China CO2 Emissions May Have Peaked in 2014: Study

David Stanway
Reuters
China's carbon emissions may have peaked in 2014, putting Beijing under pressure to toughen climate pledges perceived as too lax...

Green Space

02.29.16

The Odd Shapes of PM2.5

Michael Zhao
A recent episode of “Approaching Science,” a CCTV documentary series, discussed the smog that’s been choking the mainland for the past few years. The show interviews scientists and laypeople to paint a comprehensive picture of the challenges that...

Environment

02.22.16

China’s Wind Power Overtakes the E.U.

from chinadialogue
China has overtaken Europe to become the world’s biggest producer of wind power after its domestic sector grew by 60 percent last year.Following a government-backed drive to build new wind farms, China’s installed capacity now totals 145.1 GW,...

Why Reducing Ivory Demand in China Will Not Curb Poaching in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
“When the buying stops, the killing can too,” reads the popular slogan that WildAid uses in its anti-ivory campaign to raise awareness in China. WildAid, along with most Western environmentalists, contend that curbing demand in China for ivory is...

Features

02.18.16

The Bamboo Bicycles of Chengdu

Sascha Matuszak
The shift in how Chinese prefer to get around means salespeople in China have to market bicycles as fashion accessories, rather than as reliable modes of transportation. This is where colorful custom-made fixed gear bicycles come in. Hipsters from...

A New Class of Chinese Migrants

Ma Liang
Slate
Pollution is one of the top three reasons cited by wealthy people for leaving the country for good.

Green Space

02.16.16

Gorging on Gadgets

Michael Zhao
Documentary filmmaker Sue Williams is finishing up her latest documentary about our beloved electronic gadgets, Death By Design. I was involved in the project and traveled with Williams to south China’s Guangdong province, to the the town of Guiyu,...

Green Space

02.04.16

Rescuing China’s Abused Animals

Michael Zhao
We start with a heartwarming note, which I recently heard about in a New Year’s greeting from Animals Asia, a NGO started by Jill Robinson, originally from the U.K., in Chengdu to rescue Asian bears from their torture-chamber-like cages throughout...

Green Space

01.27.16

Kunming’s Stinky Lake, Beijing’s Saving Winds

Michael Zhao
Lake Dian in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province, suffered greatly when, in the 1950s, Chairman Mao Zedong called on the Chinese people to “conquer nature” and reclaim land by filling lakes with soil.Nowadays, Dianchi, as it’s...

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...

Green Space

01.14.16

Waking the Green Tiger

This documentary—available in full on ChinaFile throughout January courtesy of filmmaker Gary Marcuse—follows a group of environmental activists trying to prevent the construction of dams on the Nu (Salween) and the Upper Yangtze (Jinsha) rivers in...

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...

Conversation

01.06.16

The North Korean Bomb Test—What's Next?

Barbara Demick, Jonathan D. Pollack & more
On Wednesday, North Korea claimed that it had tested a hydrogen bomb, bringing to four the number of nuclear weapons it has set off on its own territory since 2006. The act drew international condemnation, prompting us to ask: What’s different this...

Video

12.30.15

Drinking the Northwest Wind

Sharron Lovell & Tom Wang
Like so many of Mao’s pronouncements, it sounded simple. “The South has a lot of water; the North lacks water. So if it can be done, borrowing a little water and bringing it up might do the trick.” And thus, in 1952, the spark was lit for what would...

Chinese Official Vows Punishment Over Shenzhen Landslide

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Ma Xingrui expressed remorse during a televised news conference five days after dirt and waste smothered buildings and buried 75 people.

Conversation

12.23.15

China in 2016

Andrew J. Nathan, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian & more
What should China watchers be watching most closely in China in 2016? What developments would be the most meaningful? What predictions can be made sensibly?

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...

Sinica Podcast

12.17.15

Out of Africa: the Swifts of Beijing

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
With amazing research now suggesting that Beijing swifts, the tiny creatures most residents pass by without noticing, are some of the most well-travelled birds on the planet, averaging an astonishing 124,000 miles of flight in their lifetimes,...

‘China is Doing More to Protect Elephants than Africa [Is]’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For the first time in years, there is positive news to report in the fight to save Africa’s elephants from extinction. A new study by Save the Elephants revealed that the price of ivory in China has halved over the past 18 months, indicating that...

Green Space

12.16.15

Ivory Price Has Halved, But No Celebration Yet

Michael Zhao
International NGOs such as Save the Elephants have shared the great news that the price of ivory has decreased by almost 50 percent over the past year and a half, thanks to successful campaigns by NGOs in educating the public, and also to...

Media

12.15.15

The Proletariat Experience of Beijing’s Airpocalypse

On December 8, a Tuesday, a man surnamed Cao piloted his electric scooter along Beijing’s profoundly hazy streets, parking in front of one towering apartment complex after another to deliver packages. Although the government had just issued a “red...

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...

China to Receive $300m Loan to Combat Pollution Levels

BBC
The ADB said that poor air quality had reached such a serious level that it was "jeopardising health and sustainable growth"...

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...

Green Space

12.11.15

Saving Elephants No Tall Order for Yao Ming

Michael Zhao
Chinese Internet giant Tencent teamed up with international NGO The Nature Conservancy to launch a campaign to promote December 2015 as Elephant Loving Month in China. The following animated short illustrates the toll human greed for ivory takes on...

Polluted Skies Heighten Challenge for Chinese Government

EDWARD WONG
New York Times
Red has been considered the color of prosperity and good fortune in China for centuries, and it is also the color of the Communist Party.

Amid China’s Smog Worries, One More: Counterfeit Masks

VANESSA PIAO
New York Times
The customs authorities in Shanghai have seized nearly 120,000 counterfeit surgical masks.

Books

12.10.15

Pacific

Simon Winchester
Following his acclaimed Atlantic and The Men Who United the States, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature.As the Mediterranean shaped the classical world, and the Atlantic connected Europe to the New World, the Pacific Ocean defines our tomorrow. With China on the rise, so, too, are the American cities of the West coast, including Seattle, San Francisco, and the long cluster of towns down the Silicon Valley.Today, the Pacific is ascendant. Its geological history has long transformed us—tremendous earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis—but its human history, from a Western perspective, is quite young, beginning with Magellan’s sixteenth-century circumnavigation. It is a natural wonder whose most fascinating history is currently being made.In telling the story of the Pacific, Simon Winchester takes us from the Bering Strait to Cape Horn, the Yangtze River to the Panama Canal, and to the many small islands and archipelagos that lie in between. He observes the fall of a dictator in Manila, visits aboriginals in northern Queensland, and is jailed in Tierra del Fuego, the land at the end of the world. His journey encompasses a trip down the Alaska Highway, a stop at the isolated Pitcairn Islands, and a trek across South Korea and a glimpse of its mysterious northern neighbor.Winchester’s personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives. —HarperCollins{chop}

Environment

12.10.15

Global Carbon Emissions May Stall in 2015

from chinadialogue
Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas as well as from industrial activities grew by just 0.6 percent in 2014, according to researchers from the Global Carbon Project of the organization Future Earth.The researchers say...

As U.S. and Europe Pass the Hat at Climate Talks, China Clings to Developing-Nation Status

KEITH BRADSHER and CORAL DAVENPORT
New York Times
This week, China is crying poverty.

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.

Caixin Media

12.09.15

Progress for NGOs Battling Polluters in Court

Two environmental groups have become the first non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in China to win a lawsuit that champions nationwide battles against polluters on behalf of the public. A court in Nanping, a city in the southeastern province of...

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,...

Why Pollution is Good for China

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
I am a member of a martial arts group that performs at annual temple fairs around Beijing. Half of our group are children, and almost without fail they meet at a park on the west side of town at around three in the afternoon to practice fighting...

Beijing Issues Air Pollution Red Alert for the First Time

Bloomberg
Beijing issued its most severe smog warning for Tuesday.

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...

Green Space

12.03.15

Smog and Imagination

Michael Zhao
The last few days of November, air pollution was back in the headlines and social media feeds of millions of Chinese. Here are a few highlights:The creative WeChat post “Beijing Smog: Use Your Imagination When You Go Out,” shows a series of photos...

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...

China's Blast of Fresh Air Quiets Calls for Beijing Mayor's Head

Bloomberg
A cold front that swept choking smog from northern China couldn’t have come sooner for Beijing’s mayor.

Sinica Podcast

12.01.15

Live at the Bookworm, Part II

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
This is the second part of the Live Sinica discussion recorded last month during a special event at the Bookworm literary festival. In this show, David Moser and Kaiser Kuo were joined by China-newcomer Jeremy Goldkorn, fresh off the plane from...

Putting China’s Coal Consumption Into Context

Qi Ye
Brookings Institution
Few issues are more likely to provoke interest about China.

Green Space

11.30.15

China’s Joking on Smog

Michael Zhao
In the world of Chinese air pollution, there’s a new kid on the block. Shenyang, the northeastern stronghold of heavy industry and manufacturing since the Mao era, last week saw its levels of PM2.5 pollution shoot past 1000 and register a whopping...

Beware of China's Safety Record

Murong Xuecun
New York Times
Chinese people have paid heavily for a flawed system. Now that Chinese-style construction and management are going global, what price is the world prepared to pay?

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...

Conversation

11.24.15

The China Africa Relationship: Crossroads or Cliff?

Cobus van Staden, Eric Olander & more
As we approach the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit in Johannesburg, we try better to understand the main issues that surely will arise when Chinese President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma meet on December 4...

Environment

11.20.15

China Remains a Rocky Road for Electric Cars

from chinadialogue
Recent revelations about Volkswagen’s emissions have focused attention on the environmental damage caused by the auto and fuel industries—and the need for a decisive shift towards genuinely green transport that can cut smog in the world’s major...

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.

China and Myanmar Face New Relationship

Jane Perlez
New York Times
Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, had won most of the 491 seats contested in the election, with results still trickling in.

Environment

11.11.15

China’s Bottled Water Industry to Exploit Tibetan Plateau

from chinadialogue
Tibet wants to bottle up much more of the region’s water resources, despite shrinking glaciers and the impact that exploitation of precious resources would have on neighboring countries.This week, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s government released a...

China Decries Shenyang Pollution Called 'Worst Ever' by Activists

BBC
On Sunday pollution readings were about 50 times higher than that considered safe by the World Health Organization.

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.

Reports

11.04.15

Special Data Release with Revisions for People’s Republic of China

International Energy Agency
In September 2015, the National Bureau of Statistics of China published China’s energy statistics for 2013, as well as revised statistics for the years 2000 to 2012. NBS supplied the IEA with detailed energy balances for 2011 to 2013 and using these...

Environment

10.30.15

China’s Stalk-Burning Clampdown Shows Limits of Command-and-Control

from chinadialogue
At the end of the National Day holiday earlier this month, Beijing bid farewell to weeks of relatively good air quality and experienced another episode of “Airpocalypse.” Levels of PM2.5, tiny pollution particles that are deemed particularly harmful...

Apple to Power its Vast China Operations With Renewable Energy

John McGarrity
chinadialogue
The US tech giant’s plans to generate over 2GW of low carbon electricity at its China operations could speed up the greening of the ‘world’s workshop’