More than 99% of all major global airlines have complied with the first step of the European Union’s scheme to charge them for their carbon emissions, The Guardian quoted Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, as saying. Only eight Chinese airlines and two Indian ones did not submit required baseline emissions data for 2011 by the 31 March deadline – now extended to mid-June.
Chinese airlines will not abide by the system without being ordered to do so by their government, China Daily cited an official of the China Air Transport Association as saying. In February, the country’s Civil Aviation Administration forbade the airlines from abiding by the EU scheme without Chinese government permission.
Beijing will introduce fuel standards on May 31 that municipal officials say are close to the EU’s Euro V standards, China Daily said. All fuel in the city will need to adhere to the new standards, which are expected to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from 50 to 10 milligrammes per kilogramme, according to the Beijing environmental protection bureau.
The US consulate in Shanghai began issuing its own pollution statistics, giving a much more pessimistic assessment of the city’s air quality than does official Chinese data, according to Agence France-Presse. Hourly air-quality data from a monitoring device at the consulate is posted online and via Twitter. As at the US embassy in Beijing, the consulate monitors smaller particles known as PM 2.5.
An advanced pollution-monitoring system developed by British scientists, which scans air quality across whole cities, is to be trialled in London during the Olympics in July, the Press Association reported. Unlike conventional “hotspot” systems, it provides a wide-ranging “map” that can show air quality at every point in a city – allowing for pollution readings at specific places, such as road junctions and children’s playgrounds.
Leaders of the G-8 countries committed themselves to a “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition” in association with African and other nations, Zee News said. Aimed at lifting 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade, the alliance aims to speed the flow of private capital to African agriculture, foster innovations to increase sustainable agricultural productivity, and reduce the risk borne by vulnerable economies.
The US imposed punitive tariffs of about 30% on solar panel imports from China, Reuters reported. The commerce department acted after ruling in favour of American companies that accused Chinese exporters of “dumping” cut-price panels. “By deliberately provoking trade friction in the clean-energy sector,” China’s ministry of commerce said, “the US is sending the world a negative signal about trade protectionism.”
More than 100 aftershocks rattled Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck small towns on the plains north of Bologna, The Guardian said. At least seven people were killed in the quake, which drove thousands from their homes and also seriously damaged churches, clock towers and castles, some dating back centuries.
Moves by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to devolve powers to the local level is a mistake, says Friends of Nature director Li Bo