China

China Smog Spike Blamed on Post-Covid Push, Warm Weather

 

China’s government has admitted that the country’s post-Covid industrial push is to blame for a spike in air pollution.

Rising industrial output and the pursuit of economic growth in some regions has caused a jump in emissions, said Liu Bingjiang, director of the department in charge of air pollution at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), who also added that unusually warm weather was part of the problem too.

The consumption of gasoline and diesel had also returned to normal levels after China scrapped its “zero-Covid” restrictions at the end of last year, he said.

“This is where the problem lies – how to coordinate between economic development and environmental protection,” he said.

 

Also on AF: China EV Giant BYD Records 11-Fold Q4 Profit Jump

 

Liu said some regions had been pursuing high-polluting industrial projects in order to push economic growth, driving up pollution.

But unfavourable weather contributed to the smog, with temperatures hitting record highs for the time of year in some parts of the north, making it harder for pollution to disperse.

The lack of cold air contributed to smoggy weather in the north in early March, he said. Cold fronts from Siberia usually help to blow away the pollution.

In the first two months of the year, average concentrations of hazardous airborne particles known PM2.5, caused mainly by burning fossil fuels, rose 8.5% to 51 micrograms per cubic metre, according to data released by MEE in March.

The World Health Organisation recommends levels of no more than 5 micrograms.

Earlier in March, two sources told Reuters that China was considering cutting crude steel output by about 2.5% this year while extending a two-year policy to cut emissions in the world’s largest steel industry to meet its target to cut carbon emissions.

Air pollution was worsened by sandstorms in March. Liu said the number of sandstorms was now four times higher than in the 1960s, a consequence of rising temperatures and lower precipitation in the deserts of north China and neighbouring Mongolia.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara

 

Read more:

Warren Buffett-backed BYD Plunges on Pollution Probe

13 Chinese Cities Issue Smog Alerts as Factory Output Climbs

Mega Methane Leaks Risking Climate Disaster – Guardian

 

 

Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

Recent Posts

Bitcoin Comeback Sees Market Worth $1 Trillion Again

The globe’s biggest crypto coin has soared 22% in value this year after the US…

17 hours ago

China’s Free Trade Olive Branch to EU Amid Subsidy Probes

Beijing’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the EU and China could avoid confrontation through cooperation

18 hours ago

Curbs on ASML ‘to Stop Use of Advanced Chips by China Military’

ASML tools are used to make advanced semiconductors that can go into "high-value weapons systems…

20 hours ago

Chinese Rocket Failure Opened Door for SpaceX in Indonesia

The failure of a Chinese rocket launch in April 2020 gave Elon Musk's SpaceX the…

20 hours ago

Fake Chinese Accounts Flourish on X, Analysis Shows – WaPo

Researchers say Chinese propaganda "has increasingly sought to stoke existing US divisions in the same…

21 hours ago

Hang Seng Lifted by Rate Cut, Nikkei Dips on Tech Worries

China’s markets were slow to react to its biggest ever mortgage rate cut while Tokyo’s…

22 hours ago