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

Why I’m optimistic China can avert an environmental catastrophe [SCMP]

Like Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio, David Dodwell (Executive Director of the Hong Kong-APEC Trade Policy Group) is feeling positive about China’s ongoing battle to wrestle down its carbon emissions.

China Curbs Plans for More Coal-Fired Power Plants [New York Times]

China has halted plans for new coal-fired power stations in many parts of the country and construction of some approved plants will be postponed until at least 2018. However, the move won’t stop CPFF’s already under construction from going ahead, meaning China still has a coal power overcapacity problem.

Report on Changzhou Pollution Raises Doubts [Voice of America]

Local authorities in Jiangsu Province have released a statement claiming that the quality of the soil and water surrounding Changhzhou Foreign Languages School complies with national safety standards. The school hit the headlines last week when a report exposed that nearly 500 students had fallen sick a few months after the school’s campus moved to a former toxic chemical dump.

China to unroll nationwide soil pollution survey [Financial Times]

China has announced that it will roll out a national survey to identify hotspots for heavy metal, chemicals and other toxic pollutants in an effort to tackle its gargantuan soil pollution problem. It is not clear yet whether the  results will be made public- the details of the last pollution survey were kept under wraps for three years prior to publishing- but if they are, it’ll be an important step towards securing desperately needed transparency in China’s chemical industry.

What Can China Learn from Love Canal? [The Diplomat]

Love Canal was a chemical industrial accident that happened in the US in the 70’s which led to increased environmental legislation regulating the country’s chemical industry. Following China’s eerily similar case in Changzhou last week, the government could lessons from the incident when developing soil pollution legislation.