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January 15 News: Beijing Experiences Worst Air Pollution On Record

By Joe Romm  

"January 15 News: Beijing Experiences Worst Air Pollution On Record"

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Skyscrapers are obscured by heavy haze in Beijing Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. (AP Photo)

On January 12, Beijing’s air pollution reached unprecedented levels, even beyond the upper limits of the Air Quality Index, which reports daily air quality around the world, and it’s taking a serious toll on Beijing’s residents. [ThinkProgress]

According to one hospital official, the number of emergency room patients with heart attacks roughly doubled over the weekend. Hospitals are struggling to handle an influx of people suffering from respiratory and cardiac trouble….

China’s pollution disaster should serve as a warning for American lawmakers who claim environmental regulation hurts business. While US pollution levels are nowhere near China’s, cities like Los Angeles and Birmingham struggle to meet basic federal air quality standards. Despite Republican opposition, the Environmental Protection Agency recently issued more stringent soot standards projected to save roughly 15,000 lives a year, which was published in the Federal Register today. Still, Congressional Republicans have not given up on their long campaign to defund the EPA. As part of the impending “fiscal cliff,” the agency’s clean air program stands to lose more than $100 million in funding.

Several of Washington, DC’s recent summers were unusually hot, and its most recent year was the warmest on record. According to the new federal climate report, that’s likely to become business as usual in the future. [WaPo]

Global green energy investment fell to $269 billion in 2012 after hitting a record high of $302 billion in 2011, with the drop driven largely by reduced activity in the United States. The good news, however, is that 2012′s investment level is still the second-highest ever recorded. [Grist]

A coalition of climate groups just sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar asking the Obama Administration to impose a moratorium on fossil fuel development in the Arctic region. The letter comes on the heels of an announcement that the Interior Department will conduct a 60-day assessment of the Arctic offshore drilling program. [Summit County Citizens]

According to leak European Union documents acquired by The Guardian, the British government is seeking to water down EU regulations that would prevent oil and gas drilling projects that could leave ecologically fragile areas vulnerable to oil spills and other accidents. [The Guardian]

The first leg of an undersea power transmission line that would ultimately connect offshore wind farms between New York City and southern Virginia is officially underway. The segment will be 189 miles long and run from Jersey City to an area south of Atlantic City. [NYT]

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After Disastrous Delay, House Will Vote On Funds For Sandy Recovery And Resiliency, But Not Sea-Level-Rise Planning ›

16 Responses to January 15 News: Beijing Experiences Worst Air Pollution On Record

  1. Paul Klinkman says:

    Smog goes back several hundred years, to London in the 1600s. Again and again, nations learn that if they don’t take precautions against smog, people die. Worse, rich and powerful people die too. This problem, human death from individuals all acting alone and greedy millionaires wanting to squeeze every last penny, lies at the heart of social planning.

    Judging by the many riots and nonviolent actions now, China is setting up to deal with some horrid backlash some day down the road.

    For that matter, half of the world is going to see a climate change backlash some day. People will hate having their farms, homes and family members destroyed for someone’s short-term greed.

  2. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Here’s an article at truthout.org by Cyril Mychalejko which takes to task the militarization of the AGW movement. He takes special exception to the term, “Climate Hawk”, with several mentions of JR and others. Some of the reasoning in the article is reminiscent of arguments made here by Lewis C., ME, and MulgaM.
    http://truth-out.org/news/item/13917-turtles-and-tomahawk-missiles-together-at-last-war-is-not-the-answer-to-climate-change

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      I certain circles it is also mandatory. There’s nothing they hate more than a ‘smart-arse’(anyone smarter than they).

  3. prokaryotes says:

    Al Jazeera America, test case for an open society

    Last week, after the announcement that AJE had bought Al Gore’s Current TV (for something like $500 million), and with it access to as many as 40 million American homes, Time Warner immediately announced it was dropping Current from its cable roster.

    It’s been a pattern. The country that, in the name of free speech, allows flag-burning, Ku Klux Klan marches and protests at military funerals by religious zealots hoisting “God hates fags” placards decided years ago that AJE represents the kind of speech it simply cannot tolerate.

    “It’s insane that a country as important and as vibrant and diverse as the United States would have such a banana republic approach to news and information,” http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/2013/01/10/f-rfa-macdonald-al-jazeera.html

    • prokaryotes says:

      Apparently the US media is a key player when it comes to climate denial.

      With the noteable, glowing exception of the bright, brilliant and essential UP with Chris Hayes, coverage of climate issues, even in this year of searing heat and falling records, continues to be abysmal. Apparently, coverage of the biggest issue of the millennium is not yet considered essential enough to bump Honey BooBoo and Kim Kardashian off the mainstream media.

      In Four Years, Sunday Shows Have Not Quoted A Single Scientist On Climate Change.

      Sunday Shows Obscured Scientific Consensus On Climate Change. http://climatecrocks.com/2013/01/14/will-media-crack-the-door-on-climate-coverage/

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      As Chomsky and Herman showed in ‘Manufacturing Consent’, as numerous other academics have shown and as simple commonsense tells any rational observer, the Western MSM is a propaganda and indoctrination system that operates to defend the money and power of its owners, the 0.01%. How could it be otherwise, with the totalitarian mentality of our Masters? In Australia over the years the MSM has been oligopolised, with Murdoch dominant. His rags have moved ever further to the neo-liberal, Islamophobic, xenophobic and climate change denialist Right. These are rank propaganda sheets, no semblance of even-handedness exists and editorials and opinion are deracinated rants, illogical but histrionic and hysterical. Hate and fearmongering is ubiquitous, and certain individuals (such as Tim Flannery for his climate activism) are subjected to villainous calumny, abuse, misrepresentation and sheer hatred. Even the dead, like our greatest historian, Manning Clark, are vilified far beyond the grave. The neo-liberal poison that is liquidating societies and the habitability of this planet for our species, is the God of these wretched hate screeds, which says it all, really.

      • Dennis Tomlinson says:

        Is Clive Hamilton similarly treated?

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          Yes, from time to time. He’s a bete noire for some of the hatemongers at Murdoch’s even more downmarket tabloid rags. They hate all environmentalists, particularly, of course, those on what is left of the Left. The Right are beginning to increasingly screech ‘Communist’ at the Greens, which portends the coming crackdown on ‘green terrorism’.

  4. Joan Savage says:

    NASA published two satellite photographs of the Beijing region, one with smog, one without. The smog reached the coast, roughly 200 km from the capital city.

    NASA’s page provides Resources links to real time updates.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=80152

    • David B. Benson says:

      Some of that manages to make its way to the Pacific Northwest where I can see the haze high in the sky.

      New in the 21st century.

  5. fj says:

    Not too long ago there were about 600 million cyclists. Now there are about one-half billion.

    You do not want them to move to cars electric or otherwise and will not happen anyway since we will run out environment first.

    The actual environmental and financial costs are minimal to upgrade those 500 million cyclists to high-quality developed-world-comfortable carbon zero transportation.

  6. jyyh says:

    PIOMAS thickness estimates extrapolated by grid cells by wipneus: https://sites.google.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/piomas/grf/zero.png
    guessing that this has been done pretty rigorously, since the improbable area for the furthest longevity present.