Tiananmen Police Don Smog Masks, Wind Makes or Breaks the Blue Sky

Now that Beijing has had its first red alert since institutionalizing its smog alert system in 2013, it was news when the special forces who guard Tiananmen Square were seen, for the first time, wearing face masks to protect them from the smog, too. Yet Beijing isn’t even among China’s 20 most polluted cities, a list that includes many industrial cities in Hebei, the province that envelops Beijing, where steel is one of the most important industries and a top producer of air pollutants.


A screenshot of the air pollution ratings of Chinese cities on the early morning of December 10, 2015. Smog was expected to be clearer later that day. Beijing didn’t even make the top ten most polluted cities, which included Dezhou, Kaifeng, Puyang, Anyang, Baoding, Xingtai, Zhengzhou, Liaocheng, Handan, and Hefei.

The site PM25.in (Chinese) tracks the real-time air quality ranking of cities, also showing how far their emissions travel.


NASA satellite images of northern China from December 5-10, 2015 illustrate how wind cleared the air pollution in Beijing and other cities.



Global Carbon Emissions May Stall in 2015

from chinadialogue
Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas as well as from industrial activities grew by just 0.6 percent in 2014, according to researchers from the Global Carbon Project of the organization Future Earth.The researchers say...

Somewhat positive news came out of ongoing climate change negotiations in Paris: Even though it is far from certain that this round of negotiations will result in groundbreaking progress, China gets a big thumbs up for its “Herculean and unexpected” effort to help turn around further growth of global carbon emissions. Paul Shrivastava, Executive Director of the Future Earth project, said, “It is the first real indication that the global economy can begin the path towards decarbonization.” He was referring to the latest data showing that global emissions grew by only .6 percent in 2014 and may show a small decrease of .6 percent in 2015.