By Emily Feng

Long renowned for its thick industrial haze, China’s capital has over the winter enjoyed more frequent blue skies.

Beijing’s average concentration of airborne PM2.5 levels — tiny particulates that are especially damaging to human health — fell more than a fifth last year, suggesting that China’s willingness to move heavy industry outside the city and cut its reliance on coal is having a positive environmental impact.

However, air pollution levels in Beijing have always closely tracked economic planning, hinting that the respite from the smog is only temporary — a concern that has been compounded by a run of smoggy days in the capital this month after winter pollution controls were lifted.

“China’s efforts to reduce pollution in the past several years have been remarkable,” said Michael Greenstone, director of the Energy Policy Institute in Chicago. “The questions going forward are whether . . . they will turn to regulatory approaches that better facilitate the urgent need for continued robust economic growth.”

Continue reading at Financial Times…

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Areas of Focus: Environment
Producing and using energy damages people’s health and the environment. EPIC research is quantifying the social costs of energy choices and uncovering policies that help protect health while facilitating growth.
Air Pollution
Air Pollution
Air pollution from fossil fuel combustion poses a grave threat to human health worldwide. EPIC research is using real-world data to calculate the effects of air pollution on human health...