New Energy and Environment Digest 新能源与环保参考

New home for NEEDigest

Posted in Uncategorized by ebalkan on March 16, 2010

NEEDigest has moved to http://www.needigest.com. All new content is available there, not here.

– Elizabeth

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UNEP Report Urges E-Waste Action, Focuses on China

Posted in Electronic Waste, Recycling, Sustainability, Waste Management by ebalkan on February 26, 2010

A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report – Recycling – from E-waste to Resources (pdf) –  identifies the growing problem of e-waste internationally. Includes is the finding that, by 2020, computer related e-waste will be four times 2007 levels. More noteworthy still, is that developing countries – namely, India and China – will be the largest depositories for e-waste.

Whereas previous streams of e-waste originated from abroad, often imported under dubious conditions, the growing trend in China is domestically-generated e-waste, as NEEDigest has reported previously. This pattern matches with growing personal wealth and availability of cheap electronic goods and appliances: two factors combining to produce a culture of disposibility previously absent in China.

In the short-term, government policies may be exacerbating this trend. A small appliance-aimed “cash for clunkers”-type program launched in the fall has reportedly resulted in the disposal – and collection – of 2.39 million used home appliances, including televisions, PCs, refrigerators, washing machines, and air-conditioners within only a few months. But, as the UN report alludes and Shanghai Scrap’s Adam Minter has correctly pointed out, “China doesn’t yet have sufficient environmentally-secure capacity for recycling such a large quantity of used appliances.”

But, before we dive into that, let’s get back to the UN report.

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China Diverting Toxic Waste to North Korea, Emerging Information Suggests

Posted in Electronic Waste, Recycling, Waste Management by ebalkan on December 14, 2009

China has taken considerable steps in recent years to address electronic waste management practices unsafe for the individuals involved and harmful to local land and water supplies, as NEEDigest has previously reported.

However, China’s limited electronic waste recycling facilities and swelling consumption patterns has rendered domestic containment of toxic trash a serious problem.

Like China, the US and Europe face this predicament, and for years have exported trash to developing countries in Asia and Africa at a lower cost and with fewer environmental safeguards. It is therefore somewhat unsurprising, but no less disheartening, to find out that China, too, is joining the ranks of countries opting to manage waste by having less developed countries manage it for them – often at considerable health and environmental risks.

The newest recipient country is not in Africa or Southeast Asia, as one might expect.

Rather, it appears that waste is being diverted to North Korea, China’s northeastern neighbor, whose western coast lies directly across from China’s prosperous coastal areas and many port towns. This revelation contradicts certain assumptions that North Korea, its economic development stunted due to a centrally planned economy and isolation from the outside world, was comparatively free from the industrial pollution that beleaguers many of its East and South Asian counterparts.

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Panyu Residents Victorious in Blocking Planned Incinerator, Expected to Meet 30% Recycling Target in Return

Posted in Community, Politics, Public Health, Urban Planning, Waste Management by ebalkan on December 12, 2009

To some, the surge of public action to oppose a planned incinerator in south China’s Panyu city may indicate growing popular environmental awareness, concern and activism in China. To others, the protests are testament to China’s growing urban wealth and the push for “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) movements that often accompany it.

Whether motivated by property values or public health, recent outcries have not been conducted in vain.

Citizen resistance has succeeded in blocking the government’s construction plans, confirmed when district Party secretary Tan Yinghua said in a meeting with local residents yesterday that the entire project would “start from the beginning.” The government pledged transparency and public engagement throughout all steps of the re-planning process, including the environmental assessment, feasibility study, and location decision, according to a report by state-run Xinhua media.

Both foreign and domestic media outlets credit this outcome to the public push back that began last month.

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Government, Backed into a Corner on Public Incinerator Concerns, Pushes Back

Posted in Recycling, Regulations, Waste Management by ebalkan on November 12, 2009

incinerator emissions dioxin beijing municipal solid waste MSW co2 global warming trash waste to energy activism protest community cities

Beijing municipal officials recently announced plans to continue with seven incinerator projects in the Beijing area, despite protests of nearby residents.

As we have reported before, Beijing’s trash is growing at approximately 8% annually, though the city is capable of treating just over half of what it tosses. Currently, 90% of Beijing’s solid municipal waste is sent to area landfills.

Though source waste reduction, improved recycling programs and more active resident seperation are among the many options available for addressing the problem, local and central level officials have prioritized the building of more incineration plants as their preferred approach.

This stance, combined with a lack of regulatory oversight and monitoring necessary to ensure the plants’ safety and environmental standards, has stirred dissatisfaction among local residents, and prompted vocal protests unseen in years past.

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China’s Emissions Targets: a (Non)Reductionist Approach

Posted in CO2 Emissions, International Agreements, Politics, US-China by ebalkan on June 12, 2009

NO emissions caps china us copenhagen carbon dioxide kyoto protocol developing country developed committment reductions targets intensity energy five-year planThe past week of events – from a U.S. Senate hearing, to remarks by China’s State Council, to high-level talks in Beijing – have scattered a layer of rich soil from which robust US-China cooperation on climate change might spring forth.

However, that soil is not uniform in content. The issue of quantifiable emissions reductions, central to continued bilateral discussions leading up to Copenhagen, is anything but homogeneously understood, as recent events demonstrate. (more…)

China’s Smart Grid Ambitions Could Open Door to US-China Cooperation

Posted in Electricity, Renewable Energy, smart grid, US-China by ebalkan on June 5, 2009
China's Power Sector Investment

China's Power Sector Investment

China’s largest electric transmission company has announced an ambitious plan to develop a national smart grid by 2020 that would help utilities and their customers transport and use energy more efficiently.

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Chinese Solar Company Plans U.S. Manufacturing Plant

Posted in Business & Finance, Electricity, Regulations, Renewable Energy by ebalkan on May 14, 2009

shi zhengrong suntech solar US manufacturing plant stimulus texas incentives PV panel largest leader photovoltaic module chinaChina-based solar producer Suntech Power announced plans this week to build a manufacturing facility in the United States to serve the growing U.S. market for large-scale utility projects and to take advantage of government incentives. (more…)

Chinese Bamboo Keyboard Manufacturer a Local Green Design Leader

bamboo keyboard sustainable rapidly regenerating material flooring chinaJiangqiao Bamboo and Wood hails from China’s Jiangxi province, where bamboo resources are plentiful. Though the company began as a flooring company, they are now diversifying their production to include the latest in green design: bamboo keyboards.

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Promises and Pitfalls

Posted in Climate change, Environmental Policies, US-China by ebalkan on May 7, 2009

powerplant US-China collaboration cooperation bilateral negotiation climate CO2 emissions Copenhagen

This article originally featured in China Dialogue.

Forging a new partnership between the United States and China can help address climate change, but only if regulatory and market shortcomings can be overcome.

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China Floats Carbon Tax Plan as a Means to Curb Emissions

china-smog-carbon-dioxide-emissionsThe Chinese government is considering imposing a pro rata carbon tax on coal and fossil fuels such as gasoline, jet fuel, and natural gas, Finance Ministry official Su Ming has told the country’s state-run media.

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Bloomberg’s Ambitious Plan to Improve Energy Efficiency in NY Buildings

Posted in CO2 Emissions, Energy, Environmental Policies, Green Building & Construction by ebalkan on April 27, 2009

energy nyc buildings emissions consumption demand electricity thermal sector power transportNew York Mayor Bloomberg harnessed the green power of Earth Day to unveil a plan that would require NYC buildings – responsible for 80% of the city’s emissions – to undergo regular energy audits and retrofits, as needed, in order to become more energy efficient.

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Fortune China’s “25 Powerful People in Business” Suggests Getting Rich, ESG is Glorious

Posted in Automobiles, Business & Finance, Renewable Energy by ebalkan on April 23, 2009

AUTOSHOW/For the fifth year running, Fortune China has published its “25 Most Influential Business Leaders in China 2008” list, the feature article in the April issue. As in the past, selection was based on “leading executives influential within their corporation and industry, and capable of changing things on a wide scale,” both in China and internationally, said the syndicate.

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Guardian Article on China Emissions Plan Amounts to Wishful Thinking

Posted in CO2 Emissions, International Agreements, News & Media by ebalkan on April 21, 2009

pollution emissions carbon target reduction mitigation copenhagen coordination treaty multilateral china us co2 GHGThose who stumbled across the recent Guardian article “China Considers Setting Targets for Carbon Emissions” probably did not fall off of their seats like I did. But at the very least you might have involuntarily raised an eyebrow, or two, and thought “huh, now that’s a game changer.”

For people who monitor developments in climate negotiations religiously, this article was practically heaven sent. But, upon closer examination, it proved little more than a manipulated quote and a very sexy, if misleading argument.

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Shanghai to Pilot China’s First Municipal Emissions Exchange

Posted in Business & Finance, Carbon Markets, Climate change, Environmental Policies by ebalkan on April 21, 2009
CO2 emissions exchange carbon credit CER CDM Shanghai China Kyoto Protocol reductions mitigate intensity efficiency market mechanism incentive

Annual CO2 Emissions

Shanghai, often recognized for its free-market tendencies and environmental leadership, is introducing China’s first municipal trading mechanism as a means to curb pollution. Last Friday, in advance of a major carbon trade industry event taking place in Beijing this week, word began surfacing in the Chinese media that Shanghai plans to pilot an emissions trading scheme that will involve more than 300 companies’ trading “pollution discharge rights.”

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