The world must curb the soaring use of coal, copper and other resources to prevent consumption from reaching ruinous levels by 2050, Reuters quoted a UN report as saying – and China’s economy will be a test case. China “wants to continue its rapid economic growth but use resources more sustainably,” noted the UN Environment Programme. Beijing’s steps to reconcile those “decoupling” goals, the report added, “will be of crucial significance” for other developing countries.
In an apparent effort to ease social tensions over high home prices, China said it would more than double the land supply for low-cost housing this year, according to Agence France-Presse. The land and resources ministry plans to provide 77,400 hectares for government-subsidised housing this year.
Although people on low or fixed incomes feel the pinch the most, rising food prices have hit every level of Chinese society, the Associated Press reported. Prosperity and a fast-growing middle class have encouraged a taste for “luxury” fruits and vegetables but have taxed the ability of farmers to meet the growing demand -- while the rural labour pool dwindles.
The international community should attach great importance to food security and address the problem of rising prices, China Daily quoted a Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences researcher as saying. Among steps that need to be taken, Nie Fengying said, are agricultural expansion, food-production promotion and reduction of the impact of natural disasters.
Food-safety authorities in Guangdong province raided two plants in Dongguan producing illegal cooking oil, or “gutter oil”, after receiving tips from the public, Xinhua said. The often-toxic oil -- one of several illicit products that the government is cracking down on – is made from waste oil dredged from gutters behind restaurants.
Economically and geologically, eastern China is the region of the country most vulnerable to natural disasters, according to a new national risk map, China Daily reported. The east -- particularly the coast – is fast-developing and highly populated.
The Huadian Corp will proceed with plans to dam the Nu River in south-west China as it strives to raise its total hydro capacity by 10 gigawatts before the end of 2015, Reuters quoted national media as reporting. The Nu is one the country’s few remaining undeveloped rivers and has been a key focus for environmentalists.
Chinese airlines have joined American rivals in opposing their inclusion in the European Union’s carbon-emissions market from 2012, Reuters said. On January 1, all airlines flying to Europe are to be included in the scheme, which forces polluters to buy permits for each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit above a certain cap. The China Air Transport Association said the move will increase its members’ costs.
Volkswagen, with FAW Group, plans to launch electric cars in China under a new Kaili brand, joining other foreign players in the race to develop the sector, Reuters reported. Production could begin by the end of 2013.
It’s a campaign fronted not by placards and protest marches, but a team of lawyers. Tom Levitt meets the UK-based legal activists fighting air pollution through the courts