June 21, 2016
by William Schulte

Environmental Public Interest Litigation Training Workshop

CLAPV LogoOn June 6-7, 2016, the US-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law, the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims  (CLAPV) at China University of Politics and Law, and the Beijing Huanzhu Law Firm jointly held a training workshop on environmental public interest litigation for environmental attorneys and civil society organizations in Beijing, China. Continue Reading →

May 13, 2016
by Yu Zhuang

Friends of Nature (China)’s Fight against Soil Pollution in China


Lawyer representing FON submitted complaint to court on April 29, 2016. Source: Friends of Nature (China)

As we mentioned in previous blog, on April 17, 2016, China Central Television (CCTV) broadcast a brown field pollution incident in Changzhou city, China’s Jiangsu province, where nearly 500 middle school students were reported to fall ill allegedly due to toxins from a former pesticide manufacturing site adjacent to their new campus.[1] Three days later, on April 20, Friends of Nature (FON),[2] China’s oldest environmental NGO founded in 1993, submitted 15 Open Government Information (OGI) requests to Changzhou Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB)and its Xin Bei branch.[3] On April 29, FON filed an environmental public interest litigation (EPIL) case at Changzhou City Intermediate People’s Court. China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (the Green Development Foundation), a well-known Chinese NGO dedicated to protect the environment and to conserve biodiversity in China, joined the litigation as co-plaintiff. The Beijing-based Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims at Chinese University of Political Science and Law and a local NGO in Jiangsu province, Lvse Jiangnan Public Environment Concerned Center, participated in the lawsuit as supporting entities. Continue Reading →

May 9, 2016
by Yu Zhuang
1 Comment

Soil Pollution in China Threatens the Health of its Citizens and Investment

China Soil Pollution

Source: The Guarian

On January 20, 2016, Washington Post released an article: “Six charts that explain why U.S. companies feel unwelcome in China.”[1] These six charts were published in the China Business Climate Survey Report by the American Chamber of Commerce in China. They explain six major challenges foreign companies face in China: (1) shrinking profit margins, (2) unpredictable legal environment, (3) restricted foreign NGO laws, (4) unfair interpretation of law and regulations against foreign companies, (5) censored internet, and (6) alarming air pollution.  Due to these challenges, one third of U.S. companies are not planning to expand investment in China and a quarter have either moved or plan to move capacity out of China.

Air pollution may not be the only growing environmental concern that makes it harder for American companies to attract top level executives. China is facing intimidating challenges in preventing and controlling soil pollution. Compared to air pollution, soil pollution is more easily hidden and long-lasting.  Continue Reading →

March 3, 2016
by Jeffrey P. Caesar

Social Entrepreneurship In Nepal And The Use Of Alternatives To Empower Its Most Valuable Resources: Women

Sita Adhikari at Kalpavrisksha Greater Goods

Sita Adhikari at Kalpavrisksha Greater Goods

In 2011, the Kalpavriksha Greater Goods was established as a social enterprise boutique in Chitwan Valley National Park, Nepal. Alongside Empower Generation (an international non-governmental organization whose mission is to support women’s empowerment through the use of renewable energy technology), Kalpavrisksha Greater Goods outfits women in the community with small solar powered lamps, and in turn teaches them fair-trade business practices in handy craft making skills. In return, these products are sold from the boutique and raise continual income for the women’s families in addition to supporting the efforts of the co-operative. Continue Reading →

February 26, 2016
by William Schulte

Foreign Investment in the Mekong Region: Reducing Risk and Promoting Sustainable Development


Dr. Zhou Goumei, Deputy Director General of the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center

On January 25-26, 2016 the U.S.-Asia Partnership for Environmental Law organized and co-hosted the “Foreign Investment in the Mekong Region: Reducing Risk and Promoting Sustainable Development” Symposium in Beijing in cooperation with the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center, Global Environmental Institute, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.   Continue Reading →

December 7, 2015
by Elizabeth B. Hessami, J.D., LL.M.

Afghanistan’s Elusive Mineral Wealth

Mes Aynak Gold Buddha Head

A gold-gilded Buddha statue from the 9th century at Mes Aynak, Afghanistan (Source: www.savingmesaynak.com/photos)

Afghanistan is blessed with a veritable horde of mineral wealth.  In copper alone, Afghanistan may possess up to 60 million tons buried in its arid plains.  From the days of the British Empire to the current day, these riches have remained, for the most part, firmly entrenched in the Afghan soil.  There are many dangers involved in attempting to mine in Afghanistan which remains an active conflict zone.  Transportation, governance, logistical, and environmental protection issues are all concerns for a potential mining company.  Afghanistan has endured decades of armed conflict making many companies wary of operating in the nation due to ever-increasing security concerns. Continue Reading →

November 11, 2015
by Nicholas Bihun

The Announcement of China’s Emissions Trading Scheme: Reasons for Skepticism and Prospects for Success

Barak Obama and Xi Jinping

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping Announce Monumental Climate Change Agreement (Source: PRI)

The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world, China having surpassed the United States in 2006. Between the two, the U.S. and China are responsible for one third of the globes’ greenhouse gases. In total, China’s cumulative emissions since 1990 will overtake those of the United States’ in 2016. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), China’s 1990-2016 emissions will balloon to 151 billion tons in 2016, while the U.S. will reach 147 billion. These numbers may seem staggering, even insurmountable, but the two countries took steps in November of 2014 to try to reverse these trends. A year later, the U.S. and China have reaffirmed their commitments and expanded on the road-map on how to achieve them. On September 25th, the U.S. and China released the U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change – the most definitive outline for realizing their climate goals to date. In this announcement, was a key commitment by China, the announcement of a nationwide emissions trading scheme (ETS) by 2017. The viability of such a scheme is debatable, but there is reason to believe that it is possible.

Continue Reading →

November 5, 2015
by William Schulte

China, Population Growth, and the Environment

Photo Source: The Telegraph

Photo Source: The Telegraph

In a major shift, China’s leaders announced last week at the conclusion of a Communist Party Central Committee summit in Beijing that they would now allow all couples in the country to have two children, thereby ending the “one-child policy” first implemented by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970’s.  The Party stated that the change “is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population.”  But what about the potential environmental impacts associated with this new policy? Continue Reading →

October 30, 2015
by Yanmei Lin

China’s First Environmental Public Interest Litigation: Green NGOs Win

On Thursday, October 29, 2015, the Nanping Intermediate People’s Court of Fujian Province issued a judgment in favor of the two environmental NGOs plaintiffs, Friends of Nature (FON) and Fujian Green Home on China’s first environmental public interest case. The case, which concerned resource destruction and environmental restoration related to an illegal mining site was heard under China’ new Environmental Protection Law, which took effect on January 1, 2015. Continue Reading →