China’s pollution problem

China, one of the worlds largest industrial powers, is now facing a difficult situation. China’s industries rely largely on coal power which emits harmful gases, causing intense air pollution. The Chinese government, in fear that the country would fall in a recession, has not done much to stop these industries, so China has become the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world. The types of pollution created by this include air pollution and water pollution, both of which are harmful to people and wildlife.

China’s problem has become the world’s problem. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides disgorged by coal-fired power plants fall as acid rain on Seoul and Tokyo, and much of the particulate pollution in Los Angeles comes from China. Due to China’s modernization and economic development, the country is now struggling to fix a burdensome pollution problem.

Over recent years, China’s economy has been rapidly growing, and it has done wonders for the country, as described by the CIA Factbook. China has become much more modernized and industrialized, and it has turned into the world’s second largest economy, which is quite remarkble in comparison to what the country was like a mere thirty to forty years ago. But there are side effects to its success.

As the CIA Factbook puts it, “Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table - is a long-term problem”, yet the Chinese government is still concentrating on energy development and production. No country in history has ever come out as a large industrial power without causing a signifigant amount of damage to the enviroment that takes decades and large amounts of public wealth to fix. So just as the speed and scale of China’s growth has no parallel in the past, the pollution the country has created has exceeded all precedents.

China relies on coal power for approximately 70-80% of its energy, and from this reliance comes a lot of air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates). China’s pollution problem was created as a result of these things.

The pollution cause by China’s modernization and industrialization has caused harm not only to the enviroment but to the people of China as well. [insert evidence] There are 300 cases of various cancers in every 100,000 Shanghai residents, said a recent report from the Shanghai Centre of Disease Control and Prevention. Lung cancer is the number one killer in cities, with the World Health Organization estimating that lung cancer in all of China may reach 1 million cases annually by 2025.

This is largely the result of heavy air pollution and smoking. Wildlife has also been severely impacted, especially with water pollution. The number of animal species in the Yangtze fell from 126 in the mid-1980s to 52 in 2002. The Yangtze might be dead in a few years. Likewise, billions of tons of wastewater flow into the second longest river in China, the Yellow River, and that sewage may be as much as a tenth of its volume.

The Yellow River has lost a third of fish species and about 70% of its length is considered unfit for drinking or swimming in. Yet, depite this, it provides water for 150 million people and irrigates 15% of China’s land. Also, about 75% of China’s lakes are highly polluted. More than 60% of its large lakes are eutrophic, and suffer algal blooms that kill fish, make water undrinkable and sometimes have sickening odors. Polluted China rivers threaten a sixth of the country’s population, or over 220 million people. Overall, pollution caused by Chinas rapid growth has harmed not only the enviroment but the people and wildlife in the process as well.

China has not left its pollution problem alone. According to the New York Times, “China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year. China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants.” As China made great efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies, it has the advantage of being the world’s largest market for power equipment.

The government spends heavily to upgrade the electricity grid, committing $45 billion in 2009 alone and state-owned banks provide generous financing. China’s commitment to renewable energy is expensive. Although costs are falling steeply through mass production, wind energy is still 20 to 40 percent more expensive than coal-fired power and solar power is still at least twice as expensive as coal. The Chinese government charges a renewable energy fee to all electricity users and the fee increases residential electricity bills by 0.25 percent to 0.4 percent, but for industrial users of electricity, the fee doubled in November, 2010, to roughly 0.8 percent of the electricity bill.

The fee revenue goes to companies that operate the electricity grid, to make up the cost difference between renewable energy and coal-fired power. Renewable energy fees are not yet high enough to affect China’s competitiveness even in energy-intensive industries, said the chairman of a Chinese industrial company, who asked not to be identified because of the political sensitivity of electricity rates in China.

Grid operators are unhappy because they are reimbursed for the extra cost of buying renewable energy instead of coal-fired power, but not for the formidable cost of building power lines to wind turbines and other renewable energy producers, many of them in remote, windswept areas. Transmission losses are high for sending power over long distances to cities, and nearly a third of China’s wind turbines are not yet connected to the national grid.

Most of these turbines were built only in the last year, however, and grid construction has not caught up. Under legislation passed by the Chinese legislature on December 26, 2010, a grid operator that does not connect a renewable energy operation to the grid must pay that operation twice the value of the electricity that cannot be distributed. China intends for wind, solar and biomass energy to represent 8 percent of its electricity generation capacity by 2020.

As a result of modernization, industrialization, and economic development, China is now facing the deleterious effects these things have caused for the country’s enviroment. Though China’s development has been a very good thing overall for the country, it has caused pollution that is not only harmful to the enviroment but to people and wildlife as well. China is struggling to fix this issue, spending generous amounts of money to develop more and more renewable technologies. It is still unknown when China can finally end its predicament, stopping pollution or at least cleaning up most of it.

China’s Pollution Problem

China, one of the worlds largest industrial powers, is now facing a difficult situation. China’s industries rely largely on coal power which emits harmful gases, causing intense air pollution. The Chinese government, in fear that the country would fall in a recession, has not done much to stop these industries, so China has become the second largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

The types of pollution created by this include air pollution and water pollution, both of which are harmful to people and wildlife. China’s problem has become the world’s problem. Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides disgorged by coal-fired power plants fall as acid rain on Seoul and Tokyo, and much of the particulate pollution in Los Angeles comes from China. Due to China’s modernization and economic development, the country is now struggling to fix a burdensome pollution problem.

Over recent years, China’s economy has been rapidly growing, and it has done wonders for the country, as described by the CIA Factbook. China has become much more modernized and industrialized, and it has turned into the world’s second largest economy, which is quite remarkble in comparison to what the country was like a mere thirty to forty years ago. But there are side effects to its success. As the CIA Factbook puts it, “Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table - is a long-term problem”, yet the Chinese government is still concentrating on energy development and production.

No country in history has ever come out as a large industrial power without causing a signifigant amount of damage to the enviroment that takes decades and large amounts of public wealth to fix. So just as the speed and scale of China’s growth has no parallel in the past, the pollution the country has created has exceeded all precedents. China relies on coal power for approximately 70-80% of its energy, and from this reliance comes a lot of air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates). China’s pollution problem was created as a result of these things.

The pollution cause by China’s modernization and industrialization has caused harm not only to the enviroment but to the people of China as well. [insert evidence] There are 300 cases of various cancers in every 100,000 Shanghai residents, said a recent report from the Shanghai Centre of Disease Control and Prevention.

Lung cancer is the number one killer in cities, with the World Health Organization estimating that lung cancer in all of China may reach 1 million cases annually by 2025. This is largely the result of heavy air pollution and smoking. Wildlife has also been severely impacted, especially with water pollution. The number of animal species in the Yangtze fell from 126 in the mid-1980s to 52 in 2002. The Yangtze might be dead in a few years. Likewise, billions of tons of wastewater flow into the second longest river in China, the Yellow River, and that sewage may be as much as a tenth of its volume.

The Yellow River has lost a third of fish species and about 70% of its length is considered unfit for drinking or swimming in. Yet, depite this, it provides water for 150 million people and irrigates 15% of China’s land. Also, about 75% of China’s lakes are highly polluted. More than 60% of its large lakes are eutrophic, and suffer algal blooms that kill fish, make water undrinkable and sometimes have sickening odors. Polluted China rivers threaten a sixth of the country’s population, or over 220 million people. Overall, pollution caused by Chinas rapid growth has harmed not only the enviroment but the people and wildlife in the process as well.

China has not left its pollution problem alone. According to the New York Times, “China vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year. China has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants.” As China made great efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies, it has the advantage of being the world’s largest market for power equipment.

The government spends heavily to upgrade the electricity grid, committing $45 billion in 2009 alone and state-owned banks provide generous financing. China’s commitment to renewable energy is expensive. Although costs are falling steeply through mass production, wind energy is still 20 to 40 percent more expensive than coal-fired power and solar power is still at least twice as expensive as coal. The Chinese government charges a renewable energy fee to all electricity users and the fee increases residential electricity bills by 0.25 percent to 0.4 percent, but for industrial users of electricity, the fee doubled in November, 2010, to roughly 0.8 percent of the electricity bill.

The fee revenue goes to companies that operate the electricity grid, to make up the cost difference between renewable energy and coal-fired power. Renewable energy fees are not yet high enough to affect China’s competitiveness even in energy-intensive industries, said the chairman of a Chinese industrial company, who asked not to be identified because of the political sensitivity of electricity rates in China. Grid operators are unhappy because they are reimbursed for the extra cost of buying renewable energy instead of coal-fired power, but not for the formidable cost of building power lines to wind turbines and other renewable energy producers, many of them in remote, windswept areas.

Transmission losses are high for sending power over long distances to cities, and nearly a third of China’s wind turbines are not yet connected to the national grid. Most of these turbines were built only in the last year, however, and grid construction has not caught up. Under legislation passed by the Chinese legislature on December 26, 2010, a grid operator that does not connect a renewable energy operation to the grid must pay that operation twice the value of the electricity that cannot be distributed. China intends for wind, solar and biomass energy to represent 8 percent of its electricity generation capacity by 2020.

As a result of modernization, industrialization, and economic development, China is now facing the deleterious effects these things have caused for the country’s enviroment. Though China’s development has been a very good thing overall for the country, it has caused pollution that is not only harmful to the enviroment but to people and wildlife as well. China is struggling to fix this issue, spending generous amounts of money to develop more and more renewable technologies. It is still unknown when China can finally end its predicament, stopping pollution or at least cleaning up most of it.