Friday round-up highlighting the news and commentary of the week: 

12 arrested over Tianjin explosion [Business Insider]

Chinese state media have announced the arrest of 12 officials in connection with the Tianjin explosions which killed 139 people and displaced hundreds. Among the detained officials are the Tianjin transport department head and the president of Tianjin port. They have been accused of illegally issuing business licenses and illegal storing hazardous materials.

Beijing pollution hits record lows [Bloomberg]

Blue skies were back in Beijing this week as residents enjoyed a new phase of clear air, dubbed ‘Military Parade Blue’, after the planned celebration of the 70th anniversary of Japan’s WW2 surrender. Strict measures have been put into place to ensure clear, photogenic skies for the parade including imposing a vehicle restriction system, banning heavily polluting vehicles and shutting down factories in the surrounding areas.

China, US seek ‘Clean Coal’ Agreement as industry struggles [ABC News]

China and the US made a (slightly oxymoronic) ‘Clean Coal’ agreement this week, agreeing to work together for the advancement of technologies which will purportedly reduce the harmful impact of the fossil fuel. The world’s two biggest polluting nations will share information and results as they develop technology to capture greenhouse gases that are released from burning coal. Clean coal technology has been heavily criticized in the past, for being too expensive and unrealistic.

China Lawmakers discuss new pollution bill, coal cap clause expected [Reuters]

China’s Air Pollution Bill is getting a long awaited makeover as Chinese legislators are about to approve new amendments to the 15 year old law. Expected changes will include tougher punishments for negligent local authorities and polluting industries, and a coal cap. 

China Capital to move more polluting industry to heavily polluted Hebei [Reuters]

New plans were announced this week that Beijing will be moving more heavy industry to neighbouring Hebei Province. This could be bad news for the province which already suffers from myriad environmental problems including serious air pollution and water shortages and is home to seven of China’s ten most polluted cities. 

Image credit: Nikolaj Potanin