By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate

In advance of the first ever G20 summit to be hosted in China this year, the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau issued a revised, short-term air quality plan to improve local air conditions ahead of the summit. China has undertaken similar efforts to achieve a temporary smog lift in advance of other high profile events such as the Olympics in 2008, the Shanghai World’s Fair in 2010 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in 2014 – during which the rare blue skies experienced were referred to as “APEC blue.”

The G20 summit will be held September in Hangzhou, a city situated 150 miles south-west of Shanghai. As China’s largest city, and a city with significant construction, operational and residential emissions, Shanghai impacts upon the air quality of its neighbouring cities, including Hangzhou.

By Paul Davies and Andrew Westgate

The Shanghai Municipal People’s Congress has released the revised Shanghai Environmental Protection Regulations (in Chinese only) for public comment. The revised Regulations, which first came into force in 1997, apply exclusively in Shanghai, one of China’s most prosperous and business-intensive regions and are an example of China’s continued commitment at a local level to transitioning towards a low carbon economy.

Significant provisions

In this post, we will comment on those provisions in the proposed Regulations that are particularly significant or interesting to note in the wider context of the development of Chinese environmental law. China’s National People’s Congress passed an amended version of China’s national Environmental Protection Law (EPL) in 2014 – the first amendments since the law’s initial passage in 1989. Whilst many of the proposed provisions in the Regulations track the revised EPL (for example, the establishment of pollution caps), others are potentially very different, including rewards for meeting pollution goals and the issuance of an industry-by-industry catalogue. Below are the provisions to consider as a multinational business operating in Shanghai.

Public Interest Litigation and Environmental NGOS (Articles 5 and 8) These provisions echo the EPL by stating that citizens shall have access to environmental information, and the right to report violations and to protect their rights through litigation. The Regulations also express support for public interest environmental litigation filed by environmental NGOs in