The US oil-giant ConocoPhillips, already facing public condemnation and legal action for its oil spills off China’s northern coast, has found seven new leaks near a platform in Bohai Bay, Xinhua quoted maritime authorities as saying. Liu Cigui, head of the State Oceanic Administration’s North China Sea branch, referred to the spills – first reported in June -- as the “worst oceanic environmental accident” in Chinese history.
China has vastly increased the risk of a nuclear accident by choosing cheap technology that will be 100 years old by the time dozens of reactors reach the end of their lifespan, The Guardian reported diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Beijing as saying. The cables, newly released by WikiLeaks, and dating to 2008, highlight the secrecy of the bidding process, the influence of government lobbying, and potential management and regulatory weaknesses in China’s nuclear sector.
The Guardian also said an American diplomat posed as a Korean tourist in 2007 to investigate the notorious Xiongsen tiger and bear centre in the Guangxi region, outside the southern city of Guilin. At the time, the diplomat’s cable -- also released by WikiLeaks – notified the US government of doubts about China’s tiger-conservation efforts.
A sprawling lake area on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has expanded, according to China Daily, following government restoration measures begun six years ago to prevent the environmentally degraded area from shrinking. Sanjiangyuan, the source of China’s three most important rivers – the Yellow, the Yangtze and the Lancang (Mekong) -- reportedly has increased by 245 square kilometres in the past few years.
Five people have been detained over a Chinese chemical company’s illegal dumping of carcinogenic industrial chemicals in Qujing, Yunnan province, China Daily said. The Luliang Chemical Industry Company was found to have dumped over 5,000 tonnes of chromium-contaminated waste near a reservoir and on hills. Rain in June washed some of the toxins into local water supplies.
China’s environmental problems remain a cause for global concern as climate change continues to reduce agricultural production and create instability in world food prices, according to the Worldwatch Institute. Its updated report “Green Economy and Green Jobs in China”, written with researchers at China’s Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies, examines the current status of the country’s environmental stability and the potential for 2020.
The US car-rental firm Hertz is to start providing electric cars in China, even offering them with chauffeurs, The New York Times said. At the outset, Hertz plans to rent just two BYD mid-size electric cars each in three cities -- Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen – in what is being seen as the latest sign of western interest in working with China on advanced-technology vehicles.
As auto sales boom in China, The Guardian reported, drivers are showing little sign of interest in electric and hybrid vehicles, despite ambitious government plans. Sales of sports utility vehicles are said to be surging, however.
Prepared in cooperation with PACE