By Jennifer Pak

In China, policies can be incredibly effective, if the government wants them to be. Public anger mounted in 2013 after a particularly bad bout of smog hung across parts of northeastern China forcing highways and airports to close. China’s premier Li Keqiang declared a “war on pollution” the following year.

According to a U.S. study released last month by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, measures implemented by the government worked.

“China’s most populated areas have experienced remarkable improvements in air quality, ranging from 21 to 42 percent,” the study said.

Michael Greenstone, a co-author of the report and the Milton Friedman Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, said that, by way of comparison, it took the United States about 12 years after the enactment of the 1970 Clean Air Act to achieve a similar reduction and that was partly due to the severe economic recession 1981-1982.

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Areas of Focus: Environment
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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
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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...
EPIC-China
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EPIC-China
China is indisputably critical to addressing the global energy challenge. China is one of the world’s biggest economies, its top carbon emitter, and among its most polluted countries. Yet, China...