Sunday, 8 July 2012

China: Real pollution vs climate change

One of the tragic consequences of the almost total international fixation on fighting (bogus) human caused global warming is the fact that real and deadly pollution problems go almost unnoticed. Communist China, with its booming industry, is one of the countries worst affected. 
Fortunately ordinary Chinese people are now waking up to the dangers posed by dirty air and soil. Pollution problems have become a leading cause of civil unrest:

China has long been known as a place where the world’s dirtiest mines and factories can operate with impunity. Those days may not be over, but a growing environmental movement is beginning to make the most polluting projects much harder to build and operate.
Large and sometimes violent demonstrations against the planned construction of one of the largest copper smelting complexes on earth prompted local officials in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province to continue backpedaling furiously on Wednesday. The local government of Shifang, the planned site of the smelter, announced in a statement that the construction of the $1.6 billion complex had not only been suspended but also permanently canceled.
Thanks to the Internet — China has more Internet users than any other country — the protests appear to have resonated across the country. “Shifang” was the most-searched term on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging service, on Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning, before abruptly disappearing entirely from the list of frequently searched terms in a possible sign of censorship.
Several posts praising the Shifang protests on Tuesday evening had been deleted by Wednesday morning, another sign of censorship. But more posts had replaced them.
Read the entire article here
The US Embassy in Beijing is also playing a role in focusing attention on China´s huge air pollution problems. The embassy measures the air quality in Beijing hourly and puts the findings on this Twitter page. (At least 90% of the time the records show either hazardous, very unhealthy or unhealthy air quality). 
Here are the tweets for the last couple of hours:
07-08-2012 16:00; PM2.5; 139.0; 193; Unhealthy (at 24-hour exposure at this level)

07-08-2012 15:00; PM2.5; 130.0; 188; Unhealthy (at 24-hour exposure at this level)

07-08-2012 13:00; PM2.5; 135.0; 191; Unhealthy (at 24-hour exposure at this level)

No wonder then that the Chinese goverment wants to forbid the US embassy publishing the data: 
Last month, Chinese officials issued a general warning to foreign embassies, (but really aimed at the U.S.) to stop publishing reports about their country’s air quality.
The warning — in reference to a U.S. embassy Twitter account that, since 2008, has posted hourly readings of pollution levels of Beijing — illustrated how sensitive the government is about the country’s pollution problem.
And it's a problem that is becoming a growing concern among the public and considered a leading cause of civil unrest. The planned construction of industrial plants has sparked protests in some cities. Bowing to public pressure, officials shut down a planned copper plant for a southwestern China city on Wednesday after thousands protested the possible health impact from the facilty.
However, this is a fight the Chinese government is bound to lose. The corrupt communist party leaders will not be able to stop the growing protests of ordinary people who demand clean air and soil. 
China Air Daily is another interesting and useful site for observing the air quality in a couple of Chinese cities:

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