China Plans To Spend $275 Billion To Combat Pollution Crisis

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"China Plans To Spend $275 Billion To Combat Pollution Crisis"

(Credit: AP)

China’s air pollution levels have reached dire levels, even breaking the upper limits of the Air Quality Index earlier this year. In a sign the government is serious about tackling this crisis, The China Daily announced Thursday that China will spend $275 billion over the next five years to reduce emissions and launch anti-pollution programs.

The funds, which exceed the total economic output of Hong Kong last year, will target emissions in the densely populated area surrounding Beijing, where residents have suffered through off-the-charts pollution and all its accompanying illnesses. Air pollution caused more than 1.2 million premature deaths in China in just one year, while some Beijing schools are building air-purified domes over playgrounds so children can play “outside” safely. Anti-pollution protests have grown more and more prevalent all over the country.

These unsustainable conditions are directly linked to China’s rapid industrialization. Most of Beijing’s pollution stems from factories and power plants outside the city. China’s coal production has tripled in the past ten years as the nation’s energy consumption has exploded. The Chinese government, up til this year, has aggressively encouraged economic growth at the expense of the environment and public health.

But now that the environmental repercussions cannot be ignored, the government has done a hard about-face. New promised anti-pollution measures include speedy installation of pollution control equipment on coal-fuelled refineries, restrictions on high energy consumption industries like steel, cement, and glass, and use legal action to force industries to upgrade their emissions standards.

Before Thursday’s announcement, China had already pledged $16 billion to specifically help Beijing build and update sewage and garbage treatment, plant new forests, and curb illegal construction. The nation also invested twice as much as the U.S. in clean energy projects last year.

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17 Responses to China Plans To Spend $275 Billion To Combat Pollution Crisis

  1. fj says:

    May seem like a lot but probably not nearly enough.

    This is probably about what NYC should be spending per year to go net zero in five years.

  2. Leif says:

    How about it America? Are you going to finally step up to the plate, after all greenhouse gasses are pollutants as well, or is continued profits to the polluters paramount? Perhaps now do we get to wait for Canada to go first?

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      What is it going to take for America to shift some of its eggs from the ‘what’s good for business is good for America’ basket and return them to the government basket? This is partly a problem of beliefs. China has no such belief and acts swiftly when she needs to, ME

  3. Bill Wilson says:

    Just saying NO to KeystoneXL helps them and us.

  4. BillD says:

    I just read a great book: “Toms River a story of science and salvation.” This book show how chemical companies dumped toxic waste in a NJ shore community during the 50s to 80s, how local politicians did nothing and how even the water company didn’t share water quality results with their customers or bother with the expense of filtration. I guess that China is like Toms River used to be, only worse. In Toms River, childhood leukemia and brain cancer were associated with what the mother drank during pregnancy. I hope that Chinese scientists and environmentalists don’t take another 3 decades to convince the government and people about the health costs of weak regulation of pollution. No doubt that many Chinese are paying a big health cost for their countries rapid economic development.

  5. Spec says:

    China really just did go ahead and plow through the industrial revolution stage with killer smog and all.

  6. fj says:

    It costs China a lot less to go net zero.

    It is many times easier to improve vehicles and infrastructure to create modern, comfortable, convenient, and a highly practical net zero transport and transit for China’s one-half billion cyclists than its equivalent in the US.

    • fj says:

      Same for residential heating and cooling and electric power.

    • NHautamaki says:

      What cyclists? This is Northern China, the climate is the same as Northern USA and Canada, too cold and miserable to be riding bicycles for at least half the year so most people have cars now. Cars outnumber bicycles at least 100 to 1 on the roads in Northern China now. And as for residential heating and electric power, keep in mind that buildings are constructed by the lowest bidder, by seasonal labourers that grew up farming, in the least possible amount of time and generally are incredibly energy and heat innefficient. Hell if the building’s stairs go straight and are all the same size, and the right angles are actually 90 degrees, your building is already way ahead of the game. I’ve seen buildings that develop cracks along the facade within days of being completed, if not earlier. I’ve seen staircases that lead directly into a solid wall because they built them in the wrong place and there’s another staircase right beside it going to the actual door. It’s quite unbelievable how slipshod construction here is, so China has definitely got its work cut out for it.

      • fj says:

        Your sample has to be extremely small and irrelevant.

        There over one billion people in China.

  7. John McCormick says:

    Waiting on the other shoe to drop….

    China and other coal-dependent nations clean up their power plant emissions. Globally, air is clearer. More solar radiation striking earth’s surface.

    Price of clean air, from now on, is higher global temperatures. What a world we have created!!!

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Heads I win, tails you lose! Greed and hubris are a toxic brew. I’ve seen Uncle Vanya more often than any other play, and remember the first time, many moons ago, with John Bell as Vanya. I think John Gaden was Astrov, my memory being sketchy, if only because those two did a lot together in those days. Well, cutting through the clap-trap, I well remember a real frisson of dread when Astrov outlined his fears for the forests that were being devastated in their region. Like a premonition of disaster, and the destroyers have rolled on ever since. And their work is nearly done.

      • John McCormick says:

        Mulga, a shorter comment usuing conventional language skills would be appreciate here. And,I do appreciate your use of words. Thank you

  8. BillD says:

    It would be nice if China planned to spend this amount reducing green house gases. However, I think that this story is more about direct health threats such as smog, toxic chemicals in water and worker exposure to toxic chemicals. Reducing smog would indirectly reduce CO2, but China’s more direct way of combating climate change is to fund alternative energy.

  9. David Moore says:

    Re read the main article. “China’s coal use tripled in the last ten years.” This must be reversed not continued and nothing else will be adequate to combat warming. Period. Boycott China and boycott Wal Mart.