Cleaning Chinese skies won’t be cheap

Air pollution in BeijingIf you like me you are wondering sometimes what it would cost China to clean its air, here is the answer, and it is quite astounding. To a Chinese official, it would cost a mere 5 trillion yuan, or around $820 billion ( around 600 billion euros).

For the capital city of Beijing alone, it would cost $163 billion as it ” plans to reduce its coal consumption to 10 million tons per year, down from the current 23 million tons “ as Time Magazine reported in a most interesting article.

Additionally, 1,200 polluting plants will be closed. Now the question is : what will happen to them, their production and their workers ? Simply relocating them won’t solve anything…

I guess this figure explains quite easily why China is working so hard on cutting its pollution. We have seen in previous articles that the country is investing massively in Energy efficiency, renewables and even nuclear : no option is left unused and this is good news.

Now, what if the price of this pollution was passed on the prices of the goods sold by China ? This would be a triple win as China, the Western world and the Environment would benefit.

  • China would cut its pollution without paying all those horrendous costs ;
  • The Western world would cut its consumption of unsustainable gizmos and gadgets ;
  • as a result, the Environment as a whole would benefit.

Perhaps the carbon tax to be enacted there in 2015 will do just that… It has to be hoped.

Photo credit : Flickr, ethnocentrics.

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