A New Environmental History of Socialist States

Review of: Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro, Socialist States and the Environment: Lessons for Ecosocialist Futures (London: Pluto Press, 2021), 288 pages, $26.95, paperback. Starting in the late 1970s, a narrative emerged about the extreme levels of environmental damage in the Soviet Union and, by implication, most state-socialist countries. The explosion and initial cover-up at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 did much to crystallize this image of the environmental record of socialist states as being worse than those of their capitalist counterparts. Instead, over the past twenty years, environmental historians of the Soviet Union have largely come to the opposite conclusion. As … Continue reading A New Environmental History of Socialist States

China chairs UN Convention on Biological Diversity

China currently holds the rotating Presidency of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). This is the first time China has overseen a major UN intergovernmental negotiation on the environment. The first meeting in the current … Continue reading China chairs UN Convention on Biological Diversity

For China are heat waves are the ‘new normal’ under climate change?

It’s not a mirage. Across China, heat waves are becoming more frequent, lasting longer, and getting hotter — with deadly consequences. For more than a month, much of China has been blanketed by extreme heat. From June 16 to July … Continue reading For China are heat waves are the ‘new normal’ under climate change?

Historic droughts trigger power shortages in China’s Yangtze basin

Since mid-June, China has been facing the most intense and enduring heat waves since records began in 1961, according to the National Climate Centre. In the past week, the middle and lower Yangtze River basin has experienced exceptionally hot and dry spells in what is supposed to be the flood season, forcing provinces to suspend or restrict power to businesses to ensure supply for households. The Poyang and Dongting lakes, the two largest lakes in the Yangtze basin, as well as part of the river itself, are experiencing water levels 4.7 to 5.7 metres lower than the historical average and … Continue reading Historic droughts trigger power shortages in China’s Yangtze basin

Environmental noise affects mate choice in animals: Chinese study

Chinese researchers have discovered that noise influences mate choice based on visual information in animals via cross-sensory interference, according to the Chengdu Institute of Biology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Animal communication is often hampered by noise interference, while little is known about its cross-modal effect and how animals weigh unimodal and multimodal courtship cues in noisy environments. Using tree frogs as experimental objects, researchers from the institute presented unimodal signals (sound or vocal sac) and multimodal signals (sound and vocal sac) to female frogs by using audio or video playbacks to test the female frogs’ ability of processing … Continue reading Environmental noise affects mate choice in animals: Chinese study

China’s plan to clean up ‘new pollutants’

“This is a significant step forward for China’s chemical regime.” Liu Jianguo, Associate Professor, Peking University Hopes are high that a Chinese action plan will help control chemicals with ongoing harmful effects. In 2014, China declared a “war on pollution”. … Continue reading China’s plan to clean up ‘new pollutants’

Chinese research: Global warming of 2.0C could ‘double’ flooding costs in China compared to 1.5C

Economic losses from flooding in China at 2C of global warming could be double those at 1.5C, research suggests.  The study was by a group of researchers at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, and the College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing. Their findings were published in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, estimates future flood risk across China under 1.5C and 2C of warming and its impact on people and wider society. Compared with 1.5C of global warming, “the probability of the severe flood … Continue reading Chinese research: Global warming of 2.0C could ‘double’ flooding costs in China compared to 1.5C

A decade of rising forest cover and better protecting the environment in China

Ten years is a short period of time in human history but diligent people, with the support of good governance, can create miracles in that short time. A veteran journalist with China Daily reviews the afforestation measures China has taken … Continue reading A decade of rising forest cover and better protecting the environment in China

China’s farmers embrace rooftop solar power

China has vowed to accelerate the installation of clean energy. Rooftop solar installations have emerged as a major force to achieve that. Nearly 53 gigawatts of solar capacity were added in 2021, with more than half coming from rooftop installations. … Continue reading China’s farmers embrace rooftop solar power

China appoints 1.2 million ‘forest chiefs’ in over one year

Xinhua reports that China has achieved its goal of establishing the “forest chief” scheme as scheduled, with nearly 1.2 million “forest chiefs” appointed in over a year, the forestry authority said on 14 July 2022. With the comprehensive implementation of the scheme, the country’s management of forest and grassland resources has strengthened, said Xu Jide, an official with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, at a press conference. The number of administrative cases related to forestry and grass matters dropped 21 percent year on year in 2021, Xu said, adding that significant progress has been made in scientific afforestation, and … Continue reading China appoints 1.2 million ‘forest chiefs’ in over one year