1. China beginning to clamp down on its enormous coal power bubble

Due to the economic slowdown and the rapid growth of renewables, China is no longer in need of power from dirty and thirsty (see this week’s number two story) coal-fired power stations. Greenpeace have shown, however, that in spite of this, last year at least 210 new coal power plants were already en route to being approved. On Thursday this week Chinese media reported that the Chinese government would begin to suspend the construction of new coal power plants, the government’s first move in tackling this massive problem.

2. Coal Plants tied to water shortage across northern China

Yes, they have been found guilty again. Coal-fired power plants not only pollute the air, they also consume massive amounts of water. Moreover, in China 45% of coal power plants are located in already highly arid areas. Every year the plants located in these areas consume enough water to meet the basic needs of a shocking 186 million people! One more reason why we need to ditch coal and move towards a world powered by renewables.

3. China’s reforestation faster than expected

According to recently released NASA images, China is well on track to restore its forests after centuries of felling. The satellite images show that 1.6% of China’s total land surface has become forested in the span of just one decade. This was a surprise to many and is a positive sign for the country.

4. Is China exporting its environmental problems?

However, a report released last week also showed evidence that while China is make great efforts to preserve and restore ecosystems at home, the continued demand for products such as timber has simply meant destructive practices have been pushed elsewhere. China is now the world’s largest importer of timber, and measures to ensure the legality of that timber fall seriously short, as Greenpeace investigations in the Congo Basin have clearly shown.

5. China, the global leader on green energy investment

Ending this week’s news roundup on a positive note, Reuters reported that China is now by far the world’s leading investor in green energy sources such as wind and solar. Great news! The challenge now is to kick coal off the grid and make sure none of that clean, green energy gets wasted.