India “has the capacity to clean up, but not the political will”. This piece from the Economist’s Asia edition cites political apathy towards pollution and failures to listen to middle classes as two of the most significant factors in India’s continuing struggle with environmental protection. The country also shows mixed responses to their climate change commitments, as data shows a significant preference for coal power generation over cleaner gas-fired plants.
The article introduces the shortage of skilful (mid to high level) workers in printing industry due to the decreasing graduates in this major from universities and vocational schools in China. Universities and vocational school has less students applying for the printing major, some universities have even cut out the printing major, while the others try to change the name of the major from ‘printing’ to ‘digital media’, ‘image propagation’ and ‘propagation engineering’ but still losing attraction to young people.
The main reason is the overall attraction of the labour-intensive manufacturing industry is decreasing in China due to the rise of internet and service industries, which means more opportunities for young people. The stereotype of printing industry is another reason. Although printing industry is moving forward into digital era, in many people’s mind, printing industry is still a ‘uncool’ traditional industry lagging behind, plus the recent increasing news on its environmental impact since the new environmental protection law, the industry’s image needs to be improved. The last reason is the most practical one – average salary level of printing industry is not competitive compared to other industries. The article gives some statistics: in 2016, the average employee salary of 8,936 publication printing companies is RMB 3,742/month, which is lower than the national average level in all industries (RMB 4,783). Even for the senior management, the salary is not competitive compared with the internet and finance industries.
On January 1, 2018, the Chinese government implemented a new environmental tax policy, effectively ending the pollutant discharge fee that had been in effect for the past 40 years. The Environmental Protection Tax marks the beginning of a slew of new policies aimed at getting China’s pollution under control and will undoubtedly affect businesses, especially manufacturing firms.
An unannounced inspection by officials from China’s top environment watchdog at a factory in eastern China ended with an unexpected turn of events for all involved, as inspectors were obstructed from performing their duties and later blocked from leaving. The incident happened at a furnace maker in Jinan City, Shandong province, called Shandong Lüjie Environmental Protection Energy Saving Technology Co. Ltd. The manager identified had stopped the team from doing their work, citing “problematic” government identification cards, according to a statement on the Weibo microblog of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).
A WRI analysis of the pulp and paper sector, which is the third-largest energy user in US manufacturing, found that it could cost-effectively reduce its energy use in the Midwest by 25 per cent through the use of existing technologies. Against the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® program, nearly two-thirds of Midwest mills fall short of the national average for energy performance. Total annual energy costs could be reduced by $120 million by reducing process energy requirements, capturing waste heat and increasing efficient on-site energy use. This could also have a knock-on effect of boosting production and increasing jobs. The report highlights the ISO 50001 standard which helps companies to introduce and systematically track facility energy performance against targets.
Washington-based NGO Rights and Resources Initiative have published a report claiming that there is a vital link between forest dwellers having rights over their land and preventing deforestation. It points to examples in China, India and Brazil where locals have had a say over how their forests are managed. Conservation groups are hoping to get land rights firmly on the agenda at the Rio 20+. The summit takes place on 20-22 June and will discuss poverty reduction, advancement of social equity and environmental protection.