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

Chinese emissions of two key pollutants drop slightly in first half of 2015 [Reuters]

China’s Ministry of the Environment announced this week that emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide have lowered in the first half of this year. Moreover, the government has making the Environmental Law that came into effect January 1 of this year, that imposes unlimited fines on polluting industries. The Ministry revealed that the first seven months of this year alone saw 350 cases involving 282 million RMB of fines for violating environmental laws.  

Surge in illegal logging by Chinese in Myanmar alarms activists [Guardian]

Illegal timber from Myanmar has been flowing into China at an alarming rate, according to activists from the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency. The issue has flared up again in recent years as it has been revealed that loggers are heading deeper into the country to cut down valuable tree species. The China-Myanmar border is notoriously ill-regulated and has long been a hotbed for illegal trade, including precious gems and human trafficking. 

City Cuts Eliminate as Much Global Warming Pollution as Japan Produces  [Scientific America] 

Plans to peak greenhouse gas emissions from 11 Chinese cities will eliminate 1.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, according to the White House- approximately the same amount produced annually by Japan or Brazil. Not to be outdone, several major cities across the US have also made big promises- Seattle has pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2050, while California has set its sights on 80% emissions reduction by mid-century. 

The U.S. And China Are Trying To Tackle Climate Change From The Bottom Up [Huffington Post]

As China and the US gear up for the December climate conference, Greenpeace East Asia campaigner Li Shuo speaks to the Huffington Post emphasizing the importance of local-level actions. 

Clean Air Tech Competition Seeks Pollution Treatment Providers [Environmental Leader]

The Clean Air alliance of China, a non-profit think tank has launched the Bluetech Award competition, in a bid to find innovative solutions to China’s Air pollution problem. The winners will be judged on the financial viability, environmental impact and technical performance. 

Image credit: Michael Mandiberg