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China to Plant New Forests the Size of Ireland This Year
The announcement was made last week by Zhang Jianlong, the head of China's State Forestry Administration, in an effort to shed the country's image as a major polluter and become a global environmental leader, the Telegraph reported.
China is the world's largest emitter and remains heavily dependent on coal, but the country has been cleaning up its act in recent years due to concerns over the impacts of air pollution and climate change.
The administration announced several forestry goals, which include increasing the country's forest coverage rate to 23 percent from 21.7 percent by the end of the decade. Then from 2020 to 2035, China plans to further boost the percentage of forest coverage to 26 percent.
"Companies, organizations and talent that specialize in greening work are all welcome to join in the country's massive greening campaign," Jianlong said. "Cooperation between government and social capital will be put on the priority list."
The new forest areas will be built in the northeast Hebei province, the Qinghai province in the Tibetan Plateau and in the Hunshandake Desert in Inner Mongolia.
Zhang said that China has spent more than 538 billion yuan (about $83 billion) on planting forests over the past five years, putting the country's total forest area to 208 million hectares.
According to Reuters, the government is also promoting an "ecological red line" program to force provinces and regions to restrict "irrational development" to curb construction near rivers, forests and national parks.
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Low-Fat Diets Rich in Fruits and Veggies May Reduce Women’s Risk of Breast Cancer Death, Study Finds
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.