The air is so bad in China that that its capitol of Beijing is creating a police force to deal with the pollution. It will try and tackle such things as open-air barbecues and garbage incineration, say news reports, with the aim of penalizing what the story calls “persistent polluters.”
“These acts of non-compliance with regulations are actually the result of lax supervision and weak law enforcement,” Cai Qi told a government meeting, as quoted in Reuters, which referenced the Xinhua news agency. It’s been a nearly three-year war on pollution there with many people forced to stay indoors as a result of unhealthy air, it continues.
The smog has covered cities while disrupting airline flights and seaport operations, it continues. While the government relies heavily on coal as a power source, it is still trying to transition to cleaner fuels. The reasons are that it needs to clean its cities while complying with the Paris climate accord to which it has committed.
To that end, the Chinese government has availed its court system to tackling excessive pollution limits. The Reuters story, though, says that enforcement remains a challenge.
“They needed 20-40 years to solve it. I believe we will do it faster than they did,” says Reuters, which quotes a Chinese source in its report.
China relies largely on coal to power its economy. But domestic and global environmental pressures are forcing it to look at other options that include nuclear energy and hydro-power. To get there, it needs a heck of a lot more foreign participation. By its own standards, China needs to attract $200 billion in private capital by 2030, and will require trillions overall in 20 years, says the International Energy Agency.
The United States and China, together, produce about 42 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. In this country, totals are falling because of the coal-to-gas transition. But in China, they are rising, largely because it is building one coal generator a month. Still, last week the country said it would invest $361 billion into renewable power generation by 2020, says the Reuters report.