Friday news roundup highlighting the environmental news and commentary of the week.

China, India, led slowdown in global coal development [Bloomberg]

Huge news and new hope for the climate emerged this week as a report jointly released by Coalswarm, Sierra Club and Greenpeace revealed that global coal development is experiencing a massive slowdown, led by China and India. China has majorly clamped down on new coal projects while overcapacity and a lack of financial backing in India resulted in 60 GW of capacity being frozen in 2016 in those two countries alone. That in turn halved the amount of coal in development globally last year.

Can China's children solve its crippling water shortage problem? [Guardian]

The UN’s World Water Day fell on March 22nd drawing attention to China’s lesser-known environmental crisis: large scale water scarcity and pollution. China is home to 21% of the population but only 7% of its freshwater; many parts of the country suffer from drought and several major cities are sinking. One NGO hopes to tackle this by specifically targeting young people, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to fight it.

Beijing shuts down its last coal-fired power plant [SCMP]

Beijing’s last coal-fired power plant shut its doors on Saturday. The plant burned 8 million tonnes of coal a year. This is a big moment and represents the huge turnaround the city has made in its bid to wrestle down air pollution levels. However, it won’t bring blue skies back any time soon: much of Beijing’s energy is now imported from nearby smoggy Hebei.

Record-high sea levels along China’s coast ‘could spell disaster [SCMP]

China’s coastal regions will suffer stronger typhoons and increased flooding as a direct result of rising sea levels.  Natural disasters cost China 5 billion RMB last year and left 60 people dead or missing.

China to plant ‘green necklace’ of trees around Beijing to fight smog [NYTimes]

Beijing will be adorned with a ‘green necklace’ of trees, officials announced on Thursday, in an effort to combat air pollution in the area. Will it be able to prevent Beijing from suffering another winter of Airpocalypse? No. Only heavy cuts to coal-powered industrial production can do that. 

Also this week…

March 21st was World Forests Day. Find out why we’re mapping China’s last remaining untouched forest landscapes and meet the communities working to protect them.