Going to Beijing? You’ll Find the City’s Cleanest Skies in a Decade

Aug 20, 2018

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Beijing’s notoriously smoggy atmosphere is the bluest it’s been in a decade, following a decisive push by the government to combat air pollution.

Data from July 2018 showed that pollution levels averaged 44 micrograms of airborne particles per cubic meter, the seventh lowest since recordings began in 2008. In stark comparison, particles peaked at 35 times the World Health Organization’s recommended limit during Beijing’s “airpocalypse” in 2013.

Records from the US embassy in Beijing showed that, out of the seven lowest monthly pollution readings since 2008, five of those days occurred after summer 2017, after Beijing and surrounding regions began enforcing coal burning restrictions more strictly than before. As a result of President Xi Jinping making air cleanliness a national top priority, millions of households and businesses have been forced to transition from coal to natural gas as a heat resource.

“China has made a very clear pledge to ‘bring back the blue skies’,” said Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “Hardly a week goes by when China doesn’t bring in a new regulation or policy to further this commitment.”

However, China’s clean air has come at a cost for the rest of the world, as its skyrocketing demand for natural gas has driven up the global price of liquefied natural gas prices significantly. Meanwhile, Chinese policymakers have taken aim at US LNG Imports, including the liquified natural gas resource on a list of goods that potentially will be charged a 25% duty in order to send a strong message to the Trump administration in the escalating international trade dispute.

Featured image by VCG/VCG via Getty Images.

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