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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