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Is there a Breath of Fresh Air in China Today?

March 9, 2013

Gas Mask 2This photo of a city in China is untouched, taken on March 9, 2013, and representative of China today. The name of the city in the  is irrelevant. Let’s just say the city is in the northwest region of China, near Pakistan.

My words cannot add or detract from those that accompanied the photo, which came from a resident of the city, a person born in China and a member of the communist party.

“It’s said by the news that in many cities of China, the air has been severely polluted these days, my city include of course. My respiratory system is so sensitive that I almost can’t bear it. A sudden dust storm attacked today. Can’t go anywhere!”

On a recent trip to Beijing, the sky was a murky yellow; there was a constant burning odor in the air that left an unpleasant aftertaste. My clothes felt gummy by the third day.China Today

cause is simple; the ramifications may be irreversible; the fix is an understatement of epic proportions. Years of unregulated growth, dependency on coal for electricity generation and industrialization turned China’s unabated growth into a global environmental crisis. Many have criticized the U.S. for not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. However, developing countries, including China and India, were exempted from targets because they were not main contributors during the period of industrialization that is believed to be the cause of climate change. At the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change all delegates should be tested for drugs and alcohol.

The message is clear, the concern is obvious, and the effort is weak. Forget talking “Green,” green is only a wavelength. Renewables will help. Natural gas is a tangible option. Energy efficiency and practices, something as simple as turning off the lights, can collectively make a significant impact. Gains are being made in developed countries.

How can one tame a raging elephant? Training possibly, but so slowly will its effects be seen? Why not place an export tax on goods based on the annual change in greenhouse gas emissions for anyone country. This would penalize countries that continue to pollute, making their goods more expensive and less competitive on the international market. Those countries that sustain or make reductions in their emissions would be rewarded by more competitive products. This would shift the production of goods from polluting countries to those that steward environmental improvements.

In closing, this solution is but a dream. What’s not a dream are the growth prospects of the gas mask industry. Amazon sells an Israeli Civilian Gas Mask with NBC NATO Filter and Drinking Hydration Tube, Model 4A1, for $23.90. What a deal! Have to go and order a few before the price rises beyond the cost to fill up my car.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2013 9:51 AM

    Los Angeles, the city where I live, had a similar bad air pollution problem in the 80s (if not as bad as China today, but still). It takes a government with leadership, vision and a spine making sometimes unpopular decisions to handle this problem. Not easy, but doable.

  2. March 11, 2013 10:38 AM

    Hi Marc,

    So true! I lived in the Valley in the early 70’s and seen both the problem and the improvement. The attributes you expressed are without exception what’s needed. China falls short on this account. Rather China is closed and corrupt. Just read about China’s recent sweeping government shakeup plan (see link below). This is in China’s DNA and will take a major mutation for it to change for the good of the people and the world.


  3. March 23, 2013 5:43 AM

    The market leninism initiated by Deng Xiaoping and Milton Friedman in the 80’s resulted in a predatory capitalist system without any of the control mechanisms that you might find in a democracy. The elite group of billionaire princelings have no qualms about torturing or killing people who protest, and the communist party is drowning in corruption. Yes, millions of chinese have increased their wealth. But this will most likely be temporary The problem is that much of this wealth is based on building an enormous ecological debth. The chinese – and the rest of the world – now has to start paying down that debth. The chinese living in cities are already paying with ther health and quality of life by having to live in the foul air. The rural people are paying through water crises and chemical poisoning.


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  2. China, Do You Know What You Do? | BarryOnEnergy

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