Although China suffers from air pollution in its major cities and rivers, there are cities and rivers with cleaner air and water, such as Chengdu (more than 14 million people), Haikou (more than 2 million), Xiamen (about 3.5 million), Dalian (more than 6 million) and Zhuhai (1.5 million), and the Qi River in the north and the Li River in the south in addition to the Wusuli and Ussuri Rivers in the Northeast, and the Nenjiang River in the midwest.
Since the Western media often focuses on the pollution in China, this may come as a surprise to many, but China, like the United States, has environments that are not polluted.
After three decades of pollution, China is struggling to clean its environment, which in a capitalist, profit driven economic system is a challenge as it is in the United States.
Evidence of China’s efforts to clean its environment reveal itself in the fact that China has more hydroelectric dams (about 26,000—half the world total) than any nation, is replacing its old dirty coal-burning power plants with the latest clean-air technologies in coal power, and is the leader in solar and wind generating electricity in addition to developing safer, cleaner nuclear energy.
In fact, China produces more than 200 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from its hydroelectric dams while the US only produces 80 GW in third place behind Canada’s 89 GW.
However, in the US, conservatives from the Republican Party fight hard to curb environmental laws designed to decrease carbon based pollution due to coal burning power plants and the combustion engine.
There is an old saying in America that harkens back to the revolution, “Give me liberty or give me death,” but today, the unspoken conservative slogan should be “Give me carbon, profits and lower taxes or give me death.”
For example, the Huffington Post reported, “Obama’s Ozone Standards Retreat Angers Environmental Groups, Ignores Science… Only national enforcement will protect us here in Rhode Island from the ‘bad air’ days we experience due to ozone caused by out-of-state power plants,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement. “Many of these Midwestern power plants have inadequate pollution controls or none at all, and use tall smokestacks to launch the pollution into prevailing winds that bring ozone here to Rhode Island.”
Why would President Obama do this? The answer is pressure from the conservative majority in the House of Representatives that value profit over life. Conservatives ignore the fact that cutting back on ground-level ozone could save, according to the EPA, an estimated 12,000 American lives, 58,000 asthma attacks and 2.5 million missed school or work days annually.
Meanwhile, the war of words in the US over global warming between conservatives supporting the oil and coal industries and environmentalists continues.
More evidence that increased carbon in the atmosphere is causing global warming was reported in World Without Ice by Robert Kunzig in the October 2011 issue of National Geographic Magazine. “Fifty-six million years ago,” Kunzig wrote, “a mysterious surge of carbon into the atmosphere sent global temperatures soaring. In a geologic eye blink life was forever changed.”
What happened 56 million years ago is called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. Global warming during the PETM was caused by a massive and geologically sudden release of carbon. The PETM lasted more than 150,000 years until the oceans and forests reabsorbed the excess carbon. It brought on droughts, floods, insect plagues and extinctions.
If you doubt that carbon spewing into the atmosphere is not causing current global warming, I suggest reading the piece in National Geographic (link provided above). Once the earth was hot and ice free, the ocean levels were 220 feet higher than they are now.
If we ignore these facts and continue business as usual as conservatives want, imagine what global warning and melting ice will do to property values and profits in areas that may soon be under water.
Discover The Cause of China’s Pollution
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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