‘Greening’ of China

Updated 14 December, 2015

China is woefully aware of its status as the world’s biggest carbon emitter – and is doing a lot about it

China’s main defence is that in per capita terms it is still a modest emitter and that there should be two standards, one for developed and the other for developing nations.

Carbon emission 2014: 1 China, 2 US, 3 India, 15 UK

Per capita emission 2014:  3 US, 14 UK, 11 China, 20 India

Despite opinion that China contributed significantly to the failure of the  Copenhagen climate change summit (others would argue it was the US that wrecked it. But that’s another story. In any case there is strong Chinese-US collaboration on green issues and technology), it is not sitting on its hands.

BTW – if you remember China’s collective memory of the century of humiliation and being forced to sign unequal treaties, it will go some way to explain why it will not be coerced into any ‘unfair’ treaty, but needs to be persuaded that it is not unfair. Giving China a bad name only reminds it of the Ah Q storyand makes it more resolute not to sign.

The 2015 Climate Change Summit in Paris resulted in what supporters are calling a historic achievement, 196 nations attending the COP21 climate meetings outside Paris voted to adopt an agreement Saturday that covers both developed and developing countries. Their respective governments will now need to adopt the deal.

Presenting the plan aimed at curbing global warming ahead of Saturday’s vote, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the delegations, “You go into this room to decide a historic agreement. The world holds its breath and it counts on you.”

The agreement, which was publicly released Saturday morning (ET), sets the goal of limiting the world’s rise in average temperature to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Reporting on details of the deal, NPR’s Christopher Joyce says, “To help developing countries switch from fossil fuels to greener sources of energy and adapt to the effects of climate change, the developed world will provide $100 billion a year.”

He adds that the 1.5-degree cap was sought by island nations.
chinese jump

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For an easy to read and assimilate book on the reality of pollution and the effects of industrialisation in China, read When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China will save Mankind – or destroy it,  which is written as a personal travelogue from ‘Shangri-La’ in Yunnan in the south to ‘Xanadu’ on the steppes of Inner Mongolia by environmental journalist, Jonathan Watt.


China knows what is wrong and is doing a lot about it

It carried out a national pollution census that took two years and 570,000 staff. In 2011, 20 most seriously polluted cities in the world, 16 are found in China. But by 2014, 15 of the most polluted cities are in India – http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/these-are-the-15-most-polluted-cities-in-the-world–WJdghGA4fe/ Not because the Chinese cities have become cleaner, but because India’s continued industrialisation has made their cities dirtier.

40% of Chinese rivers are polluted. There are increasing cases of birth defects and increased illnesses due to pollution where industrialisation or old coal-powered generators run.

It escaped a major loss of face when the Beijing Olympics were not as smog bound as some Cassandra’s were predicting. Much of the pollution of China’s water, soil and air has been caused by the desire of local governments to compete against other authorities and regions for natural resources and meet production targets. Corruption has also produced a flood of illegal, or semi-illegal, small-scale but highly-polluting plants being set up throughout the country.

Some local authorities are imposing draconian rules. For example, Beijing has restricted the total number of new car licence plates to 150,000 for 2014. This is against an actual 720,000 new licences in 2010! There are also restrictions on rush hour ban for non-Beijing registered vehicles and movement of cars to particular days of the week. Four other cities have similar schemes: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Guiyang and Tianjin.

Extracted from “Eco-civilization: China’s blueprint for a new era interpreting outcomes from china’s latest leaders conference” – http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/China-Ecocivilisation.pdf

“The 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its Third Plenary session (Third Plenum) in Beijing from November 9-12, 2013. This important conference attracted considerable domestic attention because of the Committee’s powerful role in shaping the country’s direction, and because important reform announcements were anticipated. The conference also drew significant international interest as the outcomes provide key insights to the policy guidelines and priorities that China’s new leadership are now expected to adopt. The session put forward a broad reform package covering the economy, politics, culture, society and the new concept of ‘eco-civilization’. This coverage of all sectors and subjects–plus an unprecedented level of detail–puts this 18th Central Committee conference on a par with the historic third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee conference in 1978. This session famously launched the major ‘Reform and Opening-up’ policy of Chinese leader and reformist, Deng Xiaoping. a thorough implementation of all the reform objectives that were determined by this latest conference, will have a profound impact on the future development of China.

“The Key Messages from that event are:

— The latest meeting, in November, of China’s powerful 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China produced a set of outcomes that, if fully implemented, could have a profound impact on China’s economic and environmental future.
— China has now reached a point where major reform is needed to deal with the economic, environmental and social problems created by the economic model that has delivered its spectacular economic growth of the past 30 years.
— Implementing the government’s ‘eco-civilization’ concept as a cross-cutting element in all areas of reform will be a key part of how China addresses many of