05 February 2016 Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey with Baby

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Friday Five highlighting environmental news and commentary for the week

State owned company ChemChina poised to take over Syngenta, the world’s third largest agri-tech company [ WSJ]

On Wednesday it was announced that ChemChina have placed an offer to takeover Syngenta, a major genetically engineered (GE) seeds and pesticides producer for a whopping US$43 billion. The deal would be the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company, and has potential to shake up the global GE market. GE is not the way forward, however. Greenpeace warns against the risky industry and urges governments around the world to promote sustainable ecological agriculture. See here for more on Greenpeace’s vision of environmentally friendly agriculture [http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/agriculture/ ]

China unveils first oil spill response plan [Reuters]

The Chinese government has finally unveiled a set of measures specifying how to deal with oil spill accidents. This comes a long five and half years after the ecosystem of the Bohai bay was devastated by the Dalian Oil Spill. The plan is a good step forward. However, it by no means lessens the environmental risks of fossil fuels such as oil. As well as helping to solve air pollution, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are free of such catastrophic dangers, and the government should put its effort into promoting these industries.

China’s wind energy hit new records last year! [Climate Group]

And on that note, good news as China is continuing to move in the direction of renewables. It was revealed this week that China yet again smashed records for wind energy in 2015. Wind power increased by an incredible than 60% in just one year! This is the Paris agreement in action.

China now learning it has ‘environmental migrants’ [Caixin]

China's awful air pollution could well cause a brain drain as more (wealthy) people are considering upping their roots and emigrating abroad. Air pollution is being cited as one of the top three reasons for wealthy people to leave China permanently leave China, according to a report on the country's wealthy elite. The report revealed that severely polluted days correspond to a sharp increase of the search terms related to emigration, leading to a new wave of 'environmental migrants'.

The year of the Golden Monkey [Treehugger]

The Year of the Monkey is fast approaching and conservation groups in the US and China are taking this chance to remind us of the plight of the Yunnan Golden Monkey, one of China's most critically endangered species. So elusive that they were actually believed extinct until 1962, the population is making a slow-yet-steady recovery in some areas thanks to conservation efforts. Sadly, the rest of the wild population isn’t doing so well, as illegal hunting and deforestation threaten their habitat.