Beijing’s “Summit Blue”: What Does It Say about China’s Smog Woes?
30, 2017 | | 0 comments When some 30 world leaders and hundreds of other dignitaries gathered in Beijing between May 14 and 16, 2017, for the first Belt and Road Forum, they were greeted by clear blue skies, which are rare most of the year but common at major international events like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2008.
Environmental pollution is a global issue that most fast-growing economies have had to face, and is related to many factors such as economic structure, technological level, political systems, governance capacity, institution building, as well as public awareness and social participation.
China’s economic miracles over the last three decades have imposed enormous pressures upon the country’s already worsened environment and scant resources, with mounting ecological problems like air pollution, water pollution and shortages, soil contamination, desertification, and loss of bio-diversity having caught intensive attention from the Chinese government, domestic public, and international community.
In the long run, the Chinese government needs to introduce more economic incentives and disincentives to curb pollution and ecological destruction instead of relying too much on short-term administrative orders.
By enhancing its capacity for environmental governance, Chinese authorities have made concrete steps in curbing pollution with environmental conservation tasks having risen to the highest platform in the political agenda of the ruling Communist Party of China (Carter and Mol, 2007; Economy, 2007).
For years the Chinese government has been reporting daily air pollution levels at major cities based on the data collected from monitoring stations around those cities by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and its local branches.
Smog in Beijing is an image problem as well as a health hazard for hundreds of millions of city dwellers.
The smog woes experienced by Chinese cities can be mainly attributed to the extensive use of coal, the growing number of motor vehicles and the ongoing massive urbanization and industrialization process in the country.
Environmental Governance in China.
Gang Chen is Senior Research Fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore.