Critical Levels of Air Pollution in China

In a recent article from Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek, The World Health Organization released a report that stated that 40% of the 7 million people killed by the effects of air pollution in 2012 lived in China.

As shocking and horrifying as this statistic is, it should come as no surprise. After all, China produces the world’s stuff. This requires massive amounts of energy, most of which is still produced from coal. China’s leaders vow to “declare war on smog” while coal plants continue to be built to guarantee economic expansion.

Overall, 3.7 million people died from outdoor air pollution in 2012 alone.

China Air Pollution

This is obviously not just China’s problem. We’re all in this together, especially as the world continues to get smaller and more interconnected. In this increasingly global society, everyone is responsible for everyone else’s pollution. Also, significant amounts of China’s pollution will find its way around the world as well.

Ironically, China has been a major producer of solar panels for years now. Apparently market conditions have not been favorable enough in China to prevent the majority of them from getting exported to other nations like the U.S.

I’m hopeful that the economics will start to make enough sense real soon to adopt solar on a massive scale. As of this post, solar power reached grid parity through much of Europe.

There is much that American can do to help spur solar power elsewhere around the world. We need to take the initiative and lead by example by installing as much solar and renewable energy as quickly as possible. It’s already starting to happen.

It’s just a shame that we had to wait this long.

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