21:29 29.07.2019

The hidden costs of China’s rare-earth trade

The Los Angeles Times reports on how villagers in China’s southern province of Guangxi are protesting against the pouring of acid into large pits of soil in order to extract one of China’s key resources: rare earth. Rare earth is made up of seventeen elements that can often be found in minerals containing uranium, which are used in tech products. Rare earth has earnt its name not because it is hard to find, but because the extraction process is toxic and expensive. By turning a blind eye to the environmental and human costs, China has come to dominate global rare-earth production. The consequences to the surrounding areas poisoned water supply has led to the creation of “cancer villages”, which experience abnormal disease rates and agricultural damage.
Source: Los Angeles Times
18:39 29.07.2019

Cleaner fuel needed to help reduce indoor air pollution in rural areas

While China is focusing efforts on outdoor pollution, indoor air pollution is still very serious in many rural areas across the country. More is needed to promote the use of clean fuel, according to Tao Shu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As most people spend more than 22 hours a day indoors, it is important to focus on that part of the pollution problem.
Source: ECNS.cm
00:03 26.07.2019

China's steel minnows sidestep pollution rules to boost output

Small steel mills in China are taking advantage of lax environmental enforcement to ramp up production ahead of bigger rivals, industry and government officials said, jeopardizing anti-smog targets and defying industry consolidation. China’s massive steel sector is a key battleground in the country’s war on pollution, with air quality in major steel-producing cities like Tangshan and Handan routinely listed among the most toxic. Tougher environmental laws and a 2016 campaign to shut substandard capacity were designed to both cut smog and boost the share of law-abiding but unprofitable state firms by forcing out smaller, irresponsible rivals. But uneven enforcement has allowed industry minnows to outcompete larger rivals and raise production, say industry and environment ministry officials.
Source: Reuters
17:17 22.07.2019

Ghosts of the Thar desert: on the climate change frontline in Pakistan

Alexander More, a climate historian at Harvard University, says Pakistan exemplifies how climate change can drive existing weather patterns to new extremes. “When we think of climate change, we usually think of global warming. But the reality is that, while temperatures are going upwards, with it also comes a pattern of increasing climate extremes. Southern Pakistan is an example of a place that is experiencing increasing droughts.” For years, Pakistan’s population and manufacturing industries have suffered blackouts. CPEC offers a means to resolve the country’s energy crisis and, like all developed countries have done in the past, it helps both Pakistan and China pursue their fossil-fuelled industrial growth.
Source: FT
17:15 22.07.2019

An opportunity for Britain’s new prime minister

Britain, jointly with Italy, is likely to host the UN’s important climate change meeting next year — COP26, the successor to the Paris conference. Theresa May’s successor in Downing Street should seize that chance and begin now to shape the outcome. He will be helped by the fact that the right policy matches the popular will: people want secure supplies of energy that does them no harm, at a cost they can afford. It is the lower income countries — led by China and India — whose emissions, mainly from coal, pose the greatest challenge. To trade off climate change against human development is both immoral and unrealistic. So we need to identify and deploy low carbon energy that can compete on cost with every other source of supply.
Source: FT
17:13 22.07.2019

China steel mill boss detained for pollution offences: state media

According to this article, the boss of a steel mill in China, more specifically in the city of Tangshan in Hebei province, has been detained over the plant violating anti-pollution restrictions. The steel plant had failed to carry out mandatory production cuts which were imposed by the local government.
Source: Reuters
22:43 17.07.2019

Public health warning for Hong Kong as Air Quality Health Index reaches ‘serious’ category, the highest pollution level in city

Pollution levels reached high alert in Hong Kong after the government warned of a serious risk to public health and advised members of the public to reduce or avoid physical exertion to a minimum. Levels of ozone and particulates are higher than normal. The health risk is very high for children, the elderly and people with existing heart or respiratory illnesses.
Source: South China Morning Post
22:45 16.07.2019

By cutting ozone pollution now, China could save 330,000 lives by 2050

Results have shown that if China takes strong measures now to reduce its ozone pollution, it could save hundreds of thousands of lives according to a new study led by Columbia University. The article states that Air pollution is a major issue in China and is a serious health risk. Research has shown that in 2015 pollution has caused 67,000 premature deaths however, a new study, published today in Environmental Research Letters, finds that the situation could become quite a bit worse in the future.
Source: Science Daily