Chinese “Ivory Queen” captured in Tanzania [Washington Post]

A 66 year old Chinese auntie is an unlikely suspect for a black market smuggling kingpin, but reports emerged last week claiming exactly that. Yang Feng Glan (dubbed the ‘Ivory Queen’ by authorities) has gained notoriety for smuggling over 700 ivory tusks over 15 years and facilitating the killing of hundreds of animals in protected areas. She was arrested after a daring escape attempt involving a car chase in Dar Es Salaam (seriously). However, putting aside the amusing story and light-hearted media coverage this is a huge victory for East Africa’s endangered species: as one Tanzanian official put it, “She played a tremendous role in the killing of animals,”.

China’s Sponge Cities [Guardian]

China is enthusiastically embracing a new system of collecting rainwater in a bid to hydrate its thirsty cities. 16 urban districts have been selected to become ‘sponge cities’, investing 600 million RMB in each area to transform their roads and public spaces into permeable surfaces that trap rainwater, instead of channelling it straight into drains and rivers. If successful, this will have the dual advantage of both helping China’s disastrous water shortages, while helping reduce risks of flooding. 

How China can get serious on climate change [The Diplomat]

Anthony Kleven for the Diplomat emphasises that while China’s environmental policy moves far beyond empty promises and has some serious ‘meat on its bones’, it needs to get serious on its coal consumption problem. We agree.

China and US need to look beyond energy to tackle climate change [China Dialogue]

The US and China have made much lauded leaps and bounds in their commitments to clean energy recently. However, this piece from China Dialogue argues that too heavy a focus is placed on the energy sector and agricultural and food security have a big part to play in the fight against climate change. 

China’s Tianjin to relocate chemical firms after blasts [Reuters]

The chemical blast that killed over 160 people revealed deep rooted, systematic problems with the way China handles and stores hazardous chemicals. Authorities have now announced that chemical firms will be moved to an industrial zone 30km from the blast site and 10 km from the nearest residential area. Chemical blasts are still a problem that occur with alarming frequency in China and it Is yet to be seen whether these kinds of preventative measures are being applied nationwide.