Reports

04.01.15

Can Fracking Green China’s Growth?

Ilmi Granoff, Sam Pickard, Julian Doczi, Roger Calow, Zhenbo Hou, & Vanessa D’Alançon
Overseas Development Institute
This paper analyses the best available technical, scientific, and engineering literature on the risks and opportunities posed by shale gas, and also what policy environment could maximise the opportunity and minimise the risk. It also analyses China...

Reports

04.01.15

Can Carbon Taxes be Good for China and the United States?

Antung Anthony Liu
Paulson Institute
One way that China may meaningfully control its emissions is through the recent idea of a national carbon permit trading system, building on its carbon permit pilot programs. In China’s case, the internal debate about promulgating these actions...

Environment

03.26.15

China Court to Hear NGO Lawsuit Targeting Polluter’s Profits

from chinadialogue
An environmental group has filed a lawsuit for 30 million yuan (U.S.$4.8 million) to seek compensation from a Shandong chemical company for pumping out harmful substances—a legal action thought to be the first public interest litigation for air...

Skiing Is the Latest Obsession for China’s Wealthy

Wall Street Journal
Winter sports are catching on as Beijing bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Car-Hire Services Compete for the Ride Stuff

Qin Min and Wang XInci
Uber's deal with a car broker is a sign of growing competition among firms relying on car-hire and taxi-hailing apps...

Seeing Through the Smog

Wenjuan Zhang
China Open Research Network
Potential impacts of the documentary Under the Domes on China’s Civic Participation.

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 Carbon Emissions Decline as 2014 Global CO2 Stays Flat

Reed Landberg
Bloomberg
New data from the International Energy Agency a sign that efforts to control pollution are gaining traction.

Environment

03.11.15

China’s Polluted Soil and Water Will Drive up World Food Prices

from chinadialogue
China’s push for more intense farming has kept its city dwellers well-fed and helped lift millions of rural workers out of poverty. But it has come at a cost. Ecosystems in what should be one of the country’s most fertile regions have already been...

Media

03.09.15

China’s Real Inconvenient Truth: Its Class Divide

Rachel Lu
China is talking about its pollution problem, but its equally serious class problem remains obscured behind the haze. Smog leapt to the forefront of Chinese national discourse after the February 28 release of "Under the Dome," a 103-minute...

Under the China Dome – A Reality Check

Cao Yaxue
China Change
China’s left foot wants to go north, and China’s right foot wants to go south. Both feet have the same goal, and, that is, to maintain the one-party rule.

Sinica Podcast

03.09.15

Under the Dome

Kaiser Kuo, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
Under the Dome, Chai Jing's breakout documentary on China's catastrophic air pollution problem, finally hit insurmountable political opposition last Friday after seven days in which the video racked up over 200 million views. The eventual...

China Blocks Web Access to ‘Under the Dome’ Documentary on Pollution

Edward Wong
New York Times
The drama over the video has ignited speculation over which groups supported it and which sought to kill it.

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...

Environment

03.05.15

Beijing Says Panda Population Up 17%, But Experts Doubtful

from chinadialogue
China's claims that its population of wild giant pandas rose around 17% in just over a decade are being disputed by some experts, who point out that the latest census was over a much wider area than the previous one.The giant panda, a global...

In Beijing, Political Pomp Abounds as China Kicks off 'Two Meetings'

Julie Makinen
Los Angeles Times
The dual sessions do telegraph the general national agenda for the coming year.

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...