Xinhua reported a “huge gap” between China’s emissions reduction and energy-saving results for the first half of this year and targeted cuts, as shown by Ministry of Environmental Protection statistics. Although chemical oxygen demand and sulphur dioxide output fell, emissions of nitrogen oxides rose by more than 6% in the six-month period, while industrial power consumption in parts of western China soared.
Another set of official figures revealed sea levels along China's coasts rose by more than 80 millimetres over the last three decades as a result of climate change, China Daily said. The report of a pan-government assessment of global-warming impacts also said it expected 18,000 square kilometres of coastal land to be submerged by 2080, with Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangdong the worst affected areas.
The north-western Chinese region of Xinjiang announced plans to build 59 reservoirs among its ice-capped peaks to harness water run-off from melting glaciers for irrigation, Xinhua said. Local authorities said they would construct water-storage projects on Tianshan, Kunlun and Altay mountains and that the first scheme, which has a US$1.37 billion price tag, has already broken ground.
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection started soliciting public feedback on a new and tighter air-quality index, an environment official disclosed amid mounting public disquiet over current standards, Xinhua said. The unidentified source said the provisions, which will include measuring dangerous pollutant PM 2.5, are on track to be implemented by 2016.
China has closed almost 90% of lead-acid battery makers in a government crackdown to curb lead-poisoning cases, according to an industry group quoted by Businessweek. Only 229 of 1,744 plants inspected by local environment authorities are still up and running, the China Battery Industry Association said. China is the world’s largest exporter of the batteries, which are used in electric and hybrid vehicles.
Apple, the target of a sustained campaign by Chinese environmentalists who accuse the technology giant of failing to control pollution in its supply chain, won cautious praise after meeting with NGO representatives, The Wall Street Journal reported. The campaigners commended Apple’s efforts to increase scrutiny of suppliers after it launched audits of 15 suspected polluters, but criticised a continued lack of transparency at the Californian firm.
China’s Ministry of Railways said it would gradually resume operation of 54 bullet trains recalled over safety concerns after the summer’s high-speed rail crash, Xinhua said. The trains were taken out of action in August to be investigated for equipment failure following an accident on the Beijing to Shanghai express line, which killed 40 and injured 200.
Excessive nitrite levels, which may increase cancer risks, were detected in two French mineral water brands coming into China, the country’s import safety watchdog announced. china.org.cn reported Evian and Volvic to be among some 420 imported food and cosmetic brands listed as having fallen foul of entry tests in an official report.
Prepared in cooperation with PACE
Over the past two decades UN climate talks have struggled to bridge the major differences between major negotiating blocs, something that will have to change if Paris is to deliver a strong agreement