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China and the Environment


One global issue that existed long before the current Covid-19 pandemic is concern for the environment. As a major developing country, China has faced the dual problems of addressing poverty and improving living standards for one quarter of the world’s population side by side with increased environmental degradation. This was very evident to urban citizens and travellers alike with obvious and dangerous air pollution, but the problems with such rapid development extended to many other environmental indicators.

Did you know that China and New Zealand co-chaired the Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Manifesto sub-forum at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019, in August. https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/29705/190825NBSManifesto.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

At the same time, China has received criticism of her environmental record from the western press. The Asian NZ Foundation survey here identifies the environment as one of the bigger concerns New Zealanders have about China.

In this newsletter, we provide several articles that give responses to this issue.

Andy Boreham gives us a view from Shanghai.

Shanghai has recently released an official, detailed master plan for building itself into an “excellent global city” by 2035, but what does that mean?

Shanghai’s Daily’s Andy Boreham is back to explain some of the main aspects of the plan, which centers around the city becoming a city of innovation, humanism, and ecology, with a global influence. Shanghai’s plans and achievements in environmental protection

Check out this short cartoon below to learn the basics of the plan, and start looking forward to an even better Shanghai! Shanghai, 加油! https://www.shine.cn/news/metro/1802281012/

China’s response to environmental issues

For reports on policy and progress taken by China are available, read more


China’s response to environmental issues

What approaches has China taken to address this major problem, which not only challenges the health of the people and contributed to global warming, but, left unsolved, also challenges the legitimacy of the government? In the post https://www.chinadialogue.net/blog/11743-China-and-the-environment-a-decade-in-review/en an overview of the progress from 2010 through to 2020 is summarised with a selection of reports that cover a range of issues faced and achievements made.

A 2018 article looks closely at the air pollution levels and targets here https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/10711-China-releases-2-2-action-plan-for-air-pollution

“Chinadialogue is an independent organisation dedicated to promoting a common understanding of China’s urgent environmental challenges. Climate change, species loss, pollution, water scarcity and environment damage are challenges that concern all the world’s citizens, and the scale of China’s problems gives them global importance. Tackling these challenges demands a common effort and shared understanding. Here at chinadialogue we aim to identify, promote and support the unique voices (and the people behind them) that increase understanding, share precious experiences and inspire a higher awareness of the planet’s challenges, no matter whether these voices come from inside China or from around the world. chinadialogue is devoted to making such voices heard by a global audience, in a lively, convincing and multi-lingual fashion. It is our hope that in doing so, we can move closer to viable, equitable and real solutions to environmental problems.”

Here are some up to date figures from CGTN:



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