Posts tagged ‘Environmental protection’


China hopes novice environment chief will be breath of fresh air | Reuters

One year after “declaring war” on pollution, China has appointed an inexperienced outsider as its new environment minister tasked with breathing life into a massive clean-up campaign that even optimists say will take decades to complete.

A woman covers her nose and mouth with her scarf amid heavy haze, as she rides a bicycle at the Pudong financial area in Shanghai, February 12, 2015.  REUTERS/Aly Song

Beijing has vowed to reverse the damage done to its skies, rivers and soil during China’s three-decade dash for growth, putting its under-resourced environment ministry under pressure to deliver results.

Leading that drive will be Chen Jining, 51, an environmental scientist and president of China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, who was appointed the country’s Minister of Environmental Protection on Friday.

As China’s annual parliament opens this week, Chen will need to show an increasingly angry public that the environment remains one of the top priorities, while reassuring thousands of regional delegates that there is still room for economic growth.

via China hopes novice environment chief will be breath of fresh air | Reuters.


Growth Not Good Enough: Chinese City Changes the Rules – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Fast growth is no longer the fast track on the official career path.  At least that’s what the city of Shenyang is trying to tell its Communist Party cadres.

According to the People’s Daily, the Shenyang government is changing its rating system for officials, lowering the scores for economic development and GDP growth while adding points for “reform and innovation” and  environmental protection (in Chinese).

Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province and the largest city in northeastern China, used to be the home of the nation’s iron and steel industry and was best known for its forest of smokestacks and chimneys. Now the city is hoping to reduce its dependence on heavy industry and erase its reputation for soot and smog.

The newspaper said that “food and drug safety” and “public health and safety” will be added to improving people’s livelihood, increasing employment and ensuring housing security in the calculations of which officials get promoted – and which fall behind.

An official at the municipal government confirmed that the change had been made though he was unable to provide further details on the actual scoring system.

China’s Communist Party chief Xi Jinping said in November last year that China could no longer “choose its heroes according to economic growth records alone.” Improvements in daily life, social progress, environmental protection and other indicators all had to be taken into account, he added.

Premier Li Keqiang, speaking at the annual session of parliament in March, also tried to address mounting public concerns over the pollution that has accompanied economic growth by saying that China was no longer chasing fast growth at any price. He said employment was now the government’s top concern.

Chen Haibo, mayor of Shenyang, has echoed those sentiments.

“The threshold for environmental protection will be much higher this year,” he said at a meeting of the local legislature early this year.

The mayor also noted that Shenyang’s economic growth target would be 9% this year – its lowest level in over a decade. Last year, growth in Shenyang came in at 10%, down from 11% the previous year, according to the provincial government’s official news site.

China has some of the best environmental laws on the planet, but the rewards for breaking them have long outweighed the penalties. If Shenyang follows through, and other cities follow suit, it could be very good news for China’s environment.

via Growth Not Good Enough: Chinese City Changes the Rules – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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China protects key river sources – Xinhua |

China plans to strengthen the environmental protection of the Sanjiangyuan region of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, the source of important rivers.

With an average altitude of 4,000 meters, Sanjiangyuan, which means \”source of three rivers\” in Chinese, lies in the hinterland of west China\’s Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and is home to China\’s biggest and highest wetlands ecosystem. (The place where the world famous Yangtse, Yellow and Lantsang  originate.)

A newly-approved protection plan for the region aims to expand the rehabilitation area from 152,000 to 395,000 square kilometers, according to a statement released after Wednesday\’s executive meeting of the State Council, the country\’s Cabinet, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.

According to the plan, efforts will focus on protecting and rehabilitating vegetation in the area while improving a monitoring and warning network for local ecological conditions.

Meanwhile, a separate plan on lakes whose water quality are relatively sound was also approved at the meeting. It called for adjusting the industrial structure and distribution in major lake areas and strengthened pollution control of rivers that flow into these lakes.

The statement encouraged strengthened scientific management, wider use of proper technology and the strictest source protection rules, calling for greater government investment and a balance among environmental protection, economic development and people\’s livelihoods.

Also at the meeting, a report was delivered on combating sandstorms in Beijing and Tianjin, urging more forestation subsidies from the central government and a responsibility pursuit system for forests management.

\”Unapproved tree felling, land reclamation, farming, digging and the use of water resources in the forested areas must be strictly cracked down on,\” said the statement.

In addition, the meeting approved a blueprint on establishing a multifunction ecological experimentation zone in northwest China\’s Gansu Province that incorporates water saving, ecological protection, industrial restructuring, resettlement of residents and poverty relief.

via China protects key river sources – Xinhua |


* Ex-minister blames China’s pollution mess on lack of rule of law

SCMP: “China had a chance to avoid environmental disasters some 40 to 30 years ago, the country’s first environmental protection chief has lamented amid worsening air and water pollution.


But Professor Qu Geping, who has overseen environmental policymaking since the early 1970s, said pollution had run wild as a result of unchecked economic growth under a “rule of men”, as opposed to the rule of law. Their rule imposed no checks on power and allowed governments to ignore environmental protection laws and regulations.

“I would not call the past 40 years’ efforts of environmental protection a total failure,” he said. “But I have to admit that governments have done far from enough to rein in the wild pursuit of economic growth … and failed to avoid some of the worst pollution scenarios we, as policymakers, had predicted.”

Qu, 83, was China’s first environmental protection administrator between 1987 and 1993. He then headed the National People’s Congress environment and resource committee for 10 years.

After three decades of worsening industrial pollution resulting from rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, China has accumulated huge environmental debts that will have to be paid back, Qu said.

He said recently he regretted that some of the very forward-looking strategies – emphasising a more balanced and co-ordinated approach to development and conservation, that were worked out as early as 1983 – were never put into serious practice when China was still at an early stage of industrialisation.

In 1970, premier Zhou Enlai had invited a Japanese journalist to give a lecture to senior government officials on the lessons Japan had learned from a series of heavy metal pollution scandals that killed several hundred people during a period of rapid industrialisation in the 1950s and 1960s, Qu said.

“But looking back, China fell into the same trap again,” he said. “In some cases, the problems are even worse now given the country’s huge population and the vast scale of its economy.”

via Ex-minister blames China’s pollution mess on lack of rule of law | South China Morning Post.

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* Landmark lawsuit demands compensation for pollution victims

Xinhua: “In a landmark lawsuit, two non-governmental organizations NGOs have demanded compensation of 10 million yuan (1.58 million U.S. dollars) from companies which dumped toxic chemicals in southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

Friends of Nature FON and the Chongqing Green Volunteer Association exchanged evidence with the defendant, Luliang Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. and Luliang Peace Technology Co. Ltd. in court on Wednesday. If the the NGOs win the case, the compensation will be used for environmental rehabilitation in the polluted areas in Qujing city, said Guo Jinghui, a spokeswoman of FON.

Qujing city’s environmental protection bureau also joined as plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed last September and accepted by the city’s Intermediate Peoples Court in October 2011. The court has set up a special environmental protection tribunal, but the trial date has not been confirmed, said Guo.”

via Landmark lawsuit demands compensation for pollution victims – Xinhua |

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