Officials in the Chinese city of Tangshan have announced they will be intensifying enforcement efforts to reduce local air pollution after two weeks of especially heavy smog across northern China.
On January 6, China notified the Mekong River Commission (MRC), whose Member States include Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, that it would be holding back the Mekong’s water flow for 20 days. China’s statement on the matter was delivered one day after the new U.S.-funded Mekong Dam Monitor found that disruptions to the river’s water level caused by operation of China’s Jinghong Dam had begun on December 31.
Last Tuesday, while addressing the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jingping shocked global observers with a bold announcement: China has promised to strengthen its commitments under the Paris Climate Accords, declaring that it will achieve peak emissions before 2030 and full carbon neutrality by 2060 (Reuters).
The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically increased reliance on single-use plastics, resulting in a plastics pollution crisis faced by many countries around the world. A French environmental nongovernmental organization recently released a video showing masks and gloves littering the seabed of the Mediterranean Sea.
Recent social isolation and travel restriction measures imposed by countries including China and Italy have led to a significant decline in air pollution. Lockdown measures affecting 35 million people in China began in January.
A recent coronavirus outbreak in Asia has been linked to illegal wildlife trade in a seafood market in Wuhan, China, according to Chinese government officials (The Guardian). The virus has killed at least 25 people and sickened over 800 in Asia, as well as one person in the United States who had recently traveled to Wuhan.
While most of the world works to reduce reliance on coal, China has expanded its coal-powered generation to a level equal to the generating capacity of the European Union. According to a United States-based research group, Global Energy Monitor, China raised its coal-firing capacity by 42.9 gigawatts (gW), or 4.5%, in the last 18 months. In the same period, the rest of the world cut its coal power capacity by 8.1 gW. Coal plants currently under construction in China add another 121.3 gW—enough to power all of France.
The Supreme People's Court, China's supreme court, is planning to establish a national environmental fund this year. The fund, which would use money collected in fines from polluting firms to help pay for environmental restoration, is being established in response to proposals from delegates of China's parliament. The court is currently engaging in discussions with other government departments to draft rules that clarify how the fund should be used.
China's environment ministry has announced a new plan to tackle illegal lead recycling and increase the collection rate of lead acid batteries for recycling to 70% by 2025. It is estimated that the country produces around 3.3 million tons of waste lead batteries every year, and less than 30% of the batteries are properly recycled. Under the new plan, companies that produce recycled lead from waste batteries will be entitled to preferential tax policies.For the full story, see https://www.nasdaq.com/article/china-plans-crackdown-on-illegal-recycli….
On January 10, China's top planning agency announced plans to launch a series of subsidy-free wind and solar projects this year to address an $18 billion payment backlog. The projects will generate renewable power for sale at the same prices as non-subsidized coal-fired power plants and will not be required to comply with capacity quota restrictions. According to the National Development and Reform Commission, the new policy will further boost income from solar projects by cutting land costs and promoting new market mechanisms like green certificate trading.