Air Pollution Is Going to Be China's Biggest Export
William Pesek: This 'geopolitical headache' has dangerous implications
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2013 12:27 PM CDT
Visitors stand on Tiananmen Square across from a portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong in thick haze in Beijing on Jan. 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

(Newser) – Home to 16 of the 20 dirtiest cities on Earth, some of the world's filthiest waters, and deadly, particulate-filled air, China is growing so polluted that it is threatening both the Communist Party's leadership at home and the quality of life around the region, writes William Pesek in Bloomberg. Pesek recounts having a flight delayed in Tokyo recently—because of a sandstorm. "The sand is compliments of China’s boom," he writes. "Thanks to deforestation and overgrazing, more and more of the Gobi Desert’s grit, along with industrial pollution."

China also faces water disputes with Kazakhstan, India, and other neighbors, trouble over illegal logging in Indonesia, and anger over its unscrupulous companies in Vietnam and Malaysia—all of which exacerbate political tensions around the region. China could tackle its environmental problems much as Britain did in the 1950s, but it lacks the political will. "The strains are becoming a geopolitical headache that will reach a whole new level once PM2.5 (dangerous air particulates) becomes China’s main export." Click for Pesek's full column.

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Showing 3 of 12 comments
HMD-SMD-ITY
Mar 23, 2013 12:18 PM CDT
They shut down the factories for the olympics. The day after the media left, they turned them all back on. There is no other country like China. Everything is game. The cities are developed but you don't have to travel very far to be in hicksville. Sewers run down the middle of streets and many are only trenches covered up by clay or metal tiles. Utilities are done on a "Green Acres" type system. You climb a pole to hook up to phone or electricity. None of it is metered, you pay per month. You can't exceed 40 amps because that's the fuse rating at the point you hook up. Satellite tv is strictly government regulated. You pay for it at the same place you pay your phone bill. You pay on a smart card for the sat receiver. Most people choose cell phones. Grocery shopping is easy, just visit farmer's markets and argue the price. Meats are always fresh and it includes every possible form of protein on Earth. You could eat yak meat from an animal hit earlier today. Never leave your home unless you leave your pets with trusted friends. Even that you could return home and find that the grandmother of your friends showed up and had a good recipe for dog tartare. You go to retrieve your family pet and he instead hands you 20 yun. "Please accept my humble apology. We sold the rest of "rover" and this is your cut." So the best policy is to just never get too close to your family pets in China. As back woods, run down, upside down that China can get, the party has control over the remotest regions. There is a party official you must eventually answer to. Think of a strong mayor in the USA but one with dictatorial powers. You usually get to be very good friends with him/her. Always, you love China, you love the Premier, you can love God, but you always ask God to bless China's government. On the bright side, if someone steals from you, you can turn them in. Justice is very quick and sure. Three people decide on their guilt, which is usually the case. A week later, they are gone, the family gets the bill for the trial, cost of transportation to the prison, and cost of prison stay. Wealth is a benefit because you can buy freedom for someone. They laugh at our system. They know spending $60,000 per prisoner like we do is stupid and is one thing that will result in our downfall. So why do they keep investing in the USA by sopping up bonds as fast as the bamster can print them? Not only do they wrap the noose tighter for each bond they buy, but it beholds the USA to China. Even if they do allow Kim Jong dingly dong to nuke Seattle, they can still be on high ground over the USA. What China eventually wants the USA to do is default on a bond payment. After that happens, there is not anything the USA could do to prevent a takeover. No, it wouldn't be another world war. It would be a lot more like a Roman Empire deal. China has enough of their citizens in place in the USA to simply just take over industry. Not a single shot is fired and they just take over. They send enough students to universities who do internships at major corporations. Those interns report back trade and corporate secrets. When the takeover happens, they will simply walk into corporate America and take over the CEO positions. Its that simple.
democracy1776
Mar 23, 2013 8:11 AM CDT
China's leaders are not the only ones perpetuating air pollution. Every American company that has their goods made in China are the real criminals. These CEO's of these American companies are causing Americas unemployment numbers . These CEO's are bypassing Americas clean air legislation when they send their manufacturing to China. The Congress must pass a clean air tax on all foreign made goods. This will make these foreign made goods cost more and less attractive for American companies to ship their manufacturing out of the U.S. Wal mart is the largest seller of Foreign made goods. in the U.S. The Republicans are crying that Obama has not reduced the unemployment numbers and at the same time they do nothing about imports taking Jobs from the U.S. . Also these rich Republican Congressman keep investing their money in Companies that send their manufacturing to China.
Lefty_Libby
Mar 22, 2013 5:01 PM CDT
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, one of my conservative friends thinks we should burn more coal, because it's cheap. There's no global warming, but watch out for those jet contrails. Lord, save us from the Beckites.