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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Obama offers praise for China's energy efficiency efforts

On February 24th, President Obama praised China for having “launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient.” Just three days later, I was in Northwestern Beijing where the NRDC, along with Chinese government partners and the China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance, hosted a conference that brought recognized international leaders in energy efficiency to China to share their knowledge and experiences. Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Du Ping, director-general of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), were both attendance. There were also more than 200 other NDRC employees, as well as members … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(0)

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Recent Environmental Law and Public Participation News

Ministry of Public Security release annual Open Government Information Report (Google translation) The Ministry of Public Security has released their annual Open Government Information Work Report, detailing initiatives the ministry has taken to advance information disclosure. A total of 169 articles were disclosed by the ministry during 2008, and the ministry received nine information disclosure requests, all of which it satisfactorily addressed. (Source: Ministry of Public Security) 2008 annual Hunan Province Open Information Work Report released (Google translation) The Hunan Provincial government has released its work report, detailing its open information initiatives and accomplishments for 2008. The report contains a … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(0)

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The Kunming Environmental Protection Court: How Significant is its First Case?

After the dramatic contamination of Yangzonghai Lake in 2008, the Kunming Intermediate Court found itself under intense scrutiny from the media and Yunnan residents. Perhaps in response to this, on December 11, 2008, the city officially established the Kunming Environmental Protection Court, following in the footsteps of the Guiyang and Wuxi environmental courts. In order to clearly define the Environmental Protection Court’s objectives and procedures, the Kunming Intermediate Court, the Kunming Procuratorate, the Kunming Public Security Bureau, and Kunming Environmental Protection Bureau jointly released the “Implementing Opinions on Establishing an Environmental Protection Law Enforcement Coordination Mechanism.” According to the “Implementing … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(2)

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E.P.A. Moves Toward Regulating Greenhouse Gases

From the International Herald Tribune: The Environmental Protection Agency has moved to declare that greenhouse gases are pollutants that pose a danger to the public’s health and welfare. That determination, once made final, will pave the way for federal regulation of carbon dioxide, methane and other heat-trapping gases linked to global warming[…] The action, known as an endangerment finding, would allow federal regulation of motor vehicle emissions of greenhouse gases. If further action is taken by the E.P.A., it could open the door to regulatory controls over power plants, oil refineries, cement plants and other factories that emit such gases.

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Cases of Citizens Defending Environmental Rights: Chemical Plant Pollution in Fujian

To help victims of pollution use the law to protect their legal environmental rights, and to give the wider public the basic legal knowledge to protect the environment and their environmental rights, the “People and the Environment” supplement of the Gansu Economic Daily closely planned and consulted with the Environment and Resources Law Research and Service Center at the China University of Political Science and Law before formally launching the “Citizens’ Environmental Rights Protection” column on May 9, 2007. Its goal is to advance and spread the implementation of environmental law in China. This is a collection of cases that … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(0)

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Recent Environmental Law and Public Participation News

MEP undertakes comprehensive investigation of drinking water safety (Google translation) The Ministry of Environmental Protection has launched a comprehensive investigation of drinking water safety around the country after several major emergencies in the past few months have attracted national attention. In a report released in recent days, MEP stated that they directly dealt with 135 dangerous incidents of pollution in 2008, one-third of which involved contamination of drinking water sources. (Source: CRI Online) Op-ed: Why is the environmental protection court left out in the cold? (Google translation) A China Environment News opinion piece examines ongoing efforts to bolster the development … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(1)

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Pandas (and Lawyers)

We were in Chengdu over the past few days holding a training on resolution of environmental disputes in China through negotiation. Our trainers and collaborators on the program came from the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program. Many thanks to Stephan, Maggie and Brian. It was a few days well spent with a group of fantastic Chinese environmental lawyers and some experts on negotiations of the highest caliber.  For several years, NRDC has been working with lawyers and judges in China to promote better ways to handle environmental disputes.  We believe that lawyers have a role to play as problem-solvers, … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(0)

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“The Lights are Back On” – Open Information News from the US

The following news might be of interest to those in China following developments in open information. The Obama administration reversed a restrictive Bush-era reading of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA; a US law on government information disclosure) in late January and ordered the US Attorney General to issue new guidelines regarding government implementation of FOIA.  The Attorney General’s guidelines were released last week and can be found here: (foia-memo-march2009).  This is a great example of how the same law can be interpreted in completely different ways by different leadership. According to the Attorney General’s new memorandum: The Freedom of … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(0)

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Public outcry and pollution concerns derail Shanghai maglev project

Chinese media sources are reporting that the 35 billion RMB Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev train, scheduled to begin construction in 2010, has been canceled. According to Caijing Magazine, the 175-km train would have reached top speeds of as much as 450 km/hr, allowing passengers to quickly travel between Shanghai’s Pudong airport and the city of Hangzhou. The bulk of the opposition came from the Ministry of Railways, which objected to the path that the proposed maglev would take and pointed out that a regular express train would have similar speeds and much lower cost. More interestingly, another force seems to have been … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(2)

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Environmental proposals attract attention at the NPC and CPPCC conference

At last week’s 11th National People’s Congress, NPC representatives raised a total of 518 motions and proposals. According to China Environment News, 53 of the 518 motions concerned issues of environmental protection, covering a wide range of issues from drinking water to ecological protection. Some of the most popular topics and motions were: Amend and update the Environmental Protection Law: a total of 243 NPC and CPPCC representatives submitted motions regarding environmental protection throughout the annual meeting. Representatives noted that the current Environmental Protection Law, more than twenty years old, needed significant revision to address the different economic and environmental … Continue reading 阅读全文 » Add comment 发表评论(0)

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