1. The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

This day last week Beijing – Zhangjiakou were selected by the International Olympic Committee as the joint hosts of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Beijing bid had faced much criticism due to the region’s infamously toxic air quality and relatively low water resources. In response, Beijing made numerous environmental commitments, including ensuring WHO interim target standard air quality during the two weeks of the competition and a carbon neutral Games. For Greenpeace’s take on these commitments see here.

2. Ozone pollution largest threat to health of Shangaiers

The South China Morning Post reported that the gases which make up ozone pollution are now a far larger threat to the health of Shanghai residents than PM2.5, the most commonly measured air pollutant. Moreover, whilst PM2.5 levels can be tackled directly by closing factories and power plants (particularly those burning coal), ozone pollution is far harder to solve.

3. Urban design is key to environmental sustainability

Efficient cities are environmentally friendly cities. For rapidly urbanising China, ensuring that its cities and mega-cities are efficient could be critical to the health of the environment in China and the whole world. Over the last 60 years over 90% of Chinese cities have developed along the highly inefficient and unsustainable ‘Soviet’ model, which emphasises wide boulevards and city zoning. Zhang Jifu, Party Secretary of Pinggu, a district to the north east of Beijing, notes “in the past we were after bigger and faster stuff and we built wide roads and large communities and these were actually contrary to the urban sustainability concept.”

4. The next step in pollution monitoring

Whilst changing habits of the past, China is also forging a brand new future. This week the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced that by 2020 the country will be covered by an advanced and comprehensive network of drones, satellites and remote sensors to detect land, sea and air pollution. It will be used to share information on air pollution among relevant government organs and to hold local authorities accountable on their environmental promises.

5. Panda Paparazzi: Panda fakes pregnancy for pampering

Accusations and evidence of Yuan Yuan, a Taiwan resident panda, faking pregnancy for better food and more attention have hit the press. Could this adorable bear really be so sly?