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This week I wrote about how China is Imploding under a pollution haze of it's own making.  Now today comes the news that China is combating air pollution with tough monitoring rules..

Chinese authorities have set tougher rules to combat air pollution by ordering all major cities to monitor tiny particles that do serious damage to health. One of China's leading environmental activists, Ma Jun, greeted the change as a major step forward.

Surprisingly, given China's strict control of the internet, state media have acknowledged the change is partly in response to online environmental campaigners.

This is not a green wash gesture.  The new ruling comes with strict adherence policies.
They order stricter air pollution monitoring standards this year in the mega-cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin, 27 provincial capitals, and three key industrial belts: the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas, and Beijing's hinterland. Another 113 cities must adopt new standards next year, and all but the smallest cities by 2015.

To "help allay public concern over official air quality readings", levels of ozone and PM2.5 particles must be included. PM2.5 particulate matter is below 2.5 micrometres in diameter, or 1/30th the width of an average human hair, and easily penetrates lung tissue.

China has vowed to speed up the eradication of major polluting industrial plants and replace them with clean energy sources, including wind, solar and biomass.
"Clean energy is a long-term solution for solving the environmental problems faced by the country, but the high cost means it takes time," said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University.
This is not just good news for the Chinese people but it is good news for us also.  We all share the same air on this planet  .For the Chinese to make such a major commitment to cleaning up their atmosphere means that they will have to clean up some areas with the highest greenhouse gas emissions such as coal plants and agriculture.   These are the kind of actions that are needed to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.

From Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs: "It doesn't mean that the sky will turn blue automatically because at the end of the day we still need to cut off these emissions.".  Yes, there is indeed a long, long way to go but actions like this will help.

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 09:51 AM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't believe it . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper

    When I look at the coal they plan on importing / burning , it does not square with what they are saying .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:00:30 AM PST

    •  I don't think it meant that they are going (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to stop industrializing..they are going to have to be much more careful about emissions.  

    •  Coal can be scrubbed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      beach babe in fl, glorificus

      Yes, I know, imperfectly.

      But imperfect scrubbing is a lot better than what they are doing now.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'ya aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il ya toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:11:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it's relative, not absolute (4+ / 0-)

      switching from bituminous to anthracite coal can clear up coal pollution in a relative sense, although it does fuck-all for carbon emissions. it's also worth pointing out that increasing their non-coal production of energy, increasing efficiency at power plants, getting up to date emissions scrubbers at plants, and shifting their transportation network to electric trains, electric bikes and mass transit and  away from cars and diesel trains all will shift things in a relative sense away from the awful status quo.

      •  yes, they do seem to be working on all of the (0+ / 0-)

        above at once.  This will take time.

      •  Are they switching while doubling / tripling (0+ / 0-)

        the amount of coal they burn ?

        Its reported that they are going to be burning half the world coal in just a few years from now , then they will be burning more than half the worlds coal each year after that .

        "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

        by indycam on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:21:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  they are in massive transition and it seems are (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          John Crapper

          trying to go green while continuing to function.  

        •  dont confuse the rate of increase in coal imported (4+ / 0-)

          with the rate of increase of coal burned. china's own reserves are peaking, so they're increasingly importing coal that they would have mined themselves. while they do that, they're also trying to shift from bituminous to anthracite coal, esp. with exports, because it burns cleaner.

          china:coal :: US:oil (or for that matter, ::china:oil too)

          both started out with huge domestic reserves, and have responded to a peak resource by shifting to imports.

          that is why we should refuse to export coal to china, to noodge them off of coal at a faster rate. and, at the same time, we should stop burning the accursed stuff ourselves.

          •  I am relying on reported coal burning in china . (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not confusing ...
            Are you saying you have reported numbers that show a flat or decreasing amount of burning ?
            If so I would love to see the numbers and there source .  



            "China's coal consumption is expected to exceed 4 billion tones per year by 2015 - half the world total."
            While coal is the main energy source, most reserves are in the north or northwest and present an enormous logistical problem – nearly half the country's rail capacity is used in transporting coal. Because of the heavy reliance on old coal-fired plant, electricity generation accounts for much of the country's air pollution, which is a strong reason to increase nuclear share. China recently overtook the USA as the world's largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. The US Energy Information Administration predicts that China's share in global coal-related emissions will grow by 2.7% per year, from 4.9 billion tonnes in 2006 to 9.3 billion tonnes in 2030, some 52% of the projected world total. Total carbon dioxide emissions in China are projected to grow by 2.8% per year from 6.2 billion tonnes in 2006 to 11.7 billion tonnes in 2030 (or 28% of world total). In comparison, total US carbon dioxide emissions are projected to grow by 0.3% per year, from 5.9 billion tonnes in 2006 to 7.7 billion tonnes in 2030.3 China's coal consumption is expected to exceed 4 billion tones per year by 2015 - half the world total.

            "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

            by indycam on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:39:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  this is a new initiative so hasn't even started (0+ / 0-)

              yet.   The last of the areas to fall under this ruling have until 2015...

              •  And I still don't believe . (0+ / 0-)

                Do you see what will be needed to even to start to have any real effect on the problem ?
                Do you think they will actually be successful in reining in the monster ?
                What they are doing re coal burning , tonnes per year vs what they say they are going to do re pollution ...
                It just does not add up . Doubling / tripling the amount burnt and claiming to get cleaner at the same time ? I don't think so .

                I'll wait and watch to see if this new plan can be made to work , until then I'll wait watching with a careful eye .  
                The Chinese have launched plans in the past that have not worked out .

                "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

                by indycam on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 11:12:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  no, to clarify (0+ / 0-)

              i was just trying to distinguish between the rapid rate of increase in exports, and the relatively slower rate of increase in total coal consumed, as well as pointing out a shift between different types of coal (which is also related to the increased imports).

          •  We would do well to concentrate on straightening (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            beach babe in fl, wu ming

            up our own house since we are the super-consumers of the planet and per captita have the biggiest drain on the planet's resources.  

            If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

            by John Crapper on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 01:07:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  How do their new standards for PM2.5 (0+ / 0-)

    compare to EPA and / or European standards?

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'ya aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il ya toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:11:43 AM PST

  •  distinctions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    aerosol pollution is not the same as greenhouse gas pollution. In fact, as far as I understand, they counteract each other to a certain extent. So if China takes steps to limit is horrendous aerosol pollution that doesnt mean that it makes progress on the CO2 issue. it is good in any case if they reduce either kind of pollution but I am a bit hesitant about this. Also, as far as I can see from the diary they talk about "monitoring" ... yes thats better than not monitoring but it also isn´t actually reducing yet ... I wonder how long this "long term" is thats mentioned there.


    •  climate change is not just a CO2 issue... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      John Crapper

      there are short lived climate forcers including troposheric ozone..which is what we are talking about here.

      UN urges curb of soot and smog to combat climate change.

    •  Unfortunately, you're probably correct -- (0+ / 0-)

      reducing particulate air pollution without simultaneously reducing CO2 emissions will speed up global climate change.

      •  we have to reduce C02 but it stays in the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marsanges, John Crapper, mythatsme

        atmosphere longer than short lived climate forcers and we can not reduce it in time to stop the worst effects of climate change...but we can reduce SLCFs to buy us the time to reduce C02

        •  shorter lived (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          true ... what I wanted to say was not that they shouldnt clean up their pollution, of every kind. I more meant that some of the shorter lived climate forcers are actually negative forcers. Such as sulfate pollution (a component of aerosol pollution) ... and I think (but could misremember) also general brown cloud formation because it enhances albedo.

          I remember that because we have been told longtime here that the recent general temperature rise took off at about 1975 because that was the time when the western world had finally gotten around to clear up the aerosol pollution. I would think that it is no different with China.

          To restate, that doesnt mean that they shouldnt do it! It just means that clearing the air over China (Asia) can have effects that might not be widely expected. But I´m also just repeating what I have picked up by reading around.

          I like this talk (but it is about something different again) (something which I like because I live in a hothouse of animal industry mistreatment). In fact what I meant is in that talk, ha! The blue bars.

  •  It's all kabuki theater (0+ / 0-)

    they'll do some monitoring, execute a few functionaries whose jurisdictions do poorly, etc etc

    but at the end of the day, nothing will have really changed.

    unless, of course, they stop that "building a new coal-fired power plant every two weeks" thing.

  •  I think this is very hopeful, as Chinese engineers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl

    may find ways to better control emissions. The U.S. engineers had little incentive to find really clean ways of using coal.

    We'll see. After all, who would have thought we'd be refighting Roe v. Wade all these years since SCOTUS ruled?

    If you do not believe that there is an ongoing war on women, then you aren't paying attention. h/t The Pootie Potentate

    by glorificus on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 11:39:21 AM PST

  •  Believe it when I don't see it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl, John Crapper

    As much as I would love to be happy about these announcements, the Party in China isn't exactly brimming with green new ideas.

    Enforcement of regulations in China is also a cruel joke. As in our country, enough money over there will get you around nearly any rule.

    Still, I am optimistic. If any country is able to shift a massive amount of resources toward a new technology, it would be China.

    •  they have the incentive.... (0+ / 0-)

      they are dying of their own pollution and their survival depends on a shift.

      Of course, just like the rest of the world they may just keep their heads in the sand and wait for a 'rapture' of some sort to take care of climate change.

      •  yep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        beach babe in fl

        When I was in Beijing last, the hotel where I was staying issued filter masks and when I finally did get the window in the room open, I had to spend the next 15 minutes cleaning up all the coal ash that blew in.

        I really really really hope they are able to clean up their act in time. So many people there are suffering simply because a small percentage want to emulate the images they see on smuggled in Western movies.

  •  This is good news if it happens. As with so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beach babe in fl

    much that goes on in Asia it looks good on the books but when it comes to enforcement if falls far short.  At least their giving it some attention.  I remember when I lived in Taiwan there were always new regulations coming out to make things look good but things would just continue on as before.  

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we need to really think about shit!

    by John Crapper on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 01:01:59 PM PST

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