GP0STO5EJ_Web_size_with_credit_line.jpg

 Friday roundup featuring environmental news and commentary of the week.

China’s coal towns are literally sinking [Fortune]

First Beijing and now Shanxi. In addition to 10 billion USD of environmental damage, years of mining has caused a serious subsidence problem in the central Chinese province of Shanxi. Over 650,000 thousand people will have to be moved by the end of next year from homes made unsafe by the coal industry.

Read how coal has caused drought and migration in the Kuye River Basin here.

Coal Burning Causes the Most Air Pollution Deaths in China [New York Times]

Coal burning is the biggest source of deadly air pollution, directly responsible for the deaths of 366,000 deaths in 2013 alone according to a new study. This is grim news, but there is cause for hope: there’s a very good reason to believe that China has in fact already reached peak coal.

China may be entering “post-coal growth.” But don’t get too excited. [Vox]

“China may be over the coal hump, but the world isn’t”. As China makes a decisive transition away from coal, coal burning could continue to grow in other developing economies, with hundreds of planned coal plants in India, Southeast Asia and across the world.

China's Empty Oceans [ Bloomberg]

After announcing that parts of China’s fisheries are so depleted that there are virtually ‘no fish’ left, China is considering cutting down its distant water fishing fleet and imposing moratoriums on fishing in certain areas. It can’t happen soon enough: China’s out of control distant water fishing industry is wildly out of control. Read more about it here.

China Proposing California-Like Mandates for Electric Cars [Bloomberg]

China has overtaken the US to become the world’s largest market for electric cars and is now looking to emulate California to speed up the transition away from fossil fuel burning vehicles.

...and one more…

Can a new park save China’s big cats? [Science]

A dedicated group of conservationists has successfully petitioned for a 15,000 square kilometer national park to be set up, in the hopes of saving China’s critically endangered big cats. The park, when established, will be 60% larger than Yellowstone and will provide a sanctuary for China’s 27 remaining Siberian Tigers and 42 remaining Amur Leopards, from the  triple threat of poaching, development and deforestation that has devastated their populations. It’s the beginning stage of a system of national parks to be established across China, many of which are dedicated to the protection of different endangered species.