Air pollution more than half of environmental complaints in China

BEIJING — The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) received information from more than 88,000 members of the public about pollution in the first quarter of 2017, with air pollution topping complaints, it said Thursday.

Most of the complaints were lodged through the telephone hotline “12369” and the remainder through the official MEP WeChat account and website. More than 63,000 cases have been concluded.

Of all, 55 percent were related to air quality, while pollution of noise, water and solid waste accounted for 30 percent, 10 percent and seven percent, respectively, according to the ministry.

Construction firms were the subject of the majority of complaints — 33 percent of the total, followed by chemical production and hospitality entities.

Complaints in north China focused on dust emission from boilers and steel mills, while the south of the country was irked by the unpleasant stench from landfills. Industrial waste gas was a common complaint in eastern regions.

Source:China Daily, Xinhua News Agency

Emission goals in China on target for 2020: UN

China is among a select group of nations on track to meet their emission-reduction goals by the end of the decade, according to new data from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Brazil, the European Union, India and Russia join China as the global players expected to meet projections ahead of 2020, while other leading countries need to implement added measures to curb their emissions projections, the report said.
“Linking development policies with climate mitigation will help countries build the energy-efficient, low-carbon infrastructures of the future and achieve transformational changes,” Achim Steiner, UNEP’s executive director, said in a statement Wednesday that accompanied the release of the report.
Emissions Gap Report 2014 estimates that emissions need to drop 15 percent or more by 2030 in order to stay in line with the 2 degrees Celsius limit established in 2010 by the UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico. UNEP defines an emission gap as the difference between the projected emission levels in 2025 and 2030.
As part of its efforts to curb carbon emissions, China has started pilot emission-trading programs in seven provinces and municipalities, as well as drafting a comprehensive climate-change law. An emission-trading program is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants.
The high end of the UNEP estimate says that by 2020, China could reduce greenhouse-gas emission intensity, or its average emission rate based on production volumes, by up to 40 percent.
The UNEP report shows that a number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and Australia, are “likely to require further action and/or purchased offsets to meet their pledges”.
Since 1990, global greenhouse-gas emissions have grown by more than 45 percent, based on data from the UNEP.
UNEP findings state that the global emission guardrails that would provide a chance of staying within the limit include, “a peaking of emissions within the next ten years, a halving of all greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century; and in the second half of the century, carbon neutrality followed by net zero total greenhouse gas emissions.”
Steiner, who also serves as the UN’s undersecretary general, said early action on climate-change initiatives could ease pressure on the current goals for greenhouse-gas emission.
“Countries are giving increasing attention to where they realistically need to be by 2025, 2030 and beyond in order to limit a global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius,” Steiner said.
Eventual net zero climate neutrality would be the ultimate goal of these energy initiatives, he said. Net zero emission scenarios imply no input from human activity, where any remaining CO2 emissions would be negated by carbon dioxide uptake, or “negative emissions”.
The UNEP forecast, released just a few weeks ahead of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Lima, Peru (Dec 1-12), calls for global carbon neutrality to be reached between 2055 and 2070.
Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute (WRI), said in a press release Wednesday: “Negotiating a global climate deal should not be based on emotions or political whims; it should be driven by science and facts. Unfortunately, the world is not currently headed in the right direction.”
“But, with the growing momentum for global climate action, we have the opportunity to close the emissions gap and keep [it] within the limits of what science says is needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.”
China intends to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030 and will make its best efforts to do so early, according to a joint announcement made by China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama in Beijing on Nov 12.
Obama also announced a new target to cut US greenhouse-gas emissions between 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a step forward from its previous pledge of 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.
The pact marks the first time that China has set a time frame to cap its emissions. The world’s second-largest economy also committed to increasing its share of non-fossil fuel energy to about 20 percent by 2030.

Total carbon content and production of coal mines. The inset shows the comparison between carbon content from 602 coal samples and 4,243 coal mines Each dot in the inset indicates the average of carbon content from 602 coal samples and 4,243 coal mines in the same 1°by 1° grid. The nearly one-to-one correlation indicates that samples and mines capture the same spatial variability of coal carbon content across China.

Source: Reduced carbon emission estimates from fossil fuel combustion and cement production in China. Nature, 524, 335-338

Source:China Daily, Xinhua News Agency

Researchers Find Monetary Value Of Air Quality In China

Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health and Peking University have found that Chinese families are willing to invest up to 6 percent of their annual income in efforts to improve air quality.

Published in Ecological Economics on March 7, the study aimed to determine the amount people are willing to pay for efforts to reduce air pollution, such as environmental policies to introduce more electric cars and natural gas heating. The researchers found that on average, families with children under the age of 6 are willing to invest 5.9 percent of their annual income, while families without children under 6 years old are willing to pay 3.3 percent.

“When we get all these values of willingness to pay for major population groups for China, we can let the policymakers know what is the potential demand and how they can match the demand and supply of good air,” said Xi Chen, a lead author on the study and a professor at the School of Public Health.

Xiaobo Zhang, chair of the Peking University economics department and a co-author on the study, emphasized the growing concern of air pollution in China and his interest in studying its impact, as well as solutions to resolving the crisis. Chen said that in recent years, the Chinese government has been increasing environmental regulations in an effort to combat the phenomenon.

Image: The smog under the Zhongyuan Fortune Tower in Zhengzhou (Credits: Sammy Corfield via Wikimedia Commons)

Source: ENN evironment news network