The environmental movement loves to pound the US for not signing the Kyoto Protocol and big business for putting profits ahead of a clean environment. Despite what various environmental groups and the msm would have you believe, in many important ways the environment in the US is actually improving. But China's hosting of this year's Olympics is taking the spotlight away from the US and calling attention to China's environmental problems. And they are massive.
BEIJING has unveiled drastic pollution measures for the Olympic Games, including a two-month freeze on all construction, in an admission that despite spending about $18.4 billion in the past decade to reduce smog, the capital's air quality remains a formidable challenge.
It comes as a University of California report to be published next month suggests that China's carbon dioxide emissions have been underestimated and China probably overtook the US as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2006-07, the BBC has reported.
All construction in Beijing must stop from July 20 to September 20 when both the Olympic and Paralympic Games will have finished. The unprecedented shutdown will leave Beijing eerily quiet.
Although all Olympic venues are virtually completed, other key projects such as the fast rail link between the new international airport and downtown, plus hundreds of other private and public building and infrastructure projects are still under way.
Another 19 heavy polluting industries, including steel and petrochemical plants, will have to slash emissions by a further 30 per cent or risk total closure. All quarrying, cement production, outdoor spray painting and other outdoor use of toxic solvents will be banned. Petrol stations, oil and gas tankers and oil depots that have not finished installing equipment to reduce petrol fumes will also be shut.
The situation is so extreme that it threatens to affect athlete's performances.
Some Olympic teams, including the US and Britain, have developed masks for their athletes to use. Others, including Australia, are conducting their pre-Games practice outside China and planning to fly to Beijing at the last possible moment to minimise exposure.While the current focus on China's environmental disaster revolves around the Olympics and Beijing, the problem is, of course far greater and goes well beyond Beijing. According to The Daily Green:
..China will have increased its CO2 output by 600 million metric tons in the first decade of the 21st Century. That is more than five-times as much carbon as participating nations have pledged to cut under the Kyoto Protocol. And several nations are not on pace to meet their targets.
The analysis lends credence to the Bush Administration's contention that any international framework for reducing pollution must include China and other rapidly developing nations.
The fact is that capitalist countries are far better stewards of the environment than are communist countries and developing nations as well. Capitalism provides incentives to keeping the environment clean as cleanliness increases efficiency and more efficient systems are more profitable systems.