Environment

03.11.14

It’s Time to Cooperate on the Yarlung Tsangpo

Isabel Hilton from chinadialogue
This is part of a special series of articles produced by thethirdpole.net on the future of the Yarlung Tsangpo river—one of the world’s great transboundary rivers—which starts on the Tibetan Plateau before passing through India and Bangladesh.The...

Beijing Buys a Waste Management Company to Solve Its Pollution Problems—But It Won’t Work

Adam Pasick
Quartz
Beijing’s municipal government controls its own infrastructure company, the Beijing Capital Group, which means it can spend $798 million to buy New Zealand’s biggest waste management company.

Happy and Unhappy in China

James Fallows
Atlantic
The new video “Happy in Beijing,” shot over the past few days of worse-than-ever airpocalypse in Beijing, is worth noticing for several reasons.

Environment

03.05.14

Should China Follow in America’s Factory Farming Footsteps?

from chinadialogue
The scale of growth in China’s meat production over the past three decades is staggering. Today, one-third of the world’s meat is produced in the country and half of all pigs live there. While per capita consumption may still be below the U.S. and...

China Must Reduce ‘Unbearable’ Smog, Government Adviser Says

Bloomberg
China's air pollution has reached intolerable levels and the country should aggressively cut its reliance on coal, according to the government’s climate-change adviser...

Environment

02.28.14

Citizen Sues Local Government for Failing to Curb Air Pollution

from chinadialogue
Although residents in Northern China are no strangers to dirty air, a man from the smog-enshrouded Hebei province has decided to take the local environmental authority to court for failing to control air pollution.Li Guixin, a resident in Hebei’s...

Conversation

02.27.14

How Responsible Are Americans for China’s Pollution Problem?

David Vance Wagner, Alex Wang & more
David Vance Wagner: China’s latest “airpocalypse” has again sent air pollution in Beijing soaring to hazardous levels for days straight. Though the Chinese government has made admirable progress recently at confronting the long-term air pollution...

Environment

02.26.14

South-North Water Transfer ‘Not Sustainable,’ Official Says

from chinadialogue
The $62 billion South-North Water Transfer Project would be rendered irrelevant if one-third of buildings in Beijing could collect more rainwater and recycle more wastewater, according to a Chinese ministerial official. The remarks made by Qiu...

Environment

02.20.14

Pollution Tax Suggested for Wealthy Chinese Fleeing for Greener Pastures

from chinadialogue
Environmental problems have become an important factor causing the rich to leave China—but one academic has now suggested that they should first pay an environmental levy. Chen Guoen, a professor at Wuhan University, said that some Western...

Environment

02.19.14

Water Pollution: More Difficult to Fix Than Dirty Air?

from chinadialogue
Although China’s air pollution keeps making headlines, its water pollution is just as urgent a problem. One-fifth of the country’s rivers are toxic, while two-fifths are classified as seriously polluted. In 2012, more than half of China’s cities had...

Environment

02.12.14

China Unlikely to Reduce Coal Use in the Next Decade

from chinadialogue
Coal will account for no less than sixty percent of China’s total energy use in the next decade, said Zheng Xinye, an energy economist at Renmin University. Currently, coal accounts for seventy percent of China’s total energy consumption. The...

U.S. Targets Buyers of China-Bound Luxury Cars

Matthew Goldstein
Deal Book
A Florida businessman buys new cars that typically retail for $55,000 to $75,000 in the United States and resells them in China for as much as three times those prices.

Caixin Media

02.11.14

Local Governments Aim for Lower GDP Growth This Year

Most of the local governments that have announced their GDP targets for this year aimed lower than they did in 2013, citing the need to rebalance the economy and improve the quality of growth. Many missed their growth targets last year.The...

Feasts for the Eyes, and the Palatte, in Xian, China

Perri Klass
New York Times
On the “Muslim Street” in the Chinese city of Xian stands a bronze tableau in honor of street food.

Chinese Factories Are Ordered to Release Data on Real-Time Emission Levels

Chrstina Larson
Businessweek
In a sign of progress for the environment and information transparency, China's central government in January ordered 15,000 large and small factories to make real-time data about air and water pollution public...

Environment

02.05.14

China’s Future Energy Security Will Depend on Water

from chinadialogue
When we think about water use we think about the water we drink, but we also need water to grow food, generate electricity, make our clothes, and extract minerals. In short, water drives the economy. In China, ninety-seven percent of electricity...

Books

02.05.14

By All Means Necessary

Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi
In the past thirty years, China has transformed from an impoverished country where peasants comprised the largest portion of the populace to an economic power with an expanding middle class and more megacities than anywhere else on earth. This remarkable transformation has required, and will continue to demand, massive quantities of resources. Like every other major power in modern history, China is looking outward to find them.In By All Means Necessary, Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi explore the unrivaled expansion of the Chinese economy and the global effects of its meteoric growth. China is now engaged in a far-flung quest, hunting around the world for fuel, ores, water, and land for farming, and deploying whatever it needs in the economic, political, and military spheres to secure the resources it requires. Chinese traders and investors buy commodities, with consequences for economies, people, and the environment around the world. Meanwhile the Chinese military aspires to secure sea lanes, and Chinese diplomats struggle to protect the country’s interests abroad. And just as surely as China’s pursuit of natural resources is changing the world—restructuring markets, pushing up commodity prices, transforming resource-rich economies through investment and trade—it is also changing China itself. As Chinese corporations increasingly venture abroad, they must navigate various political regimes, participate in international markets, and adopt foreign standards and practices, which can lead to wide-reaching social and political ramifications at home.Clear, authoritative, and provocative, By All Means Necessary is a sweeping account of where China’s pursuit of raw materials may take the country in the coming years and what the consequences will be—not just for China, but for the whole world. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Taiwan: The Winner in the China-Japan Row?

Jens Kastner
Al Jazeera
Dispute between two powers results in unexpected benefits for tiny Taiwan's fishing industry...

In China’s War On Bad Air, Government Decision to Release Data Gives Hope

Simon Denyer
Washington Post
China’s Communist state is hardly known for its transparency. So when environmental groups appealed for official air pollution data, they were not expecting much.

Media

02.03.14

‘Chicken Fart Decade’: GDP Vs. Smog

Chinese media have debated why January saw pollution so extreme it closed schools and airports, chased away foreign tourists, and even prompted a ban on Lunar New Year’s fireworks. It’s likely that a substantial portion of this smog is caused by...

Reports

02.01.14

Food Safety in China: A Mapping of Problems, Governance and Research

Jennifer Holdaway and Lewis Husain
The Social Science Research Council
Food safety has become an issue of great concern in China over the last few years. Media reporting has tended to focus on extreme cases of poisoning from food additives or contamination by heavy metals, but food safety encompasses a wide range of...

Environment

01.30.14

This Chinese Filmmaker Can’t Stop Talking Trash

Sun Yunfan
Documentary filmmaker and photographer Wang Jiuliang spent four years, between 2008 and 2011, documenting over 460 hazardous and mostly illegal landfill sites around Beijing.His award-winning film Beijing Besieged by Waste (2011) provoked intense...

Environment

01.29.14

Banned Toxins Found in Kids’ Clothes Made in China

from chinadialogue
Toxic chemicals have been found in children’s clothes sold by Burberry, Adidas, Disney, and nine other brands, according to a report published by the campaign group Greenpeace. These chemicals can be ingested via hand-to-mouth contact, and then...

Mass Slaughter of Vulnerable Shark Species in China, Wildlife Group Says

Didi Kirsten Tatlow
New York Times
600 whale sharks are being slaughtered annually at a factory near Wenzhou for foreign and domestic use. 

Caixin Media

01.27.14

Time for Overhaul of China’s Land Market

The expected launch of land reform is dividing opinions. At a work meeting this month, the Minister of Land and Resources, Jiang Daming, said the central government would limit land supply in cities with more than five million residents. His words...

Beijing Population Tops 21 Million

Xinhua
This includes an estimated increase of 100,000 senior citizens every year until 2020. 

Environment

01.21.14

Real-time Air Quality Data Due from 179 Chinese Cities

from chinadialogue
More than 170 cities in China have now joined a real-time air quality disclosure scheme, initiated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.Launched in 2012, more than sixty cities had started publishing data from their monitoring stations by the...

Beijing Air Pollution At Dangerously High Levels

Associated Press
The PM2.5 density was calculated at 26 times higher than what is considered safe by the WHO. 

Books

01.16.14

Debating China

Nina Hachigian (Editor)
America and China are the two most powerful players in global affairs, and no relationship is more consequential. How they choose to cooperate and compete affects billions of lives. But U.S.-China relations are complex and often delicate, featuring a multitude of critical issues that America and China must navigate together. Missteps could spell catastrophe.In Debating China, Nina Hachigian pairs American and Chinese experts in collegial “letter exchanges” that illuminate this multi-dimensional and complex relationship. These fascinating conversations—written by highly respected scholars and former government officials from the U.S. and China—provide an invaluable dual perspective on such crucial issues as trade and investment, human rights, climate change, military dynamics, regional security in Asia, and the media, including the Internet. The engaging dialogue between American and Chinese experts gives readers an inside view of how both sides see the key challenges. Readers bear witness to the writers’ hopes and frustrations as they explore the politics, values, history, and strategic frameworks that inform their positions. This unique volume is perfect for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of U.S.-China relations today.—Oxford University Press{chop}{node, 4406, 4}

Environment

01.15.14

Why Low-Carbon Innovation Matters

Sam Geall from chinadialogue
It came as little surprise when Beijing’s environmental authorities reported in early January last year that the capital’s levels of PM2.5 (a measure of air pollution) were more than double the national standard. The past year saw no end to the smog...

Chinese Drivers Pollute Without Guilt

Adam Miner
Bloomberg
Chinese demand for private transportation soars while air-quality plummets. 

Environment

01.08.14

The Drying Up of China’s Largest Freshwater Lake

from chinadialogue
When Jiang Minsheng moored his fishing boat on the eastern shore of Jiangxi’s Poyang Lake in November last year, he didn’t expect to it to be marooned. The fisherman’s village is on an island in the middle of the freshwater lake, once China’s...

China on World’s ‘Biggest Push’ for Wind Power

David Shukman
BBC
A project planning to double the number of wind turbines in the next six years prompts analysists to question the actual influence of wind power in the region.  

Slowly, Asia’s Factories Begin to Turn Green

Mike Ives
New York Times
Despite a lack of legal restriction, foreign companies in Asia are beginning to set up environmentally sustainable factories to their financial benefit. 

Sinica Podcast

01.03.14

Birds of Beijing and the Air They Fly In

Jeremy Goldkorn & Terry Townshend from Sinica Podcast
This week, Sinica responds to the fevered requests of the Azure-Winged Magpie society with a show all about birding in Beijing. And why not? Because despite the air pollution that wracks our fair city, Beijing remains one of the best places in the...

Environment

01.03.14

Predictions for China’s Environment in 2014

from chinadialogue
From dead pigs in the Shanghai river to toxic smog in major cities, 2013 was a year of dramatic environmental stories in China. We asked some of our contributors for their predictions on how these and other stories are likely to develop in the...

Other

12.26.13

2013 Year in Review

As the year draws to a close, we want to take a moment to look back at some of the stories ChinaFile published in 2013. We hope you’ll find something that interests you to read—or watch—over the holidays.It’s hard to remember a recent year that didn...

Environment

12.23.13

Project to Save South China Tigers in South Africa Lost in Wilderness

from chinadialogue
The Laohu Valley Reserve sits on a rolling plain about 200 kilometers from Bloemfontein, South Africa’s judicial capital. In September 2003, two South China tigers were sent to the reserve from a Chinese zoo. What began as an effort to save the...

Environment

12.18.13

Fines Won’t Solve China’s Smog Problem

from chinadialogue
Eight municipal governments in northeast Liaoning province have together received 54.2 million yuan (U.S.$8.9 million) in fines for failing to reach air quality standards—the first time a provincial government has imposed financial penalties on...

Environment

12.12.13

China’s Coal Industry at a Crossroads

from chinadialogue
Times are getting rough for Wang Guangchun, a ten-year veteran sales manager of a state-owned coal company.“During the golden era of the past, clients came to find me,” Wang said. “Starting last year, we had to go looking for them.”Wang is employed...

If You Can't Beat the Shanghai Smog, Change the System

Adam Minter
Bloomberg
As the smog that has choked Shanghai for much of the last week reached hazardous levels, the city’s environmental authority adjusted standards downward to ensure that there won’t be so many frequent  air-quality alerts.

China: Here Are Some Great Things About Toxic Air

Emily Rauhala
Time
China's state-run TV tries to put a positive spin on toxic haze. Nice try, guys, nice try...

Media

12.11.13

Pollution Has ‘Five Surprising Benefits,’ says State TV, but Chinese Unamused

Polluted air is a fact of life for many Chinese citizens, and it’s currently smothering parts of the country—but that’s not all bad, according to one state media outlet’s widely-ridiculed attempt at positive spin. A recent bout of noxious smog has...

Environment

12.05.13

Daoism, Confucianism, and the Environment

from chinadialogue
In September, an unusual environmental organization was launched in one of the most ancient and significant sites in China—the Songyang Academy, Dengfeng, Henan. Founded in the eleventh century AD, this was one of the four Confucian Academies of...

Books

12.03.13

Junkyard Planet

Adam Minter
When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter—veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner—travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment. Minter takes us from back-alley Chinese computer recycling operations to high-tech facilities capable of processing a jumbo jet’s worth of recyclable trash every day. Along the way, we meet an unforgettable cast of characters who’ve figured out how to build fortunes from what we throw away: Leonard Fritz, a young boy “grubbing” in Detroit’s city dumps in the 1930s; Johnson Zeng, a former plastics engineer roaming America in search of scrap; and Homer Lai, an unassuming barber turned scrap titan in Qingyuan, China. Junkyard Planet reveals how “going green” usually means making money—and why that’s often the most sustainable choice, even when the recycling methods aren’t pretty. With unmatched access to and insight on the junk trade, and the explanatory gifts and an eye for detail worthy of a John McPhee or William Langewiesche, Minter traces the export of America’s recyclables and the massive profits that China and other rising nations earn from it. What emerges is an engaging, colorful, and sometimes troubling tale of consumption, innovation, and the ascent of a developing world that recognizes value where Americans don’t. Junkyard Planet reveals that we might need to learn a smarter way to take out the trash.—Bloomsbury Press{chop}

Environment

11.27.13

Life in the Shadow of the Mekong Dams

from chinadialogue
This is the second in a two-part special report on the resettlement rights of villagers displaced by dams along the Mekong (Lancang) River. Part one is an analysis of how China’s resettlement policies are playing out on the ground. Part two, below,...

Environment

11.21.13

Displaced by the Mekong Dams

from chinadialogue
This is the first in a two-part special report on the resettlement rights of villagers displaced by dams along the Mekong River.From far away, Kang Lianghong and his wife look like little white dots, zig-zagging their way down the steep hillside...

If You Think China’s Air Is Bad...

Damien Ma and William Adams
New York Times
China’s more than 4,700 underground water-quality testing stations show that nearly three-fifths of all water supplies are “relatively bad” or worse. Roughly half of rural residents lack access to drinking water that meets international standards...

Environment

11.12.13

China’s Urban Dilemma

Isabel Hilton from chinadialogue
After nearly three decades of rapid urbanization, China’s official and unofficial city dwellers outnumber its farmers. More than 400 million people have already moved into cities in the past thirty years, and in 2011 China crossed the threshold of a...

How China Profits From Our Junk

Adam Minter
Atlantic
The son and grandson of scrap metalists, reporter Adam Minter traveled throughout the world to investigate how what we discard—and reuse—helps drive the global economy. 

Reports

11.11.13

Reimagining China’s Cities

Isabel Hilton, et. al.
Isabel Hilton
chinadialogue
After nearly three decades of rapid urbanisation, China’s official and unofficial city dwellers outnumber its farmers. China’s urbanisation counts as the biggest and fastest social movement in human history, a movement that has turned Chinese...

N.A.S.A. Satellite Images Reveal the Terrifying Extent of China’s Air Pollution

Ellie Zolfagharifard
Daily Mail
Satellite images provided by N.A.S.A.’s Suomi satellite give a new, even more horrifying face to the awful air pollution that is plaguing China. 

Suck It and See

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/...
Guardian
There are many theories on how China could best tackle its air pollution problem: it could shutter its factories, upgrade its emissions standards or, according to one Dutch artist, it could simply suck up the haze...

Books

10.28.13

In Line Behind a Billion People

Damien Ma, William Adams
Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having thirty-five years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity.{node, 4231}Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy—and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose”—but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear—whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen. —Pearson{chop}

Excerpts

10.28.13

Stark Choices for China’s Leaders

Damien Ma & William Adams
One Beijing morning in early November 2012, seven men in dark suits strode onto the stage of the Great Hall of the People. China’s newly elected Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Chairman Xi Jinping stood at the center of the ensemble, flanked on each...

Conversation

10.22.13

Why’s China’s Smog Crisis Still Burning So Hot?

Alex Wang, Isabel Hilton & more
Alex Wang:On Sunday, the start of the winter heating season in northern China brought the “airpocalypse” back with a vengeance.Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province and home to 11 million people, registered fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution...

Government Offers 5 Billion Yuan to Fight Pollution

Zheng Jiran
China Daily
 The 5 billion yuan will help create an incentive for the designated regions to meet their air pollution reduction targets, to invest in pollution control and to aid their efforts to reduce airborne pollutants.  

Caixin Media

10.15.13

Sip of Death Plagues River Villages

Cancer is claiming fewer lives these days, and Dr. Wang Shiren says he’s been caring for a steadily declining number of patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders.Yet a decades-long health calamity continues to grip Huangmengying, a Henan...

Hebei Calls a Provincial Meeting to Address Atmospheric Pollution

Zhou Yingjiu
China Environmental News
In an effort to reduce pollution, a conference in Hebei province has vowed to cut coal consumption by 40 million tons by 2017, relative to 2012.

Environment

10.07.13

The Battle Over Ecuador’s Oil Takes New Twist

from chinadialogue
The announcement by Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, that he has abandoned a ground-breaking scheme stopping oil operations in the Amazon has led to a wave of protests across the country and speculation about why it failed.The stated aim of the...