Friday, May 17, 2019

China’s efforts to cut pollution in Beijing may make it worse overall

Wimpy people who are too delicate to bear the slightest inconvenience often claim the U.S. shouldn't have to cut back on pollution because other countries are creating a higher amount. They generally cite China, which is much bigger than the U.S. The fact is that we emit almost 3 times as much per capita as China. And this does not take into account the share of Chinese emissions that really belong to the U.S. because it is used to create goods for the U.S.

By Michael Le Page
April 24, 2019

Many rich countries that appear to have cleaned up their act environmentally have actually outsourced manufacturing to countries with laxer standards – resulting in more pollution overall. Now the same thing is happening within China itself.

The country is trying to reduce the dire air pollution in the capital region that includes Beijing. In this megalopolis of 110 million people, average particulate levels are 10 times higher than the safe limit according to the World Health Organization.
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Chinese officials are moving highly polluting industries to other regions, but Bin Chen of Beijing Normal University and colleagues found this will actually lead to more air pollution overall because of lower environmental standards and less efficient technologies in these regions. The calculated that the increase in harmful particulate emissions outside the capital region will be 1.6 times the emissions reduction in the capital region

What’s more, overall carbon dioxide emissions will be 3.6 times higher, and water consumption will be 2.9 times higher. “These environmental problems are linked together,” says Chen.


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