Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beijing's Pollution and China's Greenhouse Gases

A view toward Haikou, from Hainan Volcano Park
China.  The haze is humidity, not pollution.
Hainan is a desirable place to live for many Chinese
due to the clean air.  Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
There are two interesting articled in the China Daily, the official English language newspaper of China.  The first focuses on the pollution problem in Beijing.  This story has gotten a great deal of press lately.  Small particulate matter, which should be below 25 micrograms per meter to prevent health problems, was measured at 900 micrograms per meter--the highest levels ever recorded.  According to the article, there is tremendous concern over the long-term economic development of the Beijing area due to the problem.  Some factory activity and construction had to cease during the pollution spell.

The second article notes that greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have reached record highs in China.  China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.  The U.S. is number 2.  China is taking a number of initiatives to develop alternative energy sources.  Nevertheless, the emissions continue.

When I was in China last summer, I was struck by the air pollution in Beijing.  While there is tremendous opportunity in the capital, many seek to move to coastal areas where the air is not as polluted.


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