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China Environmental News Alert


October 17 – October 24

Meet China’s Eco Cops

Fast Company (October 17, 2011)

To enforce new rules from the government and U.S. companies, a new breed of worker is appearing in China: A consultant who helps factories adhere to standards, without causing outrageous costs. The Environment, Health and Safety Academy in Guangdong province, headed up by Vermont-based Institute for Sustainable Communities, which partnered with Sun Yat-sen University, is training these sustainable minded hall monitors. Their course syllabus is based on the standards in place at Walmart, GE, Adidas, Honeywell and other companies that have supply partners in China. In the two years since the Academy launched, they’ve trained 3,000 factory managers, and officially certified 500. The course is gaining more support from the Chinese government and is on the way to be certified at a local and national level.

How a Smoggy Chinese City Turned Green

The Guardian (October 17, 2011)

Shenyang, China has begun to emerge from its smoggy past, cleaning up its factories and expanding its green spaces. The city, capital of Northeast China’s Liaoning province, is long known as the “elder brother” of industry for its central role in Mao’s drive to industrialize China in the 1950s and ‘60s. However, Shenyang emerged as a leader in environmental improvement in the Urban China Initiative’s (UCI) “Urban Sustainability Index,” published last November. According to UCI’s research, virtually all traces of heavy industry had been removed from Shenyang’s core by 2010, coal heating had been replaced by natural gas in new residential areas and urban green space had increased 30 percent from 2005 to 2007.

China Orders Apple Supplier Plant Closure Over Environmental Concerns

The Inquirer (October 17, 2011)

Chinese authorities have ordered an Apple supplier to close part of its plant in Suzhou after residents living nearby raised significant environmental concerns about the foul odors emanating from the plant. The Chinese government has taken a tough stance with the Taiwanese company Catcher Technology, which makes metal casings for some Apple notebook computers. This is not the first environmental concern to hit Apple in recent months. In August a report was released by Chinese environmental groups that accused a number of Apple suppliers of polluting the environment.

Sunpreme Raises $50 Million in VC, to Manufacture in China

Smart Energy News (October 18, 2011)

Sunpreme, a developer of solar cells, has raised $50 million in a round of venture capital, which was led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector investment arm of the World Bank Group. Sunpreme said it will use the new investment funds to construct a manufacturing facility near Shanghai in Jiaxing, China, which will allow it to expand production of its solar cells by the end of this year. According to Sunpreme’s website, “the company’s manufacturing operations, materials sourcing and global sales are to be driven from China, the benchmark in execution efficiency and speed.”

Energy Efficiency Versus Environmental Protection

China Daily (October 19, 2011)

The Bohai Bay oil spill has resulted in calls for changes in the relationship between China and the foreign oil companies that enable the search for resources. Amid the criticism heaped on ConocoPhillips Co. – the United States-based energy conglomerate whose operations spilled more than 700 barrels of oil into the waters of China’s Bohai Bay in June – the nation’s industrial experts are clamoring for a review of the policies for oil and gas exploration with foreign oil companies in China.

China’s Cabinet Studies Proposed Environmental Protection Tax

Bloomberg News (October 20, 2011)

China’s State Council is studying the introduction of an environmental protection tax, and the nation plans to increase environmental spending, including it in the annual budgets of all levels of government. The government will also support bond issues for companies undertaking environmental projects and provide tax breaks, according to an October 17 statement posted on the government’s website after a Cabinet meeting headed by Premier Wen Jiabao.

Beijing Heating Goes Solar

China Daily (October 21, 2011)

Beijing authorities plan to promote a solar water-heating system and a more energy-efficient charging method for central heating for the coming winter to save energy and cut emissions. New residential and public buildings in Beijing should install a central hot water system that uses heat from industrial production or solar panels, according to a draft plan released on Monday by the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

China Charges Protectionism in Call for Solar Panel Tariffs

The New York Times (October 21, 2011)

The Chinese government condemned a demand by the American solar panel industry for steep tariffs on solar panels shipped to the United States from China. China accused the American solar industry of protectionism that could undermine the global economy and harm international efforts to combat global warming. It called for the United States government to reject the industry’s legal filing. A coalition of seven American companies filed the trade case against China on October 19, accusing Chinese manufacturers of obtaining billions of dollars in Chinese government subsidies to help them buy market share in the United States, and of dumping solar panels in the United States at prices that did not fully cover the cost of manufacturing and distributing them.

UN Close to Ban on West’s Toxic Waste Exports

The Independent (October 23, 2011)

One of the most persistent and insidious pollution problems visited by the West on the developing world has taken a huge step towards a permanent solution this weekend. A UN environmental conference in Cartagena, Colombia, attended by more than 170 countries, has agreed to accelerate a global ban on the export of hazardous waste, including old electronics and discarded computers and mobile phones, from developed to developing countries. The ban will be introduced when 17 more countries ratify an amendment to the 1989 Basel Convention, a treaty aimed at making nations manage their waste at home.

Tree Planting Gets Underway in Green Drive

China Daily (October 24, 2011)

The Swiss Pharmaceutical maker Novartis International AG has planted the first batch of 12,000 trees in Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture, in Southwest China’s Sichuan province. It is part of the third carbon-offset project initiated by Novartis worldwide. A total of 10 million trees are expected to be planted in Sichuan over four years, covering 4,328 hectares of deforested mountains. It is estimated the project will help sequester 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years and has the possibility of registering as a Clean Development Mechanism program under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change.

(CENA prepared by Craig Spencer)

* The links and article summaries in this post are provided for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

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