Climate change

Climate change

Green push a rare bright spot for Chinese diplomacy
China has doubled down on its environmental diplomacy, making pledges on global issues such as climate change and biodiversity and projecting itself as a world leader. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly last month, President Xi Jinping said China would reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060. The pledge was welcomed by the international community. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she welcomed China’s ambition to curb emissions and achieve carbon neutrality, but said there was still a lot of work to be done. Another landmark moment for China in the international environmental arena is in May, when the country is expec
China, US trade barbs at UN General Assembly
Tensions between the US and China overshadowed a high-profile United Nations meeting after Beijing hit back at US President Donald Trump’s fierce accusations over China’s coronavirus response and environmental record. Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador to the UN, said on Wednesday the US had abused the organization’s platform to spread “groundless accusations.” The comments were a response to Trump’s address at the General Assembly calling for accountability after China “unleashed this plague onto the world” and slamming the World Health Organization (WHO) as being “virtually controlled by China.” Zhang said China held an “open, transparent and responsible attitude” during the outbreak, while the
China has a path to become a climate change leader
If it wants, China can sustainably phase-out coal-fired power and keep the climate from warming by 2°C (3.6°F), without creating a serious economic impact.  According to a new study of the energy sector, China can meet a more ambitious goal of keeping warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F), but that would require meticulous planning and financial support to retire the coal plants.  “This report shows that a sustainable coal power phase-out in China is possible, by rapidly retiring the low-hanging fruit and gradually reducing the operating hours of the remaining [coal-fired power] plants,” said Jiang Kejun, a co-lead author of the study and senior researcher with the Chinese government-backed Energy Resear
This woman uses wacky dresses to help change the world
Most people choose what they wear to flatter their bodies.  For Chinese artist Kong Ning, fashion is a soapbox she can employ to call people’s attention to some of the most pressing issues affecting the world. And when she uses that soapbox, Kong goes all out. In 2015, she wore an outfit dotted with hundreds of anti-pollution breathing masks and sauntered around smog-choked Beijing.  In 2013, she stitched 999 respirators onto a wedding dress. She titled it “Marry the Blue Sky” and wore it at the Beijing Exhibition Center. In 2016, she wore a wedding dress – made of 100 inflatable white doves – at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. She attached plastic models of Notre
Hong Kong to ban diesel and gas cars in 20 years
Hong Kong plans to phase out all fossil fuel vehicles over the next 10 to 20 years and switch to electric modes of commercial and public transport to improve air quality, according to the city’s environment chief. Roadside pollution remains a major concern in Hong Kong, which has one of the world’s highest population and traffic densities. The government’s push could potentially accelerate electric vehicle adoption in the small and wealthy financial hub, which has already seen EV sales grow a hundredfold in less than a decade.  As of August, there were 12,195 electric vehicles approved for road use in Hong Kong, up from fewer than 100 at the end of 2010. Today, EVs make up about 1.8% of priv
‘Go back to school’: Greta Thunberg’s call for action divides Chinese internet
In an emotional message to the UN’s Climate Action Summit in New York this week, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg slammed world leaders for failing to take action on climate change. But China’s online community was largely unmoved and divided over whether her activism was meaningful. “What this girl is doing is just talking the talk,” read a comment on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.  “She started to go on strike at age 14. How much knowledge does she have? Without much knowledge in her mind, how can she propose solutions to deal with environmental problems?” it continued. While the Chinese government has vowed to play a major role in responding to climate change, the online
China on track to meet carbon target years early, study says
China’s carbon emissions could peak as soon as 2021, years earlier than the deadline it agreed to under the Paris climate accord, according to a new study. As the world’s most populous country and second-largest economy, China emits more carbon dioxide than any other nation. Under the Paris accord to keep global warming to 2℃ or less by the end of the century, China has pledged that its CO2 emissions would stop rising by 2030.  But a study published in Nature Sustainability on July 29 estimates that China’s emissions will peak between 2021 and 2025.  The peer-reviewed projection is based on an examination of historical CO2 emissions in 50 Chinese cities between 2000 and 2016.  It says per c
The slimy victims of China’s heatwave
China’s ongoing heatwave has claimed another victim: the sea cucumber. The slimy creature is prized in Chinese cuisine for its unique texture. But with waters warming, the sea cucumbers being farmed in northeast China’s Liaoning province couldn’t handle the heat. Some 75,000 tons of sea cucumbers have been claimed by the heatwave, at an estimated cost of $1 billion.
Heatwaves will make parts of China the deadliest places on earth
Summer’s here, and it’s hot. Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. Hot enough to… shut your body down and kill you within six hours? A spike in heatwaves as a result of climate change could make one of China’s main agricultural regions the deadliest place on Earth. The massive North China Plain, which spans 35 million acres across five provinces, from Beijing in the north to Shanghai in the east, is currently home to about 400 million people. It generates 20% of the country’s grains, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. But according to a study by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, the predicted