China’s sulfur dioxide emissions in 2005 totalled 25.5 million tonnes, the highest volume of any country in the world in 2005, according to Li Xinmin, Deputy Director General of the Department of Pollution Control under the State Environment Protection Administration (SEPA), who was speaking at a press conference in Beijing on August 6.

Far from reaching its goal under the 10th Five Year Plan (FYP) to reduce SO2 emission by 20% between 2001 and 2005, Li said SO2 emissions actually increased by 27% over that period. The target for the 11th FYP is to reduce SO2 emissions by 10% to 22.95 million tonnes.

Half of China’s SO2 emissions are attributed to burning coal, Li said. SEPA hopes to accomplish the 10% reduction through new desulphurization technologies. As of 2005, only 14 percent of the thermal generating facilities in the country had installed desulphurization equipment, and 40% of the completed desulphurization projects are idle because of technical problems and lack of oversight.

This informational gem, not available in most stores or local newspapers, comes to us from the Environment, Science, and Technology Update which is regularly issued by the EST Section at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. They do a good job keeping track of new developments in China in these areas. You can subscribe to their email bulletin and updates (and check the archives) here. (Your tax dollars actually at work.)

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

On a personal note, I am off to Ambon, the Banda Islands, and West Papua in a week, mainly taking photographs of fish (for fun). I will be out of email/web contact from 9 October until early November. Everyone play nice!