Will the sun rise at last in China ?
One chocking fact of our arrival in Beijing is this thick fog that limits our visibility to a only a few meters. We had seen nothing like it in Malaysia, the Philippines, or even India.
And yet, no pollution peak on the horizon! This heavy fog will follow us on the Great Wall of China and down to the dam of the Three Gorges, 1300 km south of Beijing.
In recent years, the authorities have taken the problem very seriously and are increasing measures to improve air quality. A Pekinese interviewee confirms that the public’s concerns about air quality and health impacts are growing. He took the opportunity to highlight the improvement of the situation for the past 2-3 years, in Beijing. Finally, he laughs at the sudden awareness of the Chinese leaders: “They realized that they breathe the same air than us and that their health is just as threatened. It is for this reason that they act “.
1.1 million people die prematurely each year because of air pollution in China. In Beijing, we met with Ying Yuan, Greenpeace China, to discuss about energy and climate. She told us that fine particulate pollution has fallen to an average of 7% between 2015 and 2016, but at the same time 74% of the 366 Chinese cities analyzed by the NGO still do not meet the national criteria. At this rate, Shanghai should meet Chinese air pollution standards by 2020 and Beijing by 2027. But it is still far from the WHO criteria that would only be reached by 2046.
In December 2016, China experienced a peak of particularly acute pollution on more than 10% of the territory forcing the authorities to close schools, factories and limit car traffic. At the same time, Beijing is committed to limiting automobile emissions and the use of coal, while investing in renewable energies and punishing the biggest polluters.
In the first semester of 2017, the most polluting industries were fined € 78 million, which represents 131% of the amount due in 2016’s first semester. Beijing is multiplying efforts on the subject. A few days ago, Peking announced a plan to replace the 67,000 gasoline taxis in Beijing with electric vehicles. The state should finance, through purchase aid, 40% of the price of electric vehicles to encourage it.
CLIMACTION is a french non profit organisation whose purpose is to promote energy transition and circular economy. Two members of the organisation, Thibaut Aaron and Marine Dupont are going around the world for one year to conduct the project Energy Transition Tour. The project focuses on 3 main themes : access to energy, renewable energies, and energy efficiency. By visiting substainable initiatives, CLIMACTION wishes to inform & involve the population as well as promote transfers of ideas through positive portraits, articles and videos.