Sustained economic growth and the most significant rate of urbanization ever have transformed China in just a few decades. China’s economic growth differs from that of the USA or Europe, as China has grown during a period when the science and public health data about air pollutants and their effects are robust. With nearly every city in China exceeding public health standards for many air pollutants, aggressive actions are needed to reduce pollution. While Beijing citizens’ use of US Embassy air quality data was a cause célèbre during the fall of 2011, China has announced plans to require major cities to substantially improve air quality by 2015. These plans now apply to areas covering more than half of China’s population and more than half of the GDP, require reductions of multiple pollutants at the same time, and require a restructuring of the energy sector. What does China’s attention to air pollution mean for its economic development? What can the US or Europe learn from China’s focus on environmental problems? Senior associate Chris James tackled these questions in a guest lecture at Wesleyan University for students, faculty, and the general public on October 25th, 2012. View Chris’ lecture on China’s plans to improve air quality.

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