|Proceedings of a Symposium, Development, Security, and Cooperation Policy and Global Affairs, National Research Council of The National Academies, National Academy of Engineering of The National Academies, Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences|
Energy use and air pollution have been synonymous in China for decades, especially in urban areas. In rural areas, air pollution is also common because a significant amount of industry that is highly dependent on coal is located in the countryside. Fifteen or 20 years ago in China’s northern cities, such as Shenyang, air pollution was characterized by decreased visibility caused by high levels of particulates and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Although conditions have improved in modern cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, China still has three of the ten most polluted cities in the world and hundreds of cities that are not in compliance with the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines.
China is undergoing urbanization and industrial development on an unprecedented scale. More than 120 cities have populations of more than one million, and by the end of the twenty-first century, 10 to 20 cities will have populations of more than 10 million. Rapid urbanization will challenge governments at all levels, not only to provide basic services to growing urban populations, but also to modernize, to continue to develop economically, and to address environmental concerns, particularly air pollution, that result from rapid economic growth.
In October 2003, a group of experts met in Beijing under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, and National Academy of Engineering (NAE)/National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies to continue a dialogue and eventually chart a rational course of energy use in China. The importance of pollution abatement as part of an energy policy, a fairly recent idea in China, is already a major theme in national planning. In fact, in response to growing clamor for change by an increasingly.
This paper is available online at The National Academies Press