Summary of How China Is (and Isn’t) Fighting Pollution and Climate Change

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How China Is (and Isn’t) Fighting Pollution and Climate Change summary
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China’s “green evolution” is fueling robust growth in the environmental sector, and China has emerged as the global leader in the production of renewable energy. Yet the nation continues to invest in dirty energy abroad, a practice that undermines its efforts at home. Data scientist Angel Hsu examines this paradox. Her pithy overview will appeal to environmentalists and China watchers alike.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How China is tackling its domestic pollution problem and
  • How efforts to reduce pollution in China affect the entire world.
 

About the Speaker

Data scientist Angel Hsu analyzes environmental data to develop policy solutions.

 

Summary

In 2012, the air in Ürümqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang province, was dense with smog and pollution, but government data suggested otherwise. An official air-quality app indicated clear skies, but the pollution was so bad that nearby skyscrapers were almost invisible. As it turns out, Chinese officials considered PM2.5 – that is, fine particulate pollution – to be “too politically sensitive,” so they omitted it from their data. The clear disconnect between government statistics and reality led to an “environmental awakening” in China, and people began to demand greater transparency from the government. In 2015, journalist Chai Jing posted online a documentary entitled Under the Dome, which estimated that air pollution is responsible for one million premature deaths every year in China. More than 100 million people saw the movie before the Chinese government removed it from the Internet, fearing it would foment social unrest.


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