Environment

03.04.15

Clearing Skies

Adam Minter from Sierra Club
After dark is when the pollution arrives on the outskirts of Shanghai. On a bright night, when moonlight refracts through the smog, you can see black clouds of soot pouring out of small workshop smokestacks silhouetted against the sky. In case you...

Reports

03.04.15

A Vital Partnership

Asia Society
As the two largest global emitters of greenhouse gases, China and the United States share the challenge of transforming each of their current fossil fuel–based energy systems into clean twenty-first-century energy systems that remain cornerstones of...

Conversation

03.03.15

Why Has This Environmental Documentary Gone Viral on China’s Internet?

Angel Hsu, Michael Zhao & more
[Updated: March 6,  2015] Our friends at Foreign Policy hit the nail on the head by headlining writer Yiqin Fu's Monday story "China's National Conversation about Pollution Has Finally Begun." What happened? Well, in the...

Caixin Media

03.03.15

Can Market Mechanisms Clear China’s Air?

The Chinese government recently responded to rising public discontent over environmental degradation by introducing tougher rules for industrial emissions.Meanwhile, a non-governmental organization and a state-run newspaper are coordinating a...

Beijing Quietly Curbs Discussion of Documentary on Air Pollution

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
Censors stepped in to tamp down the buzz around an air-pollution documentary that drew 100 million views. 

Pollution Documentary ‘Under the Dome’ Blankets Chinese Internet

Te-Ping Chen
Wall Street Journal
Pollution Documentary ‘Under the Dome’ Blankets Chinese Internet http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2015/03/02/pollution-documentary-under-the-dome-blankets-chinese-internet/

China Orders Two Local Governments to Punish Polluting Steel Mills

Ruby Lian
Reuters
That could pile pressure on mills already struggling with weak demand-growth as the world's No.2 economy loses momentum...

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...

Reports

03.02.15

China’s Long March To Safe Drinking Water

Hongqiao Liu
China Water Risk
China’s central government set ambitious goals to safeguard water quality in 2011, at the outset of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). Those goals targeted improvements from source-to-tap, earmarking a budget of nearly RMB 700 billion (U.S.$112...

Reports

03.01.15

China’s Elusive Shale Gas Boom

Zhongmin Wang
Paulson Institute
China’s natural gas market is expected to see robust growth over the next decade. This is a function of several factors. First, as part of the country’s effort to effect an energy transition to cleaner fuels, natural gas is viewed as a viable bridge...

Excerpts

02.25.15

The Sun Kings

Mark L. Clifford
In 1992, Shi Zhengrong completed his doctorate and found himself an expert in a field that wasn’t quite ready for him. He’d studied physics at Australia’s University of New South Wales, focusing on crystalline technology, the basic scientific...

Books

02.25.15

The Greening of Asia

Mark L. Clifford
One of Asia's best-respected writers on business and economy, Hong Kong-based author Mark L. Clifford provides a behind-the-scenes look at what companies in China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand are doing to build businesses that will lessen the environmental impact of Asia's extraordinary economic growth. Dirty air, foul water, and hellishly overcrowded cities are threatening to choke the region's impressive prosperity. Recognizing a business opportunity in solving social problems, Asian businesses have developed innovative responses to the region's environmental crises.{node, 13216}From solar and wind power technologies to green buildings, electric cars, water services, and sustainable tropical forestry, Asian corporations are upending old business models in their home countries and throughout the world. Companies have the money, the technology, and the people to act—yet, as Clifford emphasizes, support from the government (in the form of more effective, market-friendly policies) and the engagement of civil society are crucial for a region-wide shift to greener business practices. Clifford paints detailed profiles of what some of these companies are doing and includes a unique appendix that encapsulates the environmental business practices of more than fifty companies mentioned in the book.  —Columbia Business School Publishing  {chop}

Reports

02.25.15

Double Impact

Valerie J. Karplus
Paulson Institute
This paper makes the case for establishing a national CO2 price in China as soon as possible. End-of-pipe pollution control technologies—a core component of China’s Air Pollution Action Plan (APAP)—can address local air pollution but not CO2...

China Looks West to Bring ‘Wolf Totem’ to Screen

New York Times
French director Jean-Jacques Annaud was reportedly long-banned from China for “his 1997 film "Seven Years in Tibet."...

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...

Commodities Explained: China’s New Normal

Henry Sanderson
Financial Times
China has been the most important factor in commodities demand in the past decade.

Is Chinese Corporate Behavior Improving in Africa?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
The list of grievances against Chinese companies operating in Africa is long and varied, from violations of labor rights to environmental destruction to widespread allegations of corruption. Although it is hard to tell how many companies are truly...

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...

Reports

02.11.15

It’s Time to Peak

Ecofys
World Wildlife
Without additional efforts, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will continue to increase by 3.7 – 4.8 °C, a level well beyond the 2 °C temperature rise limit widely agreed among scientists and governments across the world as a limit above which...

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}

Large South China Sea Gas Field Discovered South of Hainan

Xinhua
The China National Offshore Oil Corp has identified over 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas at the Lingshui 17-2 gas field.

Environment

02.05.15

Parched Beijing’s Olympics Bid Based on Fake Snow

from chinadialogue
Where better for a Winter Olympic Games than famously arid north China?Drought and a fast growing economy have created water shortages so severe that China’s government has spent more than a decade, and up to U.S.$80 billion, constructing 2,400...

Reports

02.01.15

China’s Water-Energy-Food Roadmap

Susan Chan Shifflett, Jennifer L. Turner, Luan Dong, Ilaria Mazzocco, Bai Yunwen
Wilson Center
The water-energy-food nexus is creating a complicated challenge for China and the world. Energy development requires water. Moving and cleaning water requires energy. Food production at all stages—from irrigation to distribution—requires water and...

Environment

01.28.15

China to Appoint Academic as New Environment Minister

from chinadialogue
The head of Beijing’s Tsinghua University is likely to be appointed to the top environmental job in in China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, according to reports, as the country’s leadership moves to defuse public anger about worsening air,...

Environment

01.23.15

China’s Air Pollution: The Tipping Point

Michael Zhao
Last November, Beijing saw a stretch of solidly clear skies and the Chinese media coined a phrase to describe them: APEC blue. After the diplomats and businesspeople gathered in China’s capital for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum...

Chinese Director’s Film For Greenpeace Shows How Smog Changes Everything

Matt Sheehan
Huffington Post
The film follows families from Hebei, in heavily polluted industrial northern China, and from Beijing, the prosperous Chinese capital next door, that has seen epic pollution emergencies recently.

Environment

01.21.15

‘New Measures Needed’ To Take China’s Cars Off the Roads

from chinadialogue
As air pollution once more soared to hazardous levels last week in Beijing, in Washington a panel of Chinese and other international experts explained some of the solutions to taking cars off the roads in the world’s most populous country, but there...

Vets Battle to save Stricken Panda in Shaanxi

Huang Zhiling
China Daily
Vets are racing to treat a 5-year-old panda diagnosed with canine distemper at the Shaanxi Rare Wildlife Rescue and Breeding Research Center.

Environment

01.16.15

Can the Potato Help Feed China, Cut Pollution, and Alleviate Drought?

from chinadialogue
The Ministry of Agriculture’s move to make potatoes an increasingly important staple in Chinese kitchens, including the propagation of recipes that rely on the humble tuber, at first glance might appear slightly odd and surprising.The potato has...

China Pollution: Beijing Smog Hits Hazardous Levels

BBC
BBC
Pollution has soared to hazardous levels in Beijing, reaching 20 times the limit recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Environment

01.15.15

China-Latin America Summit ‘A Missed Opportunity’ on Low-Carbon Energy

The first major meeting of Chinese and Latin American leaders agreed closer cooperation on trade, investment, and industry, but is more likely to usher in deals on oil and gas rather than renewable energy, analysts said in response to a summit that...

Environment

01.09.15

China’s Polluters Hit with Biggest-Ever Fines

from chinadialogue
Two days before a new environmental law came into effect, six polluting companies in Jiangsu were ordered by the province’s highest court to pay 160 million yuan ($26 million) in restoration costs for illegally dumping almost 25,000 tons of chemical...

Environment

01.07.15

A Post-Mortem on Jack Ma’s Hunting Trip

from chinadialogue
In 2014, just before the U.S. IPO of his company Alibaba, Jack Ma became caught up in a debate sparked by a hunting trip he took to the U.K.. My colleagues and I at chinadialogue had an idea: rise above that debate and look at the facts.The U.K...

China to Boost Support for NGOs That Sue Environment Polluters

Feifei Shen
Bloomberg
The nation will work to reduce court charges for NGOs in public non-profit environmental litigation, according to a statement on the website of China’s Supreme People’s Court. Defendants will be required to pay court costs when plaintiffs win...

China Might Be Killing Off a Pikachu-Like Animal For No Reason

Kayla Ruble
Vice News
The animated yellow rodent-like character, Pikachu, from the Pokémon video game and TV franchise, is not a total work of fiction. In fact, many believe the creature is based off of a small mousey animal found in China known as a pika.

China Cities Crack Down on Illegal Cabs Using Car-Hailing Apps

Bonnie Cao
Bloomberg
The Chinese capital will impose fines of as much as 20,000 yuan ($3,200) each on 41 unauthorized vehicles that offered rental services via the apps, CNR said Jan. 7.

Reports

01.06.15

Rebalancing China’s Energy Strategy

Damien Ma
Paulson Institute
At a high-level meeting of China’s top finance and economics body in June 2014, President Xi Jinping called for a sweeping energy revolution in China, centered on five areas: demand, production, technology, institutional governance, and global...

Myanmar Returns to What Sells: Heroin

Thomas Fuller
New York Times
A decade ago, Myanmar seemed on course to wipe out the opium fields and heroin jungle labs along its eastern border, the notorious Golden Triangle.

Other

12.30.14

A Look Back at 2014

It’s hard to believe, but ChinaFile is almost two years old. It’s been an exciting year for us, and, as ever, an eventful year for China. It was a year of muscular leadership from Xi Jinping, who has now been in office just over two years and who...

Video

12.15.14

Down to the Countryside

Sun Yunfan & Leah Thompson
The world has heard much of late about the scale and scope of China’s mass migration from the poor rural countryside to its booming cities. Some think the number of these migrant workers will soon reach some 400 million souls. They have created...

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...

China’s Water Diversion Project Starts to Flow to Beijing

Jonathan Kaiman
Guardian
The project has roots in an offhand comment by Mao Zedong who, on an inspection tour in the early 1950s, said: “The south has plenty of water, but the north is dry. If we could borrow some, that would be good.”

Environmental Filmmakers Have Rare Impact in China

Louise Watt
Associated Press
One clip shows a girl swatting flies from a younger child among piles of trash. Another has children blowing up used medical gloves like balloons. The footage is on the computer screen of Wang Jiuliang as he edits his second film about waste harming...

Environment

12.05.14

The Great Lake in Danger

Wilfredo Miranda Aburto & Carlos Herrera from Confidencial
Southwest of the Maderas volcano, where the Rivas coast is a line fading into the distance, Lake Cocibolca’s inmensity is on prominent display: breezes softly comb stretches of water that are seemingly endless. Sonar has marked this as the deepest...

Environment

12.05.14

A Catastrophe for Nicaragua’s Great Lake

Carlos F. Chamorro from Confidencial
Eighty years old, with more than a dozen books on national geography and natural resources to his name, he is the most authoritative voice in the country on environmental issues. Jaime Incer Barquero, former Minister of the Environment and Natural...

Environment

12.04.14

Indian Critics of Tibet’s First Dam ‘Exaggerating’ Dangers

from chinadialogue
Tibet’s first major dam, the Zangmu hydropower station, started generating electricity at the end of November. This prompted complaints from Indian media that Chinese dam building on the Yarlung Zangbo River could reduce water flow and cause...

Barack Obama “Would Not Want Your Kids Growing Up in Beijing”

Steven Schwankert
Beijinger
Ouch. It was bad enough when Louis CK described Beijing as a "giant Dayton, Ohio" on David Letterman's show, following his visit to our fair city for a secret performance...

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...

Environment

11.26.14

The People’s Republic of Chemicals

from chinadialogue
The name of China is almost obscured by a grey smudge on the title page of The People’s Republic of Chemicals, and this image proves to be apt.  This book examines the crisis caused by toxic&...

Despite Persecution, Guardian of Lake Tai Spotlights China’s Polluters

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
ZHOUTIE, China — By autumn, the stench of Lake Tai and the freakish green glow of its waters usually fade with the ebbing of the summer heat, but this year is different. Standing on a concrete embankment overlooking a fetid, floating array of...

Caixin Media

11.24.14

At Factory Waste Ponds, Fumes Choke Fantasies

Deep in the Tengger Desert, near a community of cattle herders about 700 kilometers west of Beijing, pipes from a complex of coal processing and chemical factories once spewed slimy wastewater into six ponds.The "evaporation ponds" were...

Sinica Podcast

11.22.14

Banned but Booming: Golf in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Despite China's legal moratorium on the development of the golf industry, a policy driven by concerns over illegal farmland seizures and the potential misallocation of agricultural land and water resources, the golf industry has experienced an...

Report: Chinese Diplomats & Officials Tied to Ivory Trade in Africa

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
A recent report by the U.K.-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) alleges Chinese diplomats and officials have been directly involved in the ivory trade in Africa. Most damaging, the EIA reports that even some members of visiting Chinese...

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...

In Step to Lower Carbon Emissions, China Will Place a Limit on Coal Use in 2020

Edward Wong
New York Times
In theory, coal consumption might increase beyond 2020, but some researchers say economic trends show the rate of growth in coal use slowing in coming years and peaking about 2020.

In China, Even Creating a Pollution Tracking App Is a Risky Business

Steven Millward
Tech in Asia
It was mid-October 2011, and the air quality in Beijing was quite bad, as you may imagine. It came to my mind that if we could check the air quality on our phones and receive pollution notifications, that would be quite helpful and handy. After some...

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...