Sunday, April 30, 2006

Symposium on China and the Environment

The Vermont Journal of Environmental Law has decided to make China and the Environment the topic of its 2007 annual symposium. While many details remain to be decided, the symposium will take place in March 2007.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

toxic discharges into agricultural areas

The Standing Committee of the National People Congress just passed a law prohibiting "discharges of sewage, waste gas, solid waste or other poisonous substances to the agricultural product production areas." (SCMP 4/30). It is a response to widespread concerns about contamination of agricultural produce. It will become effective Nov. 1.

There was also another report of water pollution that is expected to affected the water supply of 40,000 people in Wuchuan City, Guangdong province. (China Daily 4/29) The pollution is affecting the water in the Sanchajiang river, but the news report does not make clear the source of the pollution or its composition.

Job Posting 4/29 - Climate Change Secretariat Senior Legal Advisor

The UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany has an opening for a senior legal advisor position. Deadline for applications is May 17, 2006. Starting date is asap.
For more info, see

Friday, April 28, 2006

How Beijing will meet air quality standards for the Olympics

The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau may try to go the last-resort avenue to reduce air pollution for the Olympics. On high pollution days and depending on the weather, some cars would be banned from operation. (SCMP 4/27). This is, of course, all being planned in conjunction with traditional environmental regulatory measures, such as emissions controls. Cars kept off the road would be higher emission vehicles, most likely older vehicles.

Also, pollution levels in the Three Gorges reservoir, created by the Three Gorges Dam, is likely to become a significant public health and environmental problem. While pollution control have been stepped up, Professor Shu at a research institute of a PLA's Medical Hospital has said that only 20% of polluted water inflows are treatd. Shu just received an environmental protection award from the central government on Three Gorges reservoir water quality issues. (SCMP 4/27).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Job Posting 4/24 - US EPA Opening in Methane to Markets Partnership

here's job listing that has languished in my e-mail.

April 14, 2006

Program Manager and Environmental Protection Specialist Position
Openings –Methane to Markets Partnership and Natural Gas STAR Program,

This notice is to announce the upcoming availability of two exciting
federal positions to work in the challenging world of international
climate change and energy programs. The positions are located in the
Office of Atmospheric Program’s Climate Change Division (CCD), Non-CO2
Programs Branch (NCPB). NCPB is responsible for the implementation of
voluntary programs that promote profitable opportunities for reducing
emissions of methane and high-global warming potential gases. The branch
is also responsible for the Methane to Markets Partnership (M2M).
Launched in November 2004, M2M will reduce global methane emissions to
enhance economic growth, promote energy security, improve the
environment, and reduce GHG emissions. Through multilateral,
public-private sector cooperation, the Partnership promotes
cost-effective, near-term methane recovery and use projects at
agricultural operations (manure management), coal mines, landfills, and
oil and gas systems.

EPA seeks to fill two positions to support the Methane to Markets
Partnership and the Natural Gas STAR Program. The salary range for
these positions is GS-11 to GS-13 ($54,272 - $100,554), dependent upon
qualifications. If interested, please e-mail a cover letter and resume
to the following contact:

Marian Smoak
USEPA (6207J)
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460


This invitation for resumes is an opportunity for you to introduce
yourself to us. It is not an official job application process. All job
openings will be announced in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
EZ-hire website ( EPA is an Equal
Opportunity Employer. Selection for these positions will be based
solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender,
national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation,
marital or family status, or any other non-merit factors. U.S.
citizenship is required.

Environmental Protection Specialist, Methane to Markets Partnership

EPA is seeking a highly motivated individual to support the Methane to
Markets Partnership. EPA is the lead implementing agency for the US and
is serving as the M2M Secretariat. The Secretariat is responsible for
facilitating communication among members, planning M2M committee
meetings, and developing outreach and communication materials for the
Partnership. This position requires an ability to manage a wide range
of programmatic issues and operate in a fast paced and dynamic
environment. Work undertaken will include managing and coordinating
communications and activities between US government agencies and
international partner countries, evaluating program effectiveness and
identifying strategic opportunities for program improvement, identifying
and promoting existing and emerging project financing mechanisms,
preparing policy and research analyses, and interacting and fostering
relationships with the private sector, non-government organizations,
foreign governments, and other federal agencies to implement the goals
of M2M.

The ideal candidate will have a master’s degree in environmental
science, public policy, or a related discipline and possess strong
analytical, marketing, communication, international relations, and
presentation skills. Experience in project finance is preferred, but not
required. The candidate must also have a strong commitment to
environmental protection, excellent writing skills, a high energy level,
and some facilitation and outreach experience. The candidate will be
required to operate in an interactive team-based environment with each
member assuming responsibility for a diverse set of activities and
responsibilities. The job will require domestic and international
Program Manager, Natural GasSTAR Program

EPA is seeking a program manager for the Natural GasSTAR Program.
Natural GasSTAR is a voluntary public-private partnership designed to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas production,
transmission, distribution, and processing using cost-effective
management practices and technologies. The program works directly with
representatives of the oil and natural gas industry, including
companies, major industry trade associations, governments, and research
organizations. Internationally, the Natural Gas STAR Program is
responsible for implementing EPA’s Methane to Markets Partnership oil
and gas related activities.

This position requires a diverse set of skills including, an ability to
comprehend technologies and technical issues, conduct successful
face-to-face negotiations and interactions with industry, perform
technical and financial analysis, promote new projects, and manage a
wide range of programmatic activities. Work undertaken will involve
strategic program planning, marketing directly to the industry,
performing cost-benefit analyses of new emission reduction technologies
and practices, designing and developing technical and outreach materials
to forward the goals of the Program and the Methane to Markets
Partnership, and managing key program activities.

The ideal candidate will have a masters degree in environmental science,
public policy, or a related discipline, and strong analytical,
marketing, communication, international relations, and presentation
skills. The individual must also have the ability to rapidly learn
technical information and communicate it to the relevant stakeholders.
A petroleum background and international experience is preferred but not
required. The ideal candidate will also have a strong commitment to
environmental protection, excellent writing skills, a high energy level,
strong quantitative skills, project management experience, and an
ability to work well with others. The program operates in an
interactive team-based environment with each member assuming
responsibility for a diverse set of activities and responsibilities.
Domestic and international travel is required.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

local governments lose 30-50% of administrative law suits

Local governments lose an astonishing 30-50% of law suits in China, according a magazine article described in SCMP (SCMP 4/23, "Governments on wrong side of law"). The article suggests that this shows that local government are acting contrary to the law. These law suits are being brought under the China's 1989 Administrative Procedure law. Of these administrative law suits, 30-40% consist of cases concerning land seizures, housing relocations, social security and state-owned-enterprise reform (in essence, folks getting laid off from their state company jobs).

The assertion that local governments oftentimes act contrary to the law and are sued as a result seems pretty unremarkable. However, I am astonished that the plaintiffs appear to win so often. From all the things I have heard, the plaintiffs most of the time come out on the losing end. My sense was that judges would not ordinarily rule against local government officials in such matters. Even if judges in large metropolitan areas like Beijing and Shanghai may be more professional, and so such a high loss rate seems likely in such regions, that is less the case in the rural areas and away from the coast.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Enforcement of law in China - IPR and Environment

The recent announcement of greater law enforcement efforts in the IPR sector is an interesting contrast to what has been going on with respect to environmental matters. In connection with President Hu Jintao's visit to the US, there have been pronouncements that China will be cracking down on violators of IPR, including software pirating. The US Commerce Department seems to estimate that up to 70% of all Chinese software is pirated. In a conversation that I had with a Microsoft manager in Beijing a few months ago, he estimated that only 1 of every 10 copies of Windows used on Chinese computers was actually a legitimate version.

All of this has led to great efforts on the part of the US to prod China to step up its IPR enforcement efforts. While the rhetoric is good, what will actually occur remains to be seen. But within the last year, there have been some high profile enforcement actions, including law suits about knock-off goods against the Beijing silk market and another place that is very popular with foreigners and expats.

I have been wondering whether more dialogue (and prodding) by US officials with Chinese officials could yield a greater commmitment with respect to environmental enforcement. But the first question one would have to ask is why US officials would really care? I am quite certain that EPA and the US government generally "care" about environmental issues in China. But do they care enough to expend some diplomatic capital to raise such issues in high-level ministerial meetings? I don't know what EPA Administrator Steve Johnson discussed with the SEPA director during his recent visit. But was such a meeting maybe a chance to discuss environmental enforcement and law implementation issues as has occurred with respect to IPR in other US/China ministerial meetings?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wen on environmental pollution

Here's one of the recent high-profile exhortations about the need to protect the environment. Premier Wen basically blamed local officials for not paying enough attention to environmental protection and focusing too much on economic development. (SCMP 4/19.)

But there was no effort to take responsibility for the incentive structure that drives local officials to put economic growth over environmental protection and also the lack of an adequate regulatory infra-structure at the national and sub-national level that is a basic prerequisite for an effective environmental protection scheme. As it is well known, the SEPA is way too small to act as the equivalent of the US EPA, especially given the size of China. Sigh . . .

Monday, April 17, 2006

Pesticide Residues in Vegetables

Here's an unsettling item. In Hong Kong, Greenpeace found pesticide residues on vegetables sold at major supermarkets chains that significantly exceeded WHO standards, including some banned pesticides. (SMCP 4/18). In 30% of samples tested, residues of cypermethrin and Chlorpyrifos were found at levels of 1.2 to 12 times above WHO standards that Hong Kong follows. Some also contained banned pesticides DDT, lindane, delta-HCH and methamidophos. Most of the vegetables sold at the supermarket chains came from mainland China farms. Greenpeace's press release on this can be found at:

What's particularly unsettling to me is that it confirms many of the concerns I had about pesticide contaminated produce sold in Chinese markets while in Beijing last fall. If the controls in Hong Kong are insufficient to catch such problems, it is likely to be worse in the markets in mainland China. These findings also confirm how serious the problem of food safety is in China.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Environmental Goals under 10th 5-year plan

Eight of 20 environmental goals set under the 2000-2005 5-year plan were not met, according to SEPA. (China Daily 4/13) Most notable was a 27% increase in sulfur dioxide emissions, which were slated to be reduced 10% from 2000 levels. The increase has been ascribed to a hot economy which led to much higher energy, especially coal consumption.

There has also been a recent flap in the Chinese media about comments ascribed to EPA Administrator Steve Johnson that China is responsible for some mercury deposition in the US because of air emissions that travel across the Pacific. Johnson met with SEPA head Zhou Shengxian on April 10 in Beijing. The EPA Administrator made a special point of pointing out that he had been quoted out of context and that the US alone emits about 48 tons of mercuy into the air. (China Daily 4/14)

In itself, the assertion seems unremarkable and reasonable - that China's significant air emissions might contribute to pollution in the US. And even if the US itself contributes to such emissions, that just means that air pollution is as much a national as well as a transboundary issue. (And there is little question that the US is a major environmental polluter.) But I suppose the more sensitive relations between the US and China require more care in how issues about fault and responsibility are framed. It'll be interesting to see what concrete progress will be made with bilateral cooperation betweeen the US and China.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Worst Air Pollution in Beijing So Far This Year

Air pollution in Beijing was apparently so bad on Sunday that residents were told not to open their windows. (SCMP 4/11) It's the result of the sand storms that come in every year in the spring from the deserts of Inner Mongolia province and Mongolia. The dust combines with traditional air pollutants to create the hazardous conditions. Nevertheless, the Beijing International Marathon was held that same day.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Summer Internship Posting 4/10 - EPA Region 1

Here's a link for PAID summer internships with EPA Region 1:


In an effort to recruit a diverse, highly-qualified summer intern
candidate pool, please pass along this link to students who you feel
would be an asset to EPA.

If you have trouble with the link, please follow the directions below:

Go to Careers Student Opportunities Student Summer
Employment Opportunities Opportunities in EPA Regional Offices
Region 1

Thanks for your help,

Jason Grazick
Student Coordinator

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Job Posting 4/6 - New York Lawyers for the Public Interest - EJ Staff Attorney

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) is seeking applications for a Staff Attorney to work on issues of Environmental Justice and Community Development (EJ). Two to five years of relevant experience is required. Environmental and/or land use, civil rights experience is strongly preferred.

Applicants must have top litigation skills and sensitivity to issues of discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity. Excellent writing, analytic and public speaking skills are essential, as is the ability to work as part of a team in a fast-paced environment. Spanish or other second language is a strong plus.

Please send your application by e-mail to or by post to:

Amanda Matteis
Attn: EJ Staff Attorney Position
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Inc.
151 West 30th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Applications must include a cover letter, a resume, a brief writing sample, and three references (including daytime telephone numbers). Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and should be submitted as soon as possible before the May 8, 2006 application deadline. The position will remain open until filled.

For more info, see

Job Posting 4/6 - Univ. of Washington Law School Berman Env. Law Clinic - Graduate Fellow/Staff attorney position

U.Washington law school just announced this open position in their env. law clinic. Application deadline is May 5 (or until filled). It's a 1-2 year fellowship, starting Aug/Sept 06.

Here's most relevant part of job ad (the entire job description was too long to post here - to get the whole thing, there's a contact name at bottom; or my students can check with me):

QUALIFICATIONS Qualifications for the position include: • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law; • Prior work experience and/or course work in environmental law; • Strong legal writing and communication skills;• The ability to work well with a wide range of people, including students, clients, opposing counsel and members of the University community; Graduate Fellows must be members of the Washington Bar, or take steps to apply for membership (through examination or reciprocity) upon being accepted for the position. In addition, a Graduate Fellow may not hold appointment for more than 6 years after receipt of their terminal degree unless an exception has been approved.

HOW TO APPLYApplicants should submit the following: • Resume • Law school transcript (unofficial accepted) • Two letters of recommendation from law school teachers, attorneys or judges who are familiar with the candidate’s work and ability • A recent writing sample (written and edited by the applicant) • A brief statement (no longer than one to two single spaced pages) explaining the applicant’s interest in the position. Application materials should be sent to: Mr. Harold Daniels Attn: BELC Fellowship Program Administrator, Clinical Law ProgramUniversity of Washington School of Law William H. Gates Hall, Suite 265 P.O. Box 85110 Seattle, WA 98145-1110 No phone calls, emails or faxes please.
Page 5
After review of application materials, a small number of applicants will be selected for an interview at our office in Seattle. The Berman ELC cannot pay applicants’ travel expenses, but will try to arrange interviews at a mutually convenient time. Interviews via video-conference may also be possible. Applications will be accepted until at least May 5, 2006, and the position will remain available until filled.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. The University of Washington is an Affirmative Action/ Equal OpportunityEmployer. Selection for this position will be based solely on merit without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, national origin, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, marital or family status or other differences. The University of Washington encourages people of color to apply.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Land takings protests

I mentioned some time ago that many of the issues causing social unrest in China are pollution and land takings related. One more article about village protests, of the many articles that appear in the Chinese news media all the time, focuses on peasants being kicked off land near Tianjin, a large port city close to Beijing. (SCMP 4/4/06). Villagers have been displaced in order to make room for a 177 km express way connecting Beijing with Tianjin. Like in many other instances, they are protesting corruption by local officials that has resulted in the peasants being cheated out of the compensation that the government has paid for the land taking. By some Chinese estimates (Zhou Tianyong of the Central Party School), peasants only get 10% of the value of the land as compensation; the rest is pocketed primarily by corrupt officials. According to the same estimates, the total value of the land that has been taken from peasants with China's modernization amounts to somewhere around 5 trillion RMB.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Job Posting 4/3 - Pew Center on Global Climate Change - International Fellow Position

This is a plum job posting that came across my e-mail last week. The Pew Climate Change Center is a DC-based think tank headed by Eileen Claussen, former assistant secretary of State for Oceans and Environment. The position starts in May/June 06 and involves international work on climate change. The deadline is April 21, 2006. Requirements include Bachelor’s or Master’s in environmental policy, international relations, or related field. For more info, see this link:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Job Posting 4/2 - Columbia University/Earth Institute - Global Roundtable on Climate Change - Coordinator position

Didn't see an application deadline on this - got this on my e-mail on March 16 (so a little dated).


The Global Roundtable on Climate Change is hiring a Program Coordinator. The
Global Roundtable on Climate Change is the Earth Institute¹s effort to
assist global consensus and catalyze effective cross-sectoral action on
climate change. The Roundtable brings together high level stakeholders from
business, civil society and government to discuss responses to climate
change and attempt to reach consensus on some basic elements of an
international strategy to mitigate and adapt to climate change. See for more information.

The Program Coordinator conducts background research on climate related business and policy developments, helps to draft and edit documents and communications, co-authoring conference papers and other publications, assists with the bi-monthly newsletter, handles communication with participant companies, keeps a database of participants, scheduling meetings, supports all aspects of the operation of GROCC, and supervises two student work study employees.

This is a great opportunity for people interested in climate change, environmental policy issues, business and the environment. It is also a good networking opportunity, with lots of interaction with corporate environmental representatives and ngo¹s working on the issue.

This is a Columbia University grade 10 position, with salary in the 40s and full benefits.

Resumes and cover letters should be submitted to:

Kate Brash
Program Manager
Global Roundtable on Climate Change
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
tel. 212-854-6067
fax: 212-854-6309

Job Posting 4/2 - United Nations Development Program Vacancies re climate change adaptation in Panama & Thailand

For more info, see

Vacancy Announcements

Climate Change: Vulnerability and Adaptation

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) seeks three highly qualified individuals to develop and implement projects in Climate Change Adaptation, with a focus in capacity development. We are seeking highly motivated candidates with demonstrated strategic and leadership skills, programming experience, and preferably with a background in climate science, vulnerability and adaptation, and development economics.

§ Regional Technical Advisor for Asia and the Pacific

(Deadline for submissions: 21 April 2006)

(based in Bangkok, Thailand)

§ Regional Technical Advisor for Latin America and the Caribbean

(Deadline for submissions: 12 May 2006)

(based in Panama City, Panama)

Level: ICS12 (L-5)

Date of Entry: Immediate

Job Posting 4/2 - Ecofys UK Vacancies

Ecofys has just released the following vacancies in their London office:

- Consultant Energy and Climate Strategies

- Senior Consultant Energy and Climate Strategies

- Consultant Energy in the Built Environment

- Project Developer Onshore Wind and Biomass Projects

Further details on the vacancies and where to direct your questions and applications can be obtained from the website:

Saturday, April 01, 2006

3 more nuclear power plants in Guangdong province

Guangdong province will begin construction of 3 new nuclear power plants this year in order to meet energy shortfalls in the province. (SCMP April 1, 2006.) This is in addition to two existing nuclear power plants. Guangdong province has been suffering from chronic energy shortfalls because of the booming industrial economy. In the past it has imported energy from other provinces. These power plants are supposed to solve some of these problems. When the additional 3 power plants are on line, they are expected to contribute 20% of the province's electric power.