China aims to spend at least $360 Billion on renewable energy by 2020 [NY Times]

Details of China’s energy sector 13th five year plan for energy were released yesterday, revealing a huge investment in the country’s already booming renewables industry, creating 13 million jobs. While this is a clear steer towards climate leadership and away from heavy reliance on coal, but the issue of curtailment is still casting a long shadow on the country’s renewables ambitions.  

Why China’s air pollution is on the rise again [Economist]

China’s air pollution is getting worse again, after two years of almost uninterrupted improvement. The culprit: an uptick in production in China’s steel country. See the graph below:

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Timelapse: Smog envelops Beijing in minutes [CNN]

This frankly terrifying video of an advancing cloud of smog went viral this week as north China suffered under yet another long episode of chart-topping air pollution. 

Beijing’s PM2.5 levels dropped 9.9% in 2016 [The Paper]

New data from Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau showed that Beijing’s PM2.5 levels were almost 10% lower in 2016 than 2015. However this might not be cause for celebration: as we saw above, PM2.5 has been steadily increasing since April while December was the 2nd worst month on record.

China to ban ivory trade by end of 2017 [Guardian]

China has announced a total ban on the sale of ivory which could have massive implications for Africa’s remaining elephants. This is undoubtedly a victory for conservation efforts but it will ring hollow if more isn’t done to clamp down on the bigger and more lucrative illegal wildlife trade in both the mainland and Hong Kong.