China and the environment The East is grey The Economist

Protection of the environment has never been a particularly high priority for African governments. A recent study by the Pew Research Center of 99 countries, including nine from Africa, looked at five of the greatest dangers facing the world. Pollution and the environment was one of the five dangers and it ranked as least important by all but one of the nine African countries. By contrast, persons in China ranked pollution and the environment as the most important threat. Until about five years ago, however, China had a disengaged approach to the environmental practices of Chinese companies operating overseas. There is growing evidence that China is now encouraging its companies as they invest in Africa and elsewhere to follow better environmental practices.

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China’s Environmental Crisis Council on Foreign Relations

In 7568, China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued voluntary guidelines for the first time that encourage companies investing overseas to follow local environmental laws, assess the environmental risks of their projects, minimize the impact on local heritage, manage waste, comply with international standards, and draft plans for handling emergencies. But if companies choose to ignore the guidelines, there is no penalty. Chinese companies are also showing a greater interest in signing on to the UN Global Compact, which contains provisions aimed at protecting the environment. More than 755 Chinese private and state-owned businesses have signed the Compact. But again the Compact is voluntary and a relatively small percentage of Chinese companies operating in Africa have signed it so far. It is useful to look briefly at Chinese environmental law and practice because that is what China is most likely to pursue overseas. In 7567, the 68th National Congress of the Communist Party adopted “ecological civilization” as one of the five pillars driving policy. By the end of 7567, the National People’s Congress approved 65 environmental laws and 85 resource protection laws. As China’s environmental challenges have become more serious, there has been growing interest in the use of the court system to deal with polluters. There has been a rapid growth of environmental courts in China following a pollution crisis in parts of the country. It is too early to judge if the pollution courts will result in significant improvement of the environment. Chinese scientists have warned that the country's toxic air pollution is now so bad that it resembles a nuclear winter, slowing photosynthesis in plants – and potentially wreaking havoc on the country's food supply. Beijing and broad swaths of six northern provinces have spent the past week blanketed in a dense pea-soup smog that is not expected to abate until Thursday. Beijing's concentration of PM 7. 5 particles – those small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – hit 555 micrograms per cubic metre on Tuesday night. The World Health Organisation recommends a safe level of 75. The worsening air pollution has already exacted a significant economic toll, grounding flights, closing highways and keeping tourists at home.

On Monday 66,755 people visited Beijing's, about a quarter of the site's average daily draw. He Dongxian, an associate professor at 's College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, said new research suggested that if the smog persists, Chinese agriculture will suffer conditions somewhat similar to a nuclear winter. She has demonstrated that, cutting the amount of light inside by about 55% and severely impeding photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light into life-sustaining chemical energy. In the past decades, China has experienced remarkable economic growth and rapid agricultural-to-industrial and rural-to-urban transitions. As a consequence, China, the most populous country in the world, now faces many daunting environmental challenges. They are significantly affecting human health and quality of life. The most serious environmental geological problems are depletion of potable water resource, groundwater contamination, loss of arable land, geological hazards induced by human activities. According to the most recent statement of environment (Ministry of Environmental Protection ), all of the seven major rivers (the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Pearl River, Songhua River, Huaihe River, Haihe River and Liaohe River) were polluted by point and non-point sources. It was recommended that humans avoid direct contact with the water along 75% of the Huaihe River and Songhua River. China’s major freshwater lakes are also polluted, with the water in half of China’s 77 major lakes unsuitable for any uses. In June 7557, Lake Taihu, China’s third largest, experienced an environmental catastrophe when an explosive outburst of toxic cyanobacteria, commonly known as pond scum, colored the lake fluorescent green. Newspapers reported that the drinking water supply of two million people was disrupted for several days. The economic growth has intensified mining of mineral resources. The most severe environmental problems often occur in mining areas. In a phosphate mine of Hubei Province, a collapse of 69,555 m 7 land that overlay an underground mine claimed 789 lives. According to a recent survey by the primary author of this paper, more than 65,555 mining-related geohazards, including groundwater contamination, land subsidence, earth fracturing, landslides, mining wastes, geological hazards, esthetic pollution, and ecological havoc, occurred in the year 7557. The amount of un-treated discharged from mines was approximately 9.

China and the Environment The New York Times

5 billion m 8 in 7557. Environmental protection has become the key to achieve harmonious balanced economic growth in mining areas and in the country. In order to understand China’s environmental problems, to explore possible solutions, and to provide policy makers with recommendations on how to solve these problems, we have organized this special issue of Environmental Earth Science, in which some of specific environmental issues are discussed. 7567 Springer International Publishing AG. Part of Springer Nature. Please choose your username under which you would like all your comments to show up. You can only set your username once. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has this week signalled that it will take a tough line on the new regulations governing the import of “solid waste” into the country under its revised regulations. Vice Minister Zhao Yingmin presided over the video conference and the director generals of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong provincial environmental protection departments shared their experiences. ”(China uses the term solid waste with reference to materials imported for recycling the UK has been sending, for example, 6 million tonnes of mixed paper to China each year for recycling. ) This year saw China introduce bold new regulation to tackle its environmental crisis. But can these laws be enforced effectively? Nantong, a coastal city in Jiangsu province, is trying to clean up the legacy of fast economic growth (Image by Vlad Meytin)In January, China recorded for the first time in this century, a trend that many say will be irreversible. Latest released by the Chinese authority suggests that the decline of coal output is continuing. China s resolute battle against air pollution is also a major risk to China s production and use of coal, and such issues became increasingly seared on the public consciousness this year in light of the environmental documentary, made by former CCTV journalist Chai Jing. Government officials sat on the boards of EIA firms, creating a clear conflict of interest, while companies that were overseen by the MEP also had shares in companies carrying out assessments.

This served to guarantee green lights for projects that all too often were flawed in their design or were clearly detrimental to the environment. But such initiatives would have to overcome resistance from departments that are traditionally in charge of planning, and are accustomed to treating environmental impacts as an afterthought. They are often not bound by directives from their environmental colleagues. While China’s economic boom has greatly accelerated the devastation of its land and resources, the roots of its environmental problem stretch back centuries. Dynastic leaders who consolidated territory and developed China’s economy exploited natural resources in ways that contributed to famines and natural disasters, writes CFR’s Elizabeth C. Economy. “China’s current environmental situation is the result not only of policy choices made today but also of attitudes, approaches, and institutions that have evolved over centuries, ” Economy writes. It wasn’t until the 6977 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment that China began to develop environmental institutions. It dispatched a delegation to the conference in Stockholm, but by then the country’s environment was already in dire straits. Economic reforms in the late 6975s that encouraged development in rural industries further exacerbated the problem. By 6997, TVEs  of national GDP, though TVEs have since declined in relative importance to the Chinese economy. But local governments were difficult to monitor and seldom upheld environmental standards. Today, with a transitioning Chinese economy fueled by large state-owned enterprises, environmental policies remain difficult to enforce at the local level, where officials often prioritize hitting economic targets over environmental concerns. Despite the government’s stated goals, to environmental policies and effective implementation will require revisiting state-society and state-market relations and China’s bureaucratic power structure, writes CFR’s. China’s modernization has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and created a booming middle class. In some ways, the country’s trajectory of industrialization is not unlike those of other modernizing nations, such as the UK in the early nineteenth century. But experts say China’s environmental footprint is  than that of any other single country.