Chapter 17: Local health and the global environment: an integrated assessment of air pollution control in China
Chao Yang Peng* INTRODUCTION Rapid economic growth in China poses a great environmental challenge. The increase in energy consumption, particularly the dominance of coal in China’s fossil fuels, has resulted in severe environmental degradation. It has been estimated that China incurred at least US$54 billion, equivalent to nearly 8 per cent of GDP, in damage in 1995 (World Bank 1997, p. 2). While the greatest source of such damage is urban air pollution, the environmental impact goes beyond China’s borders. Sulphur emissions from the combustion of coal, for example, cause acid rain, which falls in neighbouring countries and harms the ecosystems in the region. At the global level, emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels enhance the greenhouse effect and contribute to global warming. A wide range of abatement measures is available to tackle these environmental problems. Policy responses targeting each problem in isolation, however, can fall into the trap of a fragmented approach, with competing or inconsistent policies and attrition between agencies with different mandates. Local air pollution, for example, given its adverse health impact, should be given top priority in China. Locally motivated air quality programmes, such as one that promotes only the use of electrostatic precipitators, while effective in reducing particulate emissions, will have limited beneﬁts in terms of reducing acid rain and protecting the global climate. Measures targeting the sources of pollution, however, such as improving energy efﬁciency to reduce the use of fossil fuels, can achieve synergy in reducing...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.