Nothing spells trouble like dead pigs in a river. This week, more than 6,600 pig carcasses have been pulled from the river that runs through the heart of Shanghai, China’s financial hub, eliciting public disgust and anger.
However the dead pigs of Shanghai are hardly the worst thing to hit China’s rivers. After all, more than 39 per cent of the water in China’s main rivers is already so toxic that any human contact should be avoided, according to a 2011 government study. Shanghai’s main river, the Huangpu, is pristine by comparison – with or without a few decaying pig bodies. So perhaps it shouldn’t have been surprising that city authorities swiftly declared that the little porkers had not affected the safety of Shanghai’s tap water. Continue reading »
By uncanny coincidence, the record-breaking pollution that has enveloped Beijing comes almost exactly 60 years after London’s Great Smog of 1952, the worst case of air pollution in British history.
The comparison will not be lost in China. Many Chinese will remember Mao-era propaganda films which often showed London’s smogs as evidence of the failure of capitalism. Britain responded to the enviromental crisis with a clean-up. It’s time for China to do the same. Continue reading »
Polish Christmas traditions include all the usuals such as trees, presents and carols, but there is also a new one – growing protests about the treatment of carp, the main course of most Christmas Eve dinners.
Weeks before Christmas, animal rights groups started a national campaign trying to get people to change their habit of buying live carp. Millions of Poles tote the fatty bottom-dwelling fish home in plastic bags and then pop the fish into the bathtub, where it swims in circles before being killed on December 24. Continue reading »
As construction starts on a controversial hydropower project in Laos, it becomes clearer by the day that this poor and underdeveloped country is likely to place its ambition to be the “battery of south-east Asia” above any cost to the environment – and that price will be considerable. Continue reading »
Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, was often cast as a champion of the environment. So much, that last month Bolivia passed the world’s first ruling that grants rights to nature.
The law, which the former llama herder and coca grower called a means “to live in equilibrium and harmony with Mother Earth,” gives spiritual value to the land – way beyond its intrinsic environmental, social, and not to mention, economic significance. Continue reading »
Three legal challenges against Shell for pollution charges in the Niger Delta could set precedents for how multinational companies are sued for environmental damages in developing countries. All three inquiries – in the UK, the Netherlands and the US – are being judged in countries other than the one in which damages are said to have occurred.
Shell’s trial in the Netherlands, for which evidence was submitted last week, is thought to be the first time a Dutch company has been brought before a home court to answer charges of environmental damage caused abroad. Continue reading »
“This is a great move by Cathay. It didn’t say how much shark’s fin it has been carrying, but at least it sets a good example for other companies to follow,” says Stanley Shea of Bloom Association, a non-profit organisation focusing on marine conservation. Continue reading »
Africa’s oil and gas industry has gained a lot of new players in recent times, but Nigeria remains by far the biggest producer on the continent. Pumping oil for over 50 years, it still has three times more in reserves than its nearest rival Angola. Its gas reserves could supply the EU for 11 years. However, as a new FT Special Report shows, a range of problems prevent Nigeria realising the potential of these endowments. Continue reading »
World leaders in Brazil for the Rio+20 Summit have a lengthy agenda in front of them and a great responsibility on their shoulders. The first Earth Summit twenty years ago was crucial in raising global awareness of the impact, including through climate change, we were having on our planet.
But this awareness has not yet led to the fundamental changes we need in our behaviour to make the switch to a truly sustainable future. Continue reading »
Forests and their contribution to mitigating climate change are an important issue in the context of sustainable development at Rio+20, whose themes include how to build an institutional framework for sustainable development. Continue reading »