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China’s Growing Hunger for Meat Shown by Move to Buy Smithfield, World’s Leading Pork Producer

By Janet Larsen Half the world’s pigs—more than 470 million of them—live in China, but even that may not be enough to satisfy the growing Chinese appetite for meat. While meat consumption in the United States has fallen more than 5 percent since peaking in 2007, Chinese meat consumption has leapt 18 percent, from 64 million to 78 million (metric) tons—twice as much as in the United States. Pork is by far China’s favorite protein, which helps to explain the late-May announced acquisition of U.S. meat giant Smithfield Foods Inc., the world’s leading pork producer, by the Chinese company Shuanghui …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Top 6 U.S. climate-policy happenings of 2011

In 2011, we saw more slow -- but hopefully still steady -- progress toward cleaner air. (Photo by Markus M.) Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Kevin Kennedy, director of WRI's U.S. climate initiative. As the year winds down, it's a good time to take stock of climate policy in the United States. Here's a quick roundup of what happened -- or didn't happen -- in 2011. The year began with big questions about what the Obama administration and states would do to address climate change and clean energy, absent a comprehensive federal climate policy. …

Read more: Climate Policy

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Finally: New air toxics rules for power plants

Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Nicholas Bianco, senior associate for WRI's climate and energy program. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares to release new mercury and air toxics standards, some people may be wondering about the history and timeline for these standards. One senator recently claimed that EPA is "charging ahead" with them. These standards, however, have been in development for over 20 years. These are standards that many plants are already meeting. Furthermore, 11 of the 15 largest coal utilities, roughly half of the nation's coal fleet, have informed their shareholders …

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5 takeaways from the IPCC report on extreme weather and climate change

Flooding in Pakistan.Photo: N BCross-posted from World Resources Institute. The world must brace for more extreme weather. That is the clear message from a new report that finds climate change is likely to bring more record-breaking temperatures, heat waves, and heavy downpours. The much-anticipated Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) -- the summary of which was released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- provides new evidence that links extreme weather events and climate change. According to the summary for policymakers, the SREX report concludes that …

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Cities can lead on climate-change solutions — here’s how

Rapid transit buses, like these in Los Angeles, reduce emissions and are cheaper than light rail.Photo: ChrisCross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Manish Bapna, WRI's executive vice president and managing director. On June 2, I had the pleasure of speaking at the C40 Summit in São Paulo, Brazil. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group consists of iconic cities from around the world committed to addressing climate change. Chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the group has recently joined forces with the Clinton Climate Initiative's Cities Program. Together, this partnership can have a meaningful …

Read more: Cities

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United Kingdom adopts ambitious climate change target

Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Jennifer Morgan, director of WRI's Climate and Energy Program. Today, the government of the United Kingdom took a significant step to shift to a low-carbon economy, providing clear signals to investors that the U.K. wants to host large-scale clean energy projects moving forward. The agreement announced today takes the form of a legally binding target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels by 2025, as part of the country's fourth carbon budget. The agreement of the country's Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties extends current targets and continues …

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plan on it

How does China’s 12th Five-Year Plan address energy and the environment?

China's got ambition.Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. The post was written by Deborah Seligsohn, WRI's principal advisor on climate and energy in Beijing, and Angel Hsu, doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The draft of China's much-anticipated 12th Five-Year Plan was released this Saturday, March 5 at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC). The plan will actually be brought to a vote at the close of the session later this week. While there may be some changes to the plan, in past years these have not been large. The 118-page draft …

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regulate my greenhouse-gas emissions, please!

Industry voices support EPA action on Clean Air Act

EPA standards can help business and drive innovation.Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. This piece is written by senior associate James Bradbury. In the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, I moderated a panel featuring representatives from businesses and public interest organizations: Paul Allen, senior vice president for corporate affairs and chief environmental officer at Constellation Energy, Dan Greenbaum, president of the Health Effects Institute, Franz Litz, senior fellow at WRI, and Dick Munson, senior vice president of public affairs at Recycled Energy Development. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) opened the discussion. This group of "strange bedfellows" had one thing in common: a …

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Chinese New Year

What can we expect on climate and energy in China in 2011?

Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. This piece was written Deborah Seligsohn, principal advisor to WRI’s climate and energy program on issues in China, and Angel Hsu and is reprinted courtesy of WRI. 2011 will be a big year for climate and energy policy development in China, so we thought we'd highlight some of the key China energy and climate-related stories to watch out for during the course of the year. We've known to expect major developments now for over a year, since China's commitments made at the Copenhagen climate talks in late 2009 were scheduled to be implemented in …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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up high... down low... epa... too fast?

Response to the electricity industry's timeline of environmental regulations

Cross-posted from the World Resources Institute. This piece was written by Senior Associate John Larsen and is reprinted courtesy of WRI. After years of delay, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to reduce dangerous and toxic pollutants released to the air and water by electric power plants, as required by the Clean Air Act and other statutes. Four key points about the EPA's actions are clear: Contrary to assertions by industry groups, the EPA is pursuing a realistic timeline over the next decade to bring the electric power industry into compliance with the law. In most cases, the electric …