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China – Your Follies are Killing your People and our Planet!

March 22, 2013

Source: Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times

Source: Sim Chi Yin for The New York Times

On the heels of my essays “Is there a Breath of Fresh Air in China Today?”[1] and “Anyone for Chinese Pork Soup?”[2], comes a NYT article “As Pollution Worsens in China, Solutions Succumb to Infighting”[3]. Edward Wong reports:

“So severe are China’s environmental woes, especially the noxious air, that top government officials have been forced to openly acknowledge them …..”

“….. she checked for smog every morning after opening her curtains and kept at home face masks for her daughter and herself.”

“….. infighting within the government bureaucracy is one of the biggest obstacles to enacting stronger environmental policies.”

“….. China’s oil and power companies — have been putting profits ahead of health in working to outflank new rules”

“….. sulfur levels of diesel in China are at least 23 times that of the United States.”

“….. the three biggest ones (power companies) in the country are all repeat violators of government restrictions on emissions from coal-burning plants”

“….. deadly air pollution hit record levels in northern China

“….. Zhou Rong, a campaign manager on energy issues for Greenpeace East Asia. “My personal opinion is even if we have the most stringent standards for every sector, the companies will violate those.”

“….. Deutsche Bank released an analysts’ note saying that China’s current economic policies would result in an enormous surge in coal consumption and automobile sales over the next decade. “China’s air pollution will become a lot worse from the already unbearable level,”

“…..system of forging fuel standards has led to fierce bureaucratic infighting.”

“….. costs of upgrading (diesel fuel) could still lead the oil companies to ignore the new standards”

“…..  vehicle emissions account for 22 percent of the main deadly particulate matter in the air, known as PM 2.5, and another 40 percent is from coal-fired factories”

“….. compliance (stricter factory emissions standards) by the state-owned enterprises could be a problem.”

“Another problem is the low penalties: fines are generally capped around $16,000, not much of a deterrent …..”

In closing, China must show resolve, leadership and the true desire to do something. Rhetoric is cheap and infighting shows lack of leadership. The ramifications of which are seen today — ever worsening conditions, further deterioration of the environment and rising costs of remediation. People revolt for freedom, territory and ideology; it may not be too long when they rise up for clean air and water. Leaders beware.

[1] Is there a Breath of Fresh Air in China Today? BarryOnEnergy, March 9, 2013:
[2] Anyone for Chinese Pork Soup? BarryOnEnergy, March 20, 2013
[3] As Pollution Worsens in China, Solutions Succumb to Infighting, New York Times, Edward Wong, March 21, 2013:

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