Before 2030 Deadline, Analyst Says

Oliver Milman
Guardian
Qi Ye, director of public policy centre in Beijing, says China is showing ‘global leadership’ on climate change.

Environment

09.30.15

Less Snow in Tibet Means More Heatwaves in Europe

from chinadialogue
Recent summer heatwaves in Europe and northeast Asia have caused massive water shortages and a large number of deaths. But the mechanism behind these extreme weather events is not fully understood.Scientists at China’s Nanjing University of...

Chinese President Xi Jinping Will Arrive At The UN Armed With A List Of Things He Wants Changed

Richard Macauley
Quartz
Xi Jinping will make his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Obama, the Pope, and the President of China Are Teaming Up to Save the World

James West
Mother Jones
Something big and strange is happening in the United States this week.

Conversation

09.16.15

What Would New Breakthroughs on Climate Change Mean for the U.S.-China Relationship?

Junjie Zhang, Joanna Lewis & more
With just over a week to go before Chinese President Xi Jinping begins his first State Visit to the United States, there is much evidence to suggest that bilateral action to fight climate change is an area most ripe for meaningful Sino-U.S...

Environment

07.15.15

Scientists Call for More Emission Cuts

from chinadialogue
It is still possible to limit average global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius (2˚C) and avoid catastrophic climate change, but the remaining global carbon budget—the amount of carbon that can be safely released into the atmosphere if this...

Conversation

07.08.15

Are China’s Limits on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Meaningful?

Barbara A. Finamore, Sam Geall & more
Last week, Premier Li Keqiang said China would cut its “carbon intensity”—the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of GDP—to 60-65 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. Visiting Paris, the site in September of the United Nations Climate Change...

Paris Can’t Be Another Copenhagen

New York Times
The U.S. and China must rapidly increase collaboration on climate change both within and beyond the framework of the conference.

Traces II

Ian Teh
Granta
Few rivers have captured the soul of a nation more deeply than the Yellow River. Historically a symbol of enduring glory, a force of nature both feared and revered, it has provided water for life downstream for thousands...

Infographics

05.18.15

Submerged

Jeffrey Linn & David M. Barreda
Urban planner and cartographer Jeffrey Linn mapped a possible future for China’s coast, where some 43% of its population currently lives, when the earth's polar ice caps and glaciers have all melted and the sea rises if the planet’s temperature...

Books

04.30.15

Fantasy Islands

Julie Sze
The rise of China and its status as a leading global factory are altering the way people live and consume. At the same time, the world appears wary of the real costs involved. Fantasy Islands probes Chinese, European, and American eco-desire and eco-technological dreams, and examines the solutions they offer to environmental degradation in this age of global economic change.Uncovering the stories of sites in China, including the plan for a new eco-city called Dongtan on the island of Chongming, mega-suburbs, and the Shanghai World Expo, Julie Sze explores the flows, fears, and fantasies of Pacific Rim politics that shaped them. She charts how climate change discussions align with U.S. fears of China’s ascendancy and the related demise of the American Century, and she considers the motives of financial and political capital for eco-city and ecological development supported by elite power structures in the U.K. and China. Fantasy Islands shows how ineffectual these efforts are while challenging us to see what a true eco-city would be. —University of California Press{chop}

Can the US and China Save the World?

Shannon Tiezzi
Diplomat
The Department of Commerce emphasized Obama's commitment to fighting climate change through clean energy development...

Coal Boomtowns Fade as China Declares War on Pollution

Science
China is headed towards peak coal which means cities reliant on coal mining struggle.

Environment

03.19.15

World Coal Investments Increasingly Risky, Especially China’s

from chinadialogue
The investment case for coal-fired power is looking increasingly unconvincing, but more plants will need to be cancelled if the world is to avoid runaway climate change, a report published on Monday said.The report which was co-authored by green...

China’s Real Inconvenient Truth: Its Class Divide

Rachel Lu
Foreign Policy
Solving China's air and water pollution will require addressing the gap between rich urbanites and rural peasants...

China’s Coal Use and Estimated CO2 Emissions Fell in 2014 

Huffington Post
Glen Peters of the Global Carbon Project calculates that China's CO2 emissions have also fallen, by 0.7 percent, for the first time this century...

The Film That Is Going to Change China

peter Cai
Business Spectator
Chai Jing's stunning documentary on the smog problem was viewed more than 100 million times in little over two days...

Environment

02.23.15

Chinese Firms Must Act Decisively on Climate Change, Report Says

from chinadialogue
Chinese companies will need to cut direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of their operations by up to 2.7% a year if China is to stay on track with the level of action required to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, says a new report...

Environment

02.11.15

China’s New Environment Minister Has Work Cut Out For Him

from chinadialogue
The elevation of the president of China's most prestigious university to the job of government minister was unexpected. It is rare to bring in an academic without a goverment background. But given the tarnished reputation of a ministry that is...

Books

02.10.15

The People’s Republic of Chemicals

William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs
Maverick environmental writers William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs follow up their acclaimed Smogtown with a provocative examination of China’s ecological calamity already imperiling a warming planet. Toxic smog most people figured was obsolete needlessly kills as many as died in the 9/11 attacks every day, while sometimes Grand Canyon-sized drifts of industrial particles aloft on the winds rain down ozone and waterway-poisoning mercury in America.In vivid, gonzo prose blending first-person reportage with exhaustive research and a sense of karma, Kelly and Jacobs describe China’s ancient love affair with coal, Bill Clinton’s blunders cutting free-trade deals enabling the U.S. to "export" manufacturing emissions to Asia in a shift that pilloried the West's middle class, Communist Party manipulation of eco-statistics, the horror of cancer villages, the deception of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and spellbinding peasant revolts against cancer-spreading plants involving thousands in mostly-censored melées. Ending with China’s monumental coal-bases decried by climatologists as a global warming dagger, The People's Republic of Chemicals names names and emphasizes humanity over bloodless statistics in a classic sure to ruffle feathers as an indictment of money as the real green that not even Al Gore can deny.   —Rare Bird Books, A Vireo Book  {chop}

China’s Double-Edged Pact

Martin Adams
New York Times
Whether China is a climate hero or a climate villain is a matter of polarized debate. At one extreme, the world’s biggest carbon-emitter is portrayed as a wasteful bogeyman that obstructs efforts to halt global warming and “steals” clean-tech jobs...

Caixin Media

12.02.14

Clearing the Air With a Sino-U.S. Climate Pact

A long-anticipated, Sino-U.S. agreement aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions was announced on November 12 at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing.The deal marked a surprise turn toward compromise for the world's largest...

Viewpoint

11.21.14

What Will Make the U.S.-China Climate Deal Work

Mark Hertsgaard
Nearly everyone agrees that the U.S.-China climate announcement is a big deal, but most observers have overlooked what truly makes it a game-changer: if the world’s two climate change superpowers limit their greenhouse gas emissions, it will have...

Conversation

11.19.14

Was the U.S.-China Climate Deal Worth the Wait?

Deborah Seligsohn, Orville Schell & more
Last week, Ann Carlson and Alex Wang, environmental experts at UCLA Law School, called the November 12 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change "monumental." "No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the...

Environment

11.18.14

Four Reasons Why the U.S.-China Climate Statement Matters

from chinadialogue
The joint U.S.-China statement on climate change is both inspiring and historic. The two parties have sought common ground, set aside their differences, and put global interests first—as responsible great powers should.The agreement will have four...

Viewpoint

11.14.14

The Domestic Politics of the U.S.-China Climate Change Announcement

Ann Carlson & Alex Wang
The news from Beijing this week that the U.S. and China are committing to ambitious goals on climate change is, we think, monumental. No two countries are more important to tackling the problem than the largest carbon emitter over the past two...

China’s Coal Use Actually Falling Now (For the First Time this Century)

Lauri Myllyvirta
Greenpeace
The data suggests the world's largest economy is finally starting to radically slow down its emission growth, and it comes ahead of key talks next year on a new global climate and energy deal...

Environment

10.23.14

Tibetan Plateau Faces Massive ‘Ecosystem Shift’

from chinadialogue
Large areas of grasslands, alpine meadows, wetlands, and permafrost will disappear on the Tibetan plateau by 2050, with serious implications for environmental security in China and South Asia, a research paper published by scientists at the Kunming...

Environment

10.02.14

China ‘Not Ready to be a World Leader’ on Climate Change

from chinadialogue
The U.N. Climate Summit 2014 in New York last week passed, as expected, with public statements of intent but no sign of firm commitments to reducing climate emissions.If a deal is to be reached in Paris next year, at the latest “last hope” climate...

Photo Gallery

09.28.14

Traces

Ian Teh
One in five people in the world get their water from great Asian rivers linked to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in northwestern China. Here, beneath a gently undulating landscape, spring the headwaters of the Yellow River, which sweep three thousands...

Environment

09.25.14

New York Climate Summit Fails to Bridge Rich-Poor Divide

from chinadialogue
India reiterated its need to develop, China listed the steps it was taking and the United States repeated that all countries should control greenhouse-gas emissions.Despite notable advances in many areas, the special climate summit convened by...

Viewpoint

09.25.14

How Bad Does the Air Pollution Have to Be Before You’d Wear a Face Mask?

Stephanie Ho
“Mommy, why don’t I wear a face mask?” asked my nine-year-old daughter Maggie nearly every day during the first few weeks of school. Two of her expat classmates had been in Beijing less than a year, but it seemed as if they wore theirs all the time...

UN Climate Summit: China Pledges Emissions Action

BBC
China has pledged for the first time to take firm action on climate change, telling a UN summit that its emissions, the world's highest, would soon peak...

Obama Presses Chinese on Global Warming

Mark Landler and Coral Davenport
New York Times
Declaring that the United States and China—the world’s two largest economies and largest polluters—bear a “special responsibility to lead,” Mr. Obama said, “That’s what big nations have to do.”

China Surpasses EU in Per-Capita Pollution for First Time

Stefan Nicola
Bloomberg
If pollution continues at the current rate, the limit for carbon will be reached in 30 years, the scientists concluded in a report issued on the eve of a United Nations summit designed to step up the fight against climate change.

Conversation

09.19.14

China and Climate Change: What’s Next?

Angel Hsu & Barbara A. Finamore
Climate Week at the United Nations General Assembly is upon us and we asked a group of experts to bring us up-to-date about the areas where progress on climate change looks most possible for China, now the world's largest emitter of greenhouse...

China, the Climate and the Fate of the Planet

Jeff Goodell
Rolling Stone
If the world's biggest polluter doesn't radically reduce the amount of coal it burns, nothing anyone does to stabilize the climate will matter...

Environment

07.10.14

U.S.-China Climate Cooperation More Crucial Than Ever

from chinadialogue
As the governments of the United States and China meet in Beijing this week for the Sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), one area worth watching closely is clean energy and climate change cooperation. While this topic may...

Environment

05.07.14

Why China Will Fight for a Global Climate Deal Next Year

from chinadialogue
China is now the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, and so the world will pay close attention to its stance at next year’s climate negotiations in Paris, as well as to the kinds of actions it takes to tackle climate change post-2020...

Environment

04.16.14

Ten Steps to Cleaner Air in China’s Cities

from chinadialogue
Earlier this year, former San Francisco planning advisor Eugene Leong looked at the legacy of air pollution in San Francisco. Here he draws out ten key policy lessons for China's leadership.Recognize PM2.5 pollution as a complex problem that...