Why Beijing’s Smog Will Only Grow Worse (For Now)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 7:02
Posted in category The Big Picture

This week’s smog may have been the ‘Worst’ smog ever to hit Beijing, but if China’s continues to follow its dream to become the world’s largest economy, it is only going to grow worse.

It will grow worse because when China looks to double its economy it going to require roughly 350% more energy.  Energy used to maintain industrial output, which has historically been the largest consumer of energy, but with 300-400m people moving to the city over the next 15 – 20 years, more and more of that energy will be required to maintain an urbanized population.

To put a few numbers to the above, when I went to Copenhagen in 2009 to participate in a pre-COP15 conference it was rumored that China would surpass the US as the 1 carbon emitter.  In the 5 years since that conference, China has almost doubled their carbon emissions.

So, IF China is going to double its GDP in 15 – 20 years, and IF China does not find a radically cleaner supply and/ or radically improve efficiency in distribution and usage, we are in for a 300%+ increase in TODAY’s carbon emissions.

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3 Responses to “Why Beijing’s Smog Will Only Grow Worse (For Now)”

  1. David says:

    January 15th, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    If it continues to grow worse, as the author suggests, it will drive foreigners from the country; increase the incidence of various cancers; cause birth defects of such an unimaginable scale, overwhelm the healthcare system; threaten food stocks, food supply, the water supply; the country will become less and less attractive for foreign investment.

    Who would want to risk posting executives to a country where the risk to their health would be enormous? Who would voluntarily live in such an environment? Let’s not forget the blow to in-bound tourism.

  2. sarah says:

    January 23rd, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I used to live in Beijing for years.
    The smog problem is not the first time and will definitely not the last one.
    Also, the problem may not only happened in Beijing, it may happens in many cities in China which using the same power system and high population,

    I think part of the smog is strengthened by the city’s energy system, as in winder, coal-fire warming system will produce a lot of polluted air to the sky.
    Plus the special landforms: Beijing is surrounded by mountains in 3 of 4 directions, which makes it even more harder to let the dust goes out by wind.

  3. Interesting What Happens When PMI hits 233 says:

    November 6th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    […] Did I mention that this is only going to get worse? […]