January 5, 2017

"I made this earlier today - a bank of AQI400+ smog arriving in Beijing within the space of 20 minutes."



Via the NYT. ("The video was by taken by Chas Pope, a British worker, and posted on Monday, just as the city has been grappling with yet another extended bout of pollution... The past few weeks have been especially bad in Beijing. Officials declared a red alert for the city on Dec. 16, the most severe warning in a four-tier system, forcing older, high-emissions motor vehicles to stay off the road and schools to close. Hundreds of flights were canceled and highways were shut down because of low visibility.")

84 comments:

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I was in Beijing about 15 years ago. We were there in April or May. The night before we arrived it rained. The air was clean and the skies blue. Really nice. By the time we left in 2 weeks it started to get brown and ugly. People started to wear the mask again.

I can't say I was surprised by the pollution. I've lived and worked in Eastern Europe and the pollution of the land, water and air is horrible. I'd blame corporations but they were outlawed by the communist governments. So I guess I just have to blame bad luck.

tim in vermont said...

The particles drift to the Arctic, come to rest on the formerly pristine snow,absorb the heat of the sun, and melt through. Or so illiterate deniers claim.

But the fact is that we need the cheap iPhones and stuff because our own workers are spoiled and unwilling to work like slaves for no money in those conditions. It is just deplorable!

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...


Common wisdom from the NYT comments:

1)It's obviously Trump's fault.
2)China is leading the world in green technology.
3)This is what happens where government regulation doesn't exit (in China, no less)

tcrosse said...

I blame George W. Bush.

Big Mike said...

Float a rumor that high levels of smog lead to erectile dysfunction and impotency in men. See how fast the air gets cleaned up!!!

MayBee said...

I have seen the dome of pollution around Shenzhen and it is horrible. Or at least it was about 10 years ago when I was last there.

Dennis said...

Fritz Lang's Metropolis!

Earnest Prole said...

Air pollution so bad it could turn even a Republican into an environmentalist.

Hagar said...

China is having its gilded age, and like everything else in China, they do not do it by halves!

The Chinese government should forget about the AGW nonsense, but needs to get seriously to deliver for its people on eliminating, or at least alleviating, pollution.
Pollution is real; you can see it and touch it, and you can do something about it.

rehajm said...

Officials declared a red alert for the city...

Heh.

rebel deuce said...

Paris has the same problem now. Many days are so bad they have even and odd license plate days, in order to legally drive in the city. With huge fines for those who ignore the law.

Luckily, like most cities of millions, they have a good bus system.

Unknown said...

Gosh darn it, if only China had a powerful government willing to clamp down on all those evil Capitalist.... wait.

It's widely known that Soviet era Russia destroyed Mother Earth. Why do environmentalists pine for all powerful government so much? They are the worst polluters of all.

--Vance

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Uh, pretty sure this is #FakeNews. Thomas Friedman has amply documented the many ways China's benign totalitarian government, with its commitment to enlightened/progressive environmental policy, is superior to our own shabby system of government. Scenes of horrible pollution--worse than anything one sees in the backward, denialist, outdated USA--can't represent the true modern China.

Propaganda. Probably created, or put out, or at least pushed by Russia. Maybe something was hacked, I don't know.

Original Mike said...

Surely we could spare a few EPA guys to help them out.

boycat said...

Back in the 50s smog in LA was about that bad.

John Lynch said...

Richard Nixon, environmental hero.

stever said...

The simple basic air pollution control measures that were put in place in the U.S. 40 years ago, were generally effective. Although EPA has been continuously ramping up regulations and control, there is no mystery on what is needed to alleviate this problem.

Communist counties have no mechanism to enforce change and European countries pride themselves on regulations but have no stomach for enforcement. Two sides of the same coin.

Steve Uhr said...

Clearly the only way to compete with China is to give tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry, bring back coal-mining jobs, and eviscerate environmental regulations. Now who can do all that?

Fred Drinkwater said...

last year I connected with a startup who had a sensor attachment for smartphones that could generate city air quality maps in real time,sort of like google traFfic. they were from PRC,and their obvious market was big Chinese cities.however they were starting in Europe because air quality data could be a state secret in PRC,and they were not interested in being arrested.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Blogger HoodlumDoodlum said...
Maybe something was hacked, I don't know.

After extensive research we have determined it was the Russians. Swearsies!
--Crowdstrike

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

The real reason rich Chinese send their kids to school in the U.S.

Jeff Brokaw said...

It's a damn good thing we have our own atmosphere. It would suck if it was shared, and the pollution China pumps into it was somehow dispersed all over, beyond their borders!

n.n said...

Not environmentalism. Not shifting, obfuscating ecological disruption. They need rational and reasonable people to implement known technological and policy controls.

Lyin'PB_Ombudsman said...

Seattle is a 29 today.

jacksonjay said...

Barack Obama and Tom Friedman are jealous.

Larry J said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...
I can't say I was surprised by the pollution. I've lived and worked in Eastern Europe and the pollution of the land, water and air is horrible. I'd blame corporations but they were outlawed by the communist governments. So I guess I just have to blame bad luck.


I can't begin to guess the number of times I've heard some egghead say that protecting the environment is only possible in a socialist/communist country. The ignorance of communism's actual environmental track record is staggering.

readering said...

The thing that amazes me is that the Chinese leadership is based in Beijing. They could stop this madness for their own health but fail to do so. Admittedly, being downwind of the Gobi Desert complicates things.

Darrell said...

China is the biggest proponent of global warming bullshit now, even issuing threats to other countries.

Lyin'PB_Ombudsman said...

"The ignorance of socialism's actual environmental track record is staggering."

Canadians and Danes are dirty.

Everybody knows that.

Hagar said...

Clearly the only way to compete with China is to give tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry, bring back coal-mining jobs, and eviscerate environmental regulations. Now, who can do all that?

US environmental regulations have mostly been, and are, promoted and carried out by the anti-human gentry left. It is questionable how effective this has been as far as pollution goes, but it certainly has made life more difficult and expensive for us all - perhaps especially the poor.

The left claims emmission testing has cleaned our cities' air, which seems odd to me. In the beginning, testing may have caught a bunch of polluting old cars and got them off the road, and testing certainly encouraged the automakers to speed up the change to the Japanese way of making cars, but from then on I think the economics of the auto industry has had more to do with it.
So, why are we still doing the testing? Are there any cars that fail the tests any more?

As for coal - a cheap source of energy that the U.S. has in abundance - is the right way to shut down the coal industry, or to work on reducing or eliminating the harmful emissions?
I think a lot of the technology already exist, and we surely could improve on it further.

roesch/voltaire said...

Now we know why China is the source of all this global warming propaganda. Would suggest The Perfect Dictatorship by Stein Ringen to get an idea of China's future.

FullMoon said...

Yah, back when we had all that pollution, there was no childhood obesity problem. Cleaned the air, and everybody got fat. The law of unintended consequences.

FullMoon said...

Steve Uhr said...

Clearly the only way to compete with China is to give tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry, bring back coal-mining jobs, and eviscerate environmental regulations.


Brilliant ! Put a lot of thought into that, did you?
Surely you have no problem removing obstructive restrictions from nuclear?

rhhardin said...

It doesn't look like pollution, just fog.

The existence of fog though means that there's a temperature inversion and that will raise pollution in time, if there are sources around.

Steve Uhr said...

Rhhardin -- What would pollution look like?

rhhardin said...

There's no reason pollution would blow in suddenly. Fog can well do that.

Steve Uhr said...

FullMoon -- what "obstructive restrictions" are you referring to? If you can, be specific. I'm sure you don't want a Fukushima in your backyard.

Steve Uhr said...

rhhardin -- You said it "doesn't look like pollution." Now you are saying that pollution and fog look alike? Which is it?

Luke Lea said...

Looks more like a sand storm to me. Loess anyone?

rhhardin said...

It doesn't look like pollution because pollution doesn't blow in suddenly.

matthew said...

The smog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

buwaya said...

"Looks more like a sand storm to me. Loess anyone?"

Exactly right. Dust storms are an ancient problem in Beijing/Peking.

buwaya said...

"Clearly the only way to compete with China is to give tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry, bring back coal-mining jobs, and eviscerate environmental regulations. Now who can do all that?"

As usual with regulation, the first, less onerous bits are by far the most important and effective, its the piling on into our modern state of absurdity that not only does the bulk of the economic damage but is near-useless in improving anything. On air pollution its not just an 80/20 rule but more a 90/10 rule - 90% of the pain comes from trying to fix the last 10%.

Jay Elink said...

readering said...
The thing that amazes me is that the Chinese leadership is based in Beijing. They could stop this madness for their own health but fail to do so. Admittedly, being downwind of the Gobi ****************

Thirty years ago I experienced the same levels of pollution in New Delhi.

Our taxi driver said that nothing would be done until "the children of the politicians start dropping dead".

But if the ChiCom leadership are sending their kids overseas, they can let the ordinary people bear the brunt --- and since when do communists give a crap about ordinary people?

Hell, you'd think they were American Democrats, or something....

FullMoon said...

Steve Uhr said...

FullMoon -- what "obstructive restrictions" are you referring to? If you can, be specific. I'm sure you don't want a Fukushima in your backyard.


Hahahaha/ That was unexpected. You left out Chernobyl and Three mile island.

JaimeRoberto said...

It looks like a dust storm I saw in Budapest about 20 years ago. At first I thought the pollution was really bad and the streets were remarkably dusty. Then I put 2 and 2 together.

Tank said...

Why doesn't China just steal our clean coal technology along with all the other technology they've pirated?

Steve Uhr said...

FullMoon -- Also highly unexpected that you can't identify even one regulation related to nuclear power that should be eliminated.

buwaya said...

"FullMoon -- Also highly unexpected that you can't identify even one regulation related to nuclear power that should be eliminated."

Its not just one, but thousands, and thats just operational overhead.
Staffing at a nuke plant is @15X for a modern thermal plant of similar capacity just because of hundreds of compliance and reporting tasks, and much more during refueling.

Licensing processes are lengthy and labor intensive with truckloads of documentation and hundreds of review stages.

FullMoon said...

Steve Uhr said... [hush]​[hide comment]

FullMoon -- Also highly unexpected that you can't identify even one regulation related to nuclear power that should be eliminated.

LINK You do it, I am busy -

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Why doesn't China just steal our clean coal technology along with all the other technology they've pirated?

Because it would cost them money and jobs. It's much easier for them to sit back and let us destroy our own economy with ever increasing/expensive regulation.

Steve Uhr said...

Buwaya -- Okay, so there are thousands of regulations/requirements that should be eliminated and you can't specify even one. Got it.

MadisonMan said...

It doesn't look like pollution because pollution doesn't blow in suddenly.

And yet every measure of pollution (pM2.5, for example) spiked up as visibilities lowered. (Link)

Conclusion: Pollution can advect.

Steve Uhr said...

FullMoon. Thanks for the link. I now understand that you want to eliminate:

the identification of a demonstrable technology or a means for high level waste disposal or reprocessing (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Oregon, West Virginia and Wisconsin);

approval by the state Commissioner of Environmental Protection finding that the proposed method for disposal of radioactive waste material to be produced or generated by the facility will be safe (New Jersey);

Let's just agree to disagree.

FullMoon said...


Blogger Steve Uhr said...

Buwaya -- Okay, so there are thousands of regulations/requirements that should be eliminated and you can't specify even one. Got it.


No, Steve, all those regulations are needed....because?

Fabi said...

A churlish argument from Steve Uhr. Do you really believe that there aren't tens or hundreds or thousands of regulations that can't be reduced or eliminated? And you expect a commenter to have a list of nuclear regulations at the ready to answer your bullshit request? Lulz

FullMoon said...

Steve Uhr said...

FullMoon. Thanks for the link. I now understand that you want to eliminate:

the identification of a demonstrable technology or a means for high level waste disposal or reprocessing (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Oregon, West Virginia and Wisconsin);

approval by the state Commissioner of Environmental Protection finding that the proposed method for disposal of radioactive waste material to be produced or generated by the facility will be safe (New Jersey);


Myth # 5: There is no solution for huge amounts of nuclear waste being generated.

Truth: All of the used nuclear fuel generated in every nuclear plant in the past 50 years would fill a football field to a depth of less than 10 yards, and 96 % of this "waste" can be recycled. Used fuel is currently being safely stored. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the equivalent scientific advisory panels in every major country support geological disposal of such wastes as the preferred safe method for their ultimate disposal.

Alex said...

China's investment in green energy puts the US to shame.

FullMoon said...

Alex said...

China's investment in green energy puts the US to shame.

1/5/17, 3:03 PM

Really? How?

David Begley said...

Why don't the Greens and Progressives do something about real air pollution in China instead of carbon dioxide in the US?

buwaya said...

"Buwaya -- Okay, so there are thousands of regulations/requirements that should be eliminated and you can't specify even one. Got it."

I could, but it would mean nothing to you or anyone else not a specialist, and these things are like blades of grass.

Just a small section of the blades of grass -
from NRC very high level overview of the new reactor licensing process -
https://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/regs-guides-comm.html#erp
"Currently, the NRC staff estimates that the environmental review process will take approximately 24 months.'
Note: they handle VERY few new reactor applications these days, and yet they take 24 months for a critical path process. This is simply absurd, they are dealing with standard LWR tech thats been same-same for 30 years.

Steve Uhr said...

FullMoon - I never said there is no way to safely store nuclear waste. I'm not against nuclear power. It is a clean form of energy. It also poses risks of great harm.

FullMoon said...

Steve Uhr said...

FullMoon - I never said there is no way to safely store nuclear waste. I'm not against nuclear power. It is a clean form of energy. It also poses risks of great harm.



Myth # 4: Nuclear energy is not safe.

Truth: Nuclear energy is as safe or safer than any other form of energy available. No member of the public has ever been injured or killed in the entire 50-year history of commercial nuclear power in the U.S. In fact, recent studies have shown that it is safer to work in a nuclear power plant than an office .

tim in vermont said...

The same people defending regulations wonder why college is so expensive when colleges and universities are forced to hire huge numbers of administrative employees to oversee compliance.

How much of your student loan money was wasted on Title IX? Just keep paying and shut up!

Original Mike said...

The primary difficulty with the disposal of high level nuclear waste just retired. Let's get on with it.

Alex said...

China's clean energy investments show big strides

China making US look like a bunch of Luddites.

FullMoon said...

Alex said...

China's clean energy investments show big strides

China making US look like a bunch of Luddites.


Outside of hydro, wind is the biggest clean-energy source of electricity in China. And yet coal remains dominant. The most-polluting fossil fuel accounts for 61 percent of China’s electricity generation, followed by hydro at 21 percent and wind at 8 percent.

USA coal accounts for 33%, much better than China. Hydro looks pretty good, too bad we cannot build new facilities because-dams are not environmentally friendly

gadfly said...

Obviously, the problem is caused by carbon dioxide. People and animals just have to stop exhaling! Combustion to heat homes has to cease! Cold weather is not an excuse.

FullMoon said...

Alex said...

China's clean energy investments show big strides

China making US look like a bunch of Luddites.

"China's National Development and Reform Commission has indicated the intention to raise the percentage of China's electricity produced by nuclear power from the current 2% to 6% by 2020 (compared to 20% in the United States and 74% in France)"

Hmmm, looks like good ol' US of A wins big here also, in spite of no hampering restrictions at all
in China.

buwaya said...

"China's clean energy investments show big strides"

nuke/hydro "traditional" energy is the bulk of their "clean" stuff.
As usual in these deceptive reports they count wind as the only significant non-trad component, at rated capacity not actual generation (see numerous back stories on how to rate wind cap).

The truth here is that "clean energy" is an expensive token even in China.

They will do the most and spend the least to clean up by installing simple smokestack scrubbers on their coal plants, which they have neglected to do as I understand it, 1970's tech, which are very effective at removing particulates and the worst stuff like SO2 and Nitrogen Oxides.

Hagar said...

What is actually so environmentally unfriendly about dams?

Matthew Sablan said...

"What is actually so environmentally unfriendly about dams?"

-- They are incredibly useful to humans, but there's no doubt that stopping a river and radically altering water flows is disruptive to the natural environment. Whether that is a cost worth paying for what humans get out of it is a debate that requires a lot more threading of needles than I think is possible here, but if by "environmentally unfriendly" we're just talking about footprints/impact, then I'd accept that statement as true. The question is "is it worth it?"

buwaya said...

The biggest deal as far as pollution removal in the US is the expansion of natural gas usage, for power gen and all sorts of heating applications.
And that happened entirely outside of "environmental" regulation, in fact it had to be fought through bitter resistance, over and over again.

Its been quite amazing, the revelation of the "environmental" movements nature. They absolutely hated an unmitigated IMPROVEMENT to air quality, transport risks, contamination risks, etc., all economically justifiable and not requiring a regulatory goad. Its clear that what they are really objecting to is energy use, to production, progress, technology (genuine technology) and engineering. Or rather, people in general. These are sick, demented creatures.

n.n said...

if by "environmentally unfriendly" we're just talking about footprints/impact

This is a critical factor in dispelling the green, clean myth of low-density energy converters. From an environmentalist perspective, large-scale wind and solar products are highly disruptive. That said, the critical issue is that positive and negative propaganda raises the barrier to assessing technology on its merits in context, which increases the risk of catastrophic misalignment.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"So, why are we still doing the testing? Are there any cars that fail the tests any more?"

Interestingly enough, the answer to the first question is the same as the answer to Why doesn't China do x as voiced by a foreigner. More interesting than that though, is the answer to the second question is the same as the answer to the question Are there any major Chinese cities that pass the tests any more.

Why doesn't anyone think and comment "hey the Chinese have a lot of people, each and every one with unique reasons as to why things are they way they are and not different."

Perhaps some are more concerned with solar cancer formation than smog. Others are paid to keep things the way they are, and the reason the pay is worth the cost it entails, opportunity costs included, are unique to that person.

What will you people say if it is discovered the current policies and their resultant effects prevented WWIII? Nothing. You didn't take into account why things are the way they are now, and you won't in the future. You just know you are reasonable and ecologically altruistic and those darn Chinese aren't currently with regards to smog.

Guildofcannonballs said...

All can be summarized by Bon Jovi:

They say that no man is an island,
and good things come to those who wait.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"And you expect a commenter to have a list of nuclear regulations at the ready to answer your bullshit request? Lulz"

He expects commenters to forgo the value of the best alternative use of their time by responding.

He was, is, and will be correct.

Logically it doesn't improve his lot to our knowledge, but humans aren't logical. More like crabs in a bucket mostly.

Guildofcannonballs said...

"Why don't the Greens and Progressives do something about real air pollution in China instead of carbon dioxide in the US?"

Why do some eat in abundance whilst others starve?

Guildofcannonballs said...

"This is simply absurd, they are dealing with standard LWR tech thats been same-same for 30 years."

It is more absurd to expect bureaucrat team members to help the other teams. Because the GOP politicians and voters tend to think of themselves as above any type of tribal or national unity they much more often than prog pols and somewhat more often than prog subjects end up helping the other teams, the GOPers being totally dedicated to One's Own Truth and The Greatest System of anything anywhere ever on Earth, which is the many varied ways things were back when.

Lawyers explain, to themselves first, building regulatory sand castles with thimbles is not only proper, but indeed the only proper way to build, even though, yes yes, the inefficiency isn't clear to the ignorant, unwashed.

That's it. Just simple self-interest masquerading as other than wasteful greed, with great success for them.

rebel deuce said...

Hagar said...What is actually so environmentally unfriendly about dams?

I think, as would be obvious, it would be that the fish could no longer reach their spawning grounds, and after a generation, the fish disappear, and only the hatchery fish remain.

I don't know if you've caught hatchery fish before, but they don't fight, and they don't taste as good as wild fish. A wild fish will bend your rod and fight you even when you pull it out of the water. You might even have to club the bastard.

In the west, you are supposed to throw the wild fish back, and only keep the hatchery fish. They cut the bottom fin off the hatchery fish as they are growing, so that's how you can tell.

They tore all the dams out of the Sandy River, and now salmon can swim unimpeded back to their spawning grounds. The dams were no longer useful, as designed.

GRW3 said...

I find it amusing that the Chinese had. "Red" alert…

Howard said...

Global Air Pollution
China has a better air pollution detection network than the west. Not only did the west export manufacturing jobs to China and south asia, we exported about 10-times the pollution (because we would have scrubbers).

LarsPorsena said...

All that pollution is caused by their manufacturing of solar panels and wind
Turbines for export to the U S.