Air Quality, Energy, Transport, and Climate Change in China
CAI-Asia China Project E-Newsletter. Issue No.1, 2011
Included in this issue:
– Shanghai: City lagging in air quality and roads
– Energy plan to focus on cars
– Guangzhou to keep even-odd license plate rule
– China likely bright spot in Asia climate action
– Environmental damage presents costly economic bill
Shanghai: City lagging in air quality and roads (December 30, 2010)
Although overall it occupies second spot in a public services ranking, Shanghai lags behind most other cities in China when it comes to green credentials and public transport, a new report said.
The 2010 urban public services index, issued by Shanghai Jiao Tong University yesterday, ranked the city 29th in the environmental protection index of 35 Chinese cities on the list and 28th in the public transportation infrastructure index.
Researchers evaluated the city’s performance from 11 indexes. These included: infrastructure; construction; health and safety; social security; education and culture; and environmental protection.
Emission control green revolution in impoverished Chinese regions (December 29, 2010)
Suyalatu, a shepherd in northern China’s Inner Mongolia, interpreted China’s emission control policy in his own way: it saved him the trouble of combing soot off his sheep.
“I was glad to see those nearby factories closed for environmental concerns. Their choking fumes used to dirty my sheep and made my cashmere difficult to sell,” said Suyalatu.
The 53-year-old Mongolian lives in Hangjing Qi, a county in Ordos City that is notable for three things: cashmere, coal, and clean energy sources.But as China tightened its emission control policies, the county has witnessed the fall of coal-powered industries and the rise of a new energy sector.
China likely to meet pollution control targets for 2006-2010, future tasks “arduous”: minister (December 21, 2010)
China is expected to meet its 11th five-year period (2006-2010) pollution control targets, but the upcoming mission will be “fairly arduous,” Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian said Tuesday.
Zhou said the sulfur dioxide index is expected to drop 14 percent in 2010 compared with the 2005 level.
Also, the index of Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), a measure of water pollution, is expected to decrease 12 percent.
China finishes 3rd Shaanxi-Beijing natural gas pipeline (December 31, 2010)
The third natural gas pipeline from Northwest China’s Shaanxi province to Beijing was completed Friday and will be put into use on January 4, according to an official of the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC).
Zhao Yujian, head of the Pipeline Bureau of the CNPC, said at the new pipeline’s completion ceremony that the 896-km-long pipeline can pump as much as 15 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.
The new pipeline will boost the gas supply to Beijing and other areas in the Bohai Rim region, including Shandong, Tianjin and Hebei.
China’s first solar chimney plant starts operating in desert (December 27, 2010)
A water-tower-like chimney is eye catching in the desolate desert, where under the chimney is a glass-made house sitting above the ground.
This is a solar chimney plant system in Jinshawan, Wuhai City of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which is the country’s first power plant that combines solar and wind power into power generation.
Starting operation on Dec. 10, the 200-kilowatt power generating unit can supply 400,000 kwh of electricity per year, saving the equivalent of 100 tonnes of coal and 900 tonnes of water, compared with thermal power generation.
China’s booming nuclear power industry brings opportunities for domestic firms (December 24, 2010)
Hydropresses, cranes, planers, drills and lathes hum in the workshops of China First Heavy Industries in northeast China. Outside, snow piles up and leafless trees shiver in the cold.
Over the past year, workers in China’s largest heavy machinery company have been busy machining parts for a nuclear power plant.The Qiqihaer City, Heilongjiang Province-based company owns the largest water press in Asia. The press has a capacity of 15,000 tons.
The company has signed contracts for nuclear parts worth almost three billion yuan (447 million US dollars), becoming China’s largest manufacturer of nuclear power equipment.
China “highly concerned” about U.S. complaint on wind power measures (December 23, 2010)
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Thursday it was “highly concerned” about the U.S. request for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to investigate allegedly illegal Chinese subsidies on wind power equipment makers.
China’s measures to promote wind power development comply with WTO rules, an unnamed MOC official said in a statement on the ministry’s website.
In response to a petition from the U.S. steelworker’s union, the U.S. trade authority made the complaint Wednesday to the WTO. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement that China’s subsidies hindered U.S. exports to China.
China electricity consumption to almost double by 2020: China Electricity Council (December 21, 2010)
The China Electricity Council (CEC) projected Tuesday the country’s electricity consumption will almost double from the 2010 level to 8.2 trillion kWh by 2020.
In a report on the electricity industry’s development in the 12th Five-year Program period (2011-2015), the CEC said electricity consumption this year will reach 4.17 trillion kWh and increase to 6.27 trillion kWh by 2015.
China’s installed power generating capacity will grow from this year’s 950 million kilowatts to 1.885 billion kilowatts by 2020, the CEC report said, adding that by 2020 about 36.3 percent of installed capacity will come from non-fossil fuels.
Energy plan to focus on cars (December 30, 2010)
The Energy Saving and New Energy Vehicle Development Plan (2011-2020), which aims to reduce environmental pollution from the booming auto production, will be formally released in January 2011, after being postponed in November, said a senior expert.
It will prioritize the industrialization of plug-in hybrids and pure electrical vehicles, Chen Quanshi, director of the Automotive Research Institute at Tsinghua University, was quoted by Shanghai Securities News as saying.
China is speeding up the industrialization of new-energy vehicles and energy-efficient automobiles to offset rising environmental pollution from automobiles.
China’s Guangdong to use more electricity from power-rich west (December 27, 2010)
China’s southwestern Yunnan and Guizhou provinces agreed Monday to transmit 497 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to the southern Guangdong Province over the next five years.
The agreements were signed Monday between the China Southern Power Grid Company (CSG) and the three provinces.
Due to a lack of resources such as coal and water, the relatively more developed eastern and southern regions in China face pressure of providing enough electricity to boost their growth.
China raises gasoline, diesel prices (December 21, 2010)
China will raise gasoline and diesel prices 310 yuan (about 46 U.S. dollars) per tonne and 300 yuan per tonne, respectively, beginning Wednesday, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced Tuesday.
The is the second increase in fuel prices in two months after the NDRC raised the price of gasoline by 230 yuan and diesel by 220 yuan in October.
The adjustment would raise the benchmark retail price of gasoline by 0.23 yuan per liter and diesel by 0.26 yuan per liter, the country’s top economic planning body said in a statement on its website.
40,000 apply online for car license plates on first day of Beijing’s new traffic-control system (January 1, 2011)
The Beijing municipal government said it received nearly 40,000 online applications for car license plates in the first 11 hours of the new year, as new traffic-control measures took effect as of Saturday.
As of 11 a.m., the website for application of license plates, www.bjhjyd.gov.cn, had successfully accepted 36,138 applications, an official with the city’s transportation committee said.
Netizens believe the traffic-control measures are the “toughest congestion-tackling measures in history.”
Beijing opens five new metro lines amid increasing traffic pressures (January 1, 2011)
Beijing opened five new suburban subway and light rail lines Thursday as it moves to tackle the city’s chronic traffic congestion problem through the development of its rapid mass transit network.
The five new lines — Fangshan Line, Changping Line, the first phase of the No. 15 Line, Yizhuang Line and Daxing Line — have a combined length of 108 kilometers, bringing the total length of metro in the Chinese capital to 336 kilometers.
The new lines bring the total number of metro lines in the city to 14.
Subway train production base takes shape in north China’s Tianjin (December 31, 2010)
A subway train of six cars being assembled rolled off a production line Friday at a production base in north China’s Tianjin Municipality, according to China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR).
The subway train is the first of the kind ever produced at the CSR Tianjin Industrial Park, said CSR’s chairman, Zhao Xiaogang.
The train, designed to run at a speed of 80 km per hour, has a holding capacity of 1,800 passengers. It will will be used in Tianjin’s Subway Line 3, which will begin service in 2011.
Railway linking major Silk Road towns opens (December 30, 2010)
A railway linking Kashi and Hotan in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region opened Thursday for cargo transportation, and passenger transport is expected to begin in June, according to a local official.
The railway, with a cost about 5.1 billion yuan ($773 million), covers 488.27 kilometers running through the south part of Xinjiang, an important section of the ancient Silk Road.
The railroad is expected to have an annual freight volume of 15 million tons, and carry ten passenger trains every day, said Tang Shisheng, director of the Urumqi Railway Bureau.
The Kashi-Hotan railway will help promote the development of Xinjiang’ s mining industry, tourism and agriculture, said Tang.
First high-speed railway opens in China’s southernmost island (December 30, 2010)
A high-speed railway opened Thursday in Hainan, China’s southernmost province, greatly cutting travel time along the island’s eastern coast.
The Donghuan (East Ring) Railway is 308 kilometers long, links up the cities of Haikou, the provincial capital, and Sanya, as well as a number of popular tourist destinations along the way.
The trip between the two cities takes about 82 minutes at a speed of 250 km per hour, half the time it takes by road. It took workers more than three years to complete the railway, which cost 20.2 billion yuan (3 billion U.S. dollars).
New bullet train from Shanghai to be costly (December 28, 2010)
A ticket for a train journey that takes 15 and a half hours from Shanghai to Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan province, is being sold at a top price of 2,330 yuan ($356.66), the Oriental Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
A new bullet train will be added to the schedule on Jan 11, 2011. Prices range from 501 yuan ($75.61) for a second-class soft seat to 2,330 yuan for a first-class soft berth, which is being sold at a 30 percent discount, said the report.
According to the report, an economy class flight from Shanghai to Chengdu is about 1,500 yuan ($226.37).
Guangzhou to keep even-odd license plate rule (December 29, 2010)
Authorities in Guangdong’s provincial capital plan to retain driving restrictions based on the final digits of vehicles’ license plate numbers after the Asian Games to unsnarl traffic, a city official has said.
“We’re working on a package of measures to tackle gridlock, including the odd-even license plate number plan, which proved effective during the Asian Games,” Guangzhou communication commission director Xian Weixiong said. The measures, which will be posted online for public input before adoption, will ensure an average driving speed of 25 km an hour on urban roads within three years, Xian said.
The temporary restrictions, based on whether vehicles’ license plates’ final digits are even or odd, had kept nearly 800,000 cars off the city’s roads a day over the past two months.
Shenzhen considers new ways to unsnarl traffic jams (December 29, 2010)
Guangdong province’s special economic zone Shenzhen, which has the mainland’s highest vehicle density, is looking at strategies to decongest its clogged roads.
More than 1.7 million vehicles had been registered in the city as of Dec 8, approaching the official limit. But there are actually more than 1.9 million vehicles, in addition to cars from outside the city, Shenzhen traffic department figures show.
Shenzhen’s average driving speed was 36.3 kilometers an hour on major highways and roads by the end of last year, compared to 40.7 km an hour by the end of 2008.
The downtown speed dropped to an average of about 10 km an hour, which is equivalent to the average bicycle’s speed.
China to end tax incentives for small-engine vehicles in 2011 (December 28, 2010)
China will resume levying a 10 percent purchase tax on vehicles with engine sizes of 1.6 liters or less beginning in 2011 as the country rebounds from the financial crisis and the economy has regained its rapid growth, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Tuesday.
China halved the sales tax from 10 to 5 percent on cars with engines of 1.6 liters or smaller in 2009 to combat the financial crisis and spur the use of clean and fuel-efficient cars.
The tax was then raised to 7.5 percent on Jan. 1 this year.
China to promote auto imports in next five years: official (December 26, 2010)
China will actively promote auto imports over the next five years to help the country restructure and upgrade its auto industry, a Chinese official from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Sunday.
Qian Jingfen, an official in charge of imports at the MOC’s Industrial Department, told an auto imports forum in Beijing that the auto import-promotion strategy will be implemented during the 12th Five-year Plan period (2011-2015) through corresponding financial, taxation and trade policies.
Qian said China will encourage the imports of advanced auto equipment, key technologies and components of energy-saving and new-energy vehicles in the period.
China likely bright spot in Asia climate action (January 4, 2011)
The outcome of U.N. climate talks in Mexico this month should boost steps in Asia to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with China a likely bright spot in 2011, a senior analyst at a leading U.S. think tank said.
The talks helped put the troubled U.N. negotiations back on track but failed to agree on a broader pact meant to avert every more extreme droughts, floods, heat waves and rising sea levels.
Across the region, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan are working on myriad policy steps to put a price on carbon emissions, drive more investment in solar and wind as well as greater energy efficiency.
English Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BU0RT20101231
Trees planted in China to neutralize carbon emissions of UN conference (December 28, 2010)
A newly planted forest will neutralize carbon dioxide emissions from a UN climate change conference as China ups its efforts to combat climate change, an official said here Tuesday.
Over 10 years the 333-hectare forest, spanning Xiangyuan, Xiyang and Pingshun counties in north China’s Shanxi Province, will offset the estimated 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted during the conference in Tianjin early October, said Sun Zhen, deputy director of the Climate Change Department of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Since the five-day meeting that opened Oct. 4 was the first of its kind held in China, the Chinese government had decided to make the conference carbon-neutral, he said at the inauguration ceremony of the Carbon Neutral Forest Land of the Tianjin Conference.
Environmental damage presents costly economic bill (December 28, 2010)
The annual cost of economic losses and environmental damage in China recently exceeded 1.2 trillion yuan ($180 billion), according to a new report.
The Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning said direct economic losses caused by water, air and solid waste pollution and environmental incidents exceeded 894 billion yuan in 2008, or 2.7 percent of the country’s total economic output.
Taking into account the ecological destruction of forests, wetlands and grasslands, as well as degradation caused by mining activities, the loss added up to 1.27 trillion yuan in 2008, according to the report.The numbers suggest a large increase in the direct economic losses of pollution, which stood at 511 billion yuan in 2004.
Guangzhou Asian Games get clean bill of health (December 27, 2010)
The recent Asian Games and the Asian Para Games were conducted frugally and honestly, senior officials of the host city Guangzhou have said.
Wan Qingliang, mayor of the city, said in an interview that the major events were conducted within budget, and no cases of corruption have been found. Wan made the remarks in response to rumors the city had spent beyond its budget to ensure spectacular and successful games.
Wan said the city had spent more than 123 billion yuan ($18 billion) on the two events, but “the investment, the great majority of which went to the city’s infrastructure, has never gone beyond budget. The two games, which won widespread praise from participating countries and regions, were so far the largest of their kind in history. But they were actually economical.”