China: Politicians set to clash over new environmental laws

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China: New environmental regulations in China and competing political pressures could set up a dispute among the country’s leaders. Responding to growing public discord about severe smog, the government has enacted several new environmental regulations that some regional leaders could view as an obstacle to hitting economic growth targets. (Washington Post)

The economy versus environment debate is often described as a “false choice” in the west.

Read more about China’s climate change legislation here.

This methane plant at a Chinese coal mine looks to capture and use gases that are not only bad for the climate, but can also prove deadly to miners (Source: Flickr/CDM Photo Contest)

The country relies heavily on high-emitting coal power and is looking for cleaner alternatives.

A recent auction of licences for “fracking” operations to tap shale gas reserves saw a diverse mix of companies bidding including property developers, a grain trader and a tobacco dealer. This has raised questions over how long it will take China to bring in overseas expertise to exploit its gas resources. (Reuters)

The government has also announced extra funding to help firms exploit coal bed methane. (Xinhua)

EU: Europe risks being left behind the rest of the world when it comes to alternative transport fuels, unless it pushes through regulations to build millions of new gas and electric refuelling points. The plans were debated by EU transport ministers for the first time on Monday. Concerns about a rigid 2020 deadline and the cost of installing the new infrastructure featured highly. (Reuters)

South Africa: The South African government has agreed to buy half the power generated by the first phase of an $80bn hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The deal is expected to enable the DRC to finalise the first $10bn of funding needed for the seven stage project. (Renewable Energy World)

UK: Former UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne was jailed for eight months yesterday after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice. In 2003 Huhne asked his then wife Vicky Pryce to take speeding points on his behalf. The extra penalty points would have meant him losing his licence. (Daily Telegraph)

Australia: The Australian government is to tighten environmental regulations on coal and coal seam gas mining. The move is in response to heightened concern from the public about water resources. Mine operators will now have to have their water impact assessment approved by the government. (Reuters)

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