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China Earth

Beijing Issues 'Red Alert' Over Smog (independent.co.uk) 145

An anonymous reader writes: The Chinese capital of Beijing has issued a "red alert" for air quality within the city, the first time the city has reached the level of caution where it's deemed "unhealthy" for all residents. Starting Tuesday morning, schools will be shut down, the production of smoke will be limited, and cars will be under an odd/even alternate day ban while the local government waits for air quality to improve. It's expected to last until mid-day on Thursday when the weather looks likely to blow it away. "Air pollution monitors showed that areas of Beijing had more than 256 micrograms per cubic metre of the poisonous particles. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that anything over 25 micrograms is considered unsafe. The poisonous smog in Beijing is caused by the burning of coal for industry and heating, as well as huge amounts of dust from the city's many construction sites. The problem is being made yet worse by high humidity and low wind." The city has been in bad shape for a while now, and Greenpeace called for this very measure a week ago.
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Beijing Issues 'Red Alert' Over Smog

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  • Just have a few red shirts die and sweep it under the rug.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @01:40PM (#51074033)

    "Red Alert"...commies...heh!

  • Race to the bottom (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @01:42PM (#51074045) Journal

    Let this be a reminder to those enamored with politicians who claim "we can compete with China by relaxing our regulations".

    I believe we should tariff goods from countries who don't adhere to basic labor, pollution, and safety standards.

    For those who claim that prevents such countries from "advancing", the country can instead encourage more local consumption. Asian countries have been slow to do this, largely because governments are afraid it will make their population pop-culture addicts, like those found in the USA. They don't like "work hard, play hard". They only want the first.

    But if you want the benefits of pop culture (sales & profits), you have to take the downsides also. We make it too easy for them to have the good sides of globalization without the bad. We should put our foot down. Why do we always trade on THEIR terms?

    • Should everyone else cut off all trading with the US too since Los Angeles has the very same issues?

    • Why do we always trade on THEIR terms?

      Don't try to apply popular values to psychopathic corporate/political leaders. They are playing an entirely different game. *There are no nations. There are no peoples...*

    • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

      But if you want the benefits of pop culture (sales & profits), you have to take the downsides also. We make it too easy for them to have the good sides of globalization without the bad. We should put our foot down. Why do we always trade on THEIR terms?

      How about I trade or don't trade with them on my terms, and you trade or don't trade with them on your terms? Sure we have the same rulers, but there's no real such thing as "we."

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        You mean individual-to-individual? That's pretty much what we got now, and it has lead to pollution, de-facto slaves, rust-belt job-loss violence, and a plutocracy (in the USA).

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        You don't own the earth, you don't get to screw it up just because you want to. Get your own planet and do what you want, or accept that it's a shared resource and we all have a say.

    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      Why do we always trade on THEIR terms?

      Because, at the end of the day, most people only care about getting what they want as cheaply as possible. And Congress supports this view with their trade agreements, because they are afraid of not getting re-elected. This is why illegal immigration is really a manufactured problem in the US as well. Companies want the cheap labor more than the government cares about people breaking their immigration laws.

      Realistically, even if everyone wanted to pay more for locally made goods, manufacturers would stil

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        Because, at the end of the day, most people only care about getting what they want as cheaply as possible.

        Not necessarily. Lopsided trade has been slipped in by the rich without asking, for the most part.

        Consumers may agree to tariffs, and higher prices, if "forced" to weigh it against the downsides such as pollution and inequality. When one is shopping, they are focused on shopping, not geopolitical issues.

      • expect more government regulation and better treatment.

        They may expect it, but it obviously isn't happening if you read even the headline of the summary. That's pretty crucial to quality of life.

    • by reanjr ( 588767 )

      You think American pop culture is worse than the air in China? Ok...

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )

      Let this be a reminder to those enamored with politicians who claim "we can compete with China by relaxing our regulations".

      Who are you quoting here? I can't remember, ever, hearing a politician say that.

    • Almost ALL of this is caused by coal burning, both in large electrical generation stations, and locally by individuals cooking and heating.

      China is at least building at an accelerated rate the largest number of nuclear reactors, and some of the most advanced ones at that, in a direct response, however it does take time. They are doing something about the situation, only they are a bit hogtied in the here in now.

      How many nuclear reactors are being built or are planning to be built in the US? How quickly is t

      • How quickly is the US realistically trying to get away from coal plants? I say realistically as a premeditated strike against the eventual posts that wind and solar will solve everything. The US corporations seem to have gone with natural gas as an alternative, with fracking, which has its own issues, but smog and clean air isn't really among them.

        Surely you jest. Coal is a dead man walking in the US. Even before Obama's recent draconian EPA policy, coal plants were closing en masse for several years now.

  • I remember cresting the grapevine highway going into the LA valley in the the back of my parent's car. Sometimes, the air was PURPLE!
    After the majority of it cars had catalytic converters, it greatly improved (although the air does sometimes have a kind of "gritty" feel to it even to this day.)

  • "Starting Tuesday morning, schools will be shut down, the production of smoke will be limited, and cars will be under an odd/even alternate day ban while the local government waits for air quality to improve"

    At which point, it is presumed, the entire system will go back to what it was doing before the red alert. That strikes me as counterproductive - as if maybe, next time, all that pollution won't lead to smog.

    • >> Is it just my observation, or are there way too many stupid people in the world?

      If you start every morning staring at yourself in the mirror like that, you may want to consult a therapist.

    • schools will be shut down

      "What is it, Ben?"
      "I felt a great swelling in the Force, as if millions of small, youthful beings held their breath, and suddenly cried out in joy. I fear something unusual has happened."

    • by reanjr ( 588767 )

      It's a practical, rather than ideological approach. Sometimes the weather conflates with pollution to make the situation worse. Sometimes, international event planning predicates a necessity to be extra clean on some particular date. This is when China intervenes. They are addressing practical problems without becoming ideologically driven about them. America has had some more years of political development for its leadership to realize the need for ideology to drive practical change. That's why we ha

      • One may generalize but there is progress made at political levels. It's often easier to make changes when everybody agrees. Events like this one in China as they occur more often will cause businesses and individuals to pressure governments for a solution. After all it's human nature. Look at how much pressure has been put to get pot legalized in the US and Canada and it's now happening.

        I haven't been on this earth for that long and I've seen significant progress in many areas including the closure of gas p

    • as if maybe, next time, all that pollution won't lead to smog.

      Yes well maybe it won't. The formation of smog in places like Beijing is highly dependent on the weather at the time. Let the dust settle, wait for a windy day and then start polluting again. Pollution levels in China are quite constant, but some days you have a beautiful clear day with good visibility, others you're not sure if it's sunny our cloudy and if you can see the sun it'll be a glowing deep red ball you can look at with the naked eye.

  • When a billion people die of congestive lung failure all around the same period. Of course, given our current state of continuous war, combined with a ever growing lack of resources, we should lose a billion even sooner after we have fished the oceans dry. You can't feed 8 Billion with a drought and empty oceans at the same time.

  • Red alert! Red alert! Shields up, ready photon torpedoes!
    • Now, I was thinking:

      "An ill wind comes arising
      Across the cities of the plain
      There's no swimming in the heavy water
      No singing in the acid rain
      Red alert
      Red alert"

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @02:10PM (#51074317) Homepage

    Was only on the way to HK, but the air quality was so bad even in the airport that my daughter (who has situational asthma) was coughing ceaselessly and we had to use her nebulizer while in the lounge - luckily we were only laying over for 3h.

    I had no interest in leaving the airport to visit the city proper even if I could.

  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @02:11PM (#51074321) Homepage
    Pollution has been around since the dawn of time.. This is just a naturally occurring cycle in our planets history, plus the data doesn't go back far enough to come to a conclusion. This is just a story by the main stream media to further the agenda of "Big Science".
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      Pollution has been around since the dawn of time.. This is just a naturally occurring cycle

      A Brontosaurus fart is equivalent to the exhaust of 500 SUV's ;-)

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Monday December 07, 2015 @02:12PM (#51074349)
    Probably caused by making all those solar panels for the western countries.
    • There's some truth to that, but more important is that a lot of heavy industry is now in China, More than half the world's cement and steel are made there. Almost all nuclear plants being built are there, I read once that half the building cranes are there. So yeah it's easy to have clean air here if you put the factories in China.

  • If you like "red alerts", get ready for the "the threat level is orange; the threat level has always been and will always be orange" 3.0: DHS just announced a new threat level alert system.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us... [nbcnews.com]

    • If you like "red alerts", get ready for the "the threat level is orange; the threat level has always been and will always be orange" 3.0: DHS just announced a new threat level alert system.

      http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us... [nbcnews.com]

      Odd, how I first read that as "theatre level alert system"

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      If you like "red alerts", get ready for the "the threat level is orange; the threat level has always been and will always be orange" 3.0: DHS just announced a new threat level alert system.

      http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us... [nbcnews.com]

      I still think the Ron White system is the most clearly articulated threat alert system. It consists of 2 levels: 1.(low level)Find a helmet; 2. (high level) Put on the damn helmet.

  • It's a total madhouse here! We're on red alert because of the smog. A klaxon keeps blaring, while red lights keep flashing at every street corner. In Tianamen Square, the large portrait of Mao Tse Tung, which has a speaker set behind the mouth for such occasions, keeps shouting out (translated from the Mandarin): "This is a red alert! This is a red alert! Stay in your homes! Stay in your homes! Long live the Glorious Revolution!"
  • Is this 'Red Alert' pre-beard or post-beard Riker?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Do you seriously think China listen to Greenpeace?

      Read this:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_in_China

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, 2015 @03:10PM (#51074887)

    It is the persistent anti-nuclear campaigning of Greenpeace and other "environmental" organizations which has left the world with a dwindling complement of 1950s era reactors, and prevented the development and adoption of better nuclear technologies. If they hadn't killed the first nuclear renaissance, the world would be off of coal by now. Places like France, Sweden, and Ontario have proven that nuclear can eliminate coal use while providing clean energy on a large scale, even with old technology. Even so, the limited amounts of conventional nuclear remaining are responsible for a large majority of the clean energy produced today.

    Meanwhile, those most vigorously pursuing Greenpeace's dear wind and solar have only demonstrated how ineffective those technologies are at displacing coal or other fossil fuels. Excepting the large contribution of biomass to renewable energy production reveals an even more hopeless situation. As if it weren't bad enough, the "green" solution to the intermittency of those technologies is to burn biomass or biofuels, which are worse yet than coal. At the end of the day, the rise of coal consumption continues unabated. Thanks!

    • Environmental groups may have influenced public opinion, but I don't think they have had a huge effect on actual policies which are basically set by the elites. I mean, seriously, look at the world. Does it resemble at all what environmentalists are asking for?

  • OHHH HEYY! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NetNed ( 955141 )
    Where are all those that kept saying China is leading the way in cleaning up pollution? These are the same people that doubted when I said by 9am there you can barely see across the street. GET OUT OF YOU BASEMENTS PALE WHITE VIRGINS!
    • Considering much of the manufacturing in China isn't for themselves it's hard to say whether or not their carbon footprint is larger than ours. I'm pretty sure the carbon footprint/capital is smaller in China than it is in North America but that's only because their population is poor and living in lower standards than ours.

      I think our rules and regulations are probably tighter than theirs but I'm honestly ill informed about China's pollution regulations.

  • "It's expected to last until mid-day on Thursday when the weather looks likely to blow it away." Just a reminder...when it comes to air pollution, there is no "away". It all stays here on planet earth, in the air we breathe all over the world. Just saying.
    • Particles do settle to the ground, get absorbed by the vegetation or ends up in our water. The issue is the same regardless. Airborne particles toxic or not are toxic when present in large enough volumes. There's two kids that died in Canada no long ago from exposure to dust from a type of grain. Just tells you how fragile the repertory system can be.

  • They are not serious about it.

    A red alert is never serious, unless there's also a "Bridge Lurch, left" accompanying it.

  • I have lived in Shenyang for about two years.

    I don't get this whole metric anymore, and the numbers seems to be either wrong or being manipulated, as well as their interpretation.
    The numbers and conclusions are not consistent with the past history. My Android App is currently showing 310 for Beijing, and 267 for Shenyang. On November 10 this year there was an article on BBC News http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/worl... [bbc.co.uk] claiming that the 1400 measured in Shenyang were the worst one ever. But to be honest, the Hallo

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