Climate Change and Air Quality News: April 20, 2015

Our Beijing-based Climate Change & Air Quality Program team share what they are reading and talking about

  1. China’s new Environmental Protection Law took effect on January 1, and we can already see results of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection’s increased powers to crack down on violators. Following increased training for MEP bureaus on the revised law, 527 production plants were closed in February, a 208% increase compared with the previous month. The number of people placed in detention rose by 115%, while the number of fines grew by 60%. Chen Jining, the new environmental protection minister, has pledged to make the implementation of this law his top priority this year.
  2. China’s cumulative carbon emissions (since 1990) are set to surpass those of the US. China has already been the largest carbon emitting country since 2006 and per-capita emissions are now greater than those of Europe. The good news is that China, which previously had argued that carbon emissions and climate change are the responsibility of developed countries like the United States, has already acknowledged its position as a key polluter, most recently signaled through the joint US-China Climate Agreement announced in November 2014.
  3. Beijing is speeding up the decommissioning of old vehicles from the road, according to the MEP. The department head of Beijing’s Vehicle Emissions Management Office Li Kunsheng said that Beijing would tighten efforts to speed up the removal of vehicles with low emissions standards to reduce traffic and emissions. Emissions and fuel standards for vehicles in the city will also be upgraded. (Chinese)