China Uncensored: Pollution Too Thick for Spy Cameras

November 11, 2013


Beijing is being gassed with “crazy bad” air pollution. Did I say air pollution? I meant to say, “heavy fog.” That’s what China’s media calls it. But don’t think that doesn’t mean the Chinese regime isn’t doing anything about it! The smog has made it next to impossible to spy on people! What good are China’s network of more than 20 million cameras if they can’t see through toxic clouds of smog that can be seen from outer space?!

Air pollution is now the number one cause of social instability and unrest in China. The video above discusses the how and why.
Despite the narrator’s description of top officials insulated lifestyles – there are still relatively fresh memories of what happens when “social instability” goes critical in China.

Don’t bet on the next 20 years being the same as the last 20.

18 Responses to “China Uncensored: Pollution Too Thick for Spy Cameras”

  1. […] Description: Beijing is being gassed with "crazy bad" air pollution. Did I say air pollution? I meant to say, "heavy fog." That's what China's media calls it. But don't think that doesn't mean the …  […]

  2. This is one reason why China has 30 nuclear plants under construction, and many more in the planning stages:  keep the lights on, but clear the air.

    The first AP-1000 reactors to go on line will do it in China in less than a year.  China’s construction schedule runs less than 4 years, and they’re good at it.

    • jimbills Says:

      It’ll make a barely noticeable dent:

      Nuclear will only power other pollutant industries. And coal consumption in China isn’t going away:

      Now, the EIA tends to extend short-term history into long-term analysis, but it’s hard to see how China’s growth pattern won’t contain an increasing level of coal consumption, even with 30 reactors being built.

      • It’ll make a barely noticeable dent:

        No mention of nuclear energy.  Implying that it rebuts or even relates to my point is dishonest of you.

        Nuclear will only power other pollutant industries.

        The old “energy is bad, even if it’s clean” non-argument.  Or is it religious doctrine?

        coal consumption in China isn’t going away

        The EIA’s forecasts are notoriously inaccurate.  China is importing increasing amounts of coal, because its own mines are starting to play out.  Its production will peak soon.

        it’s hard to see how China’s growth pattern won’t contain an increasing level of coal consumption, even with 30 reactors being built.

        Because of geology and political legitimacy.  China can no longer expand coal mining very much, and will shortly contract it.  Continued rule of the ChiCom party requires responding to major economic and social issues, one of which is cleaning up the air.

        The 30 plants under construction in China are between 1100 MW(e) and 1650 MW(e).  Figuring an average of 1400, the total comes to 42 GW; at 90% capacity factor, they’ll generate 330 TWh/year.  At 2500 kWh(e)/ton, coal-fired plants would burn over 130 million tons of coal to equal that.  China is now aiming for 400-500 GW of nuclear by 2050, which would displace well over a billion tons of coal per year.

        China’s current construction projects and their pace show that 500 GW by 2050 is not a stretch.  That’s still only 500 watts per capita, so it might be wiser to aim for 1000 GW.

        • jimbills Says:

          A complete blind spot. It’s okay. Que sera, sera.

          My only point in all of this is that societally we seem to be laser-focused on treating the symptom, not the disease. The disease is growth. We can buy a few years for the patient by adopting new technologies like nuclear and/or renewables, but the end will be the same if growth remains.

          You think nuclear will solve the problems we see before us, and I say it will not. We’ll see who has the religious faith on this matter, and who doesn’t.

          BTW, 500 GW sounds SUPER impressive. China is also expected to have 1,000 GW of WIND power by 2050:

          Even BOTH combined won’t matter. China is also expected to double its coal use by 2030 (peaking around then, but still remaining at higher levels than now by 2050):

          And all 3 combined only serve to power all the thousands of other types of industrial plants pouring chemicals and GHGs into the environment.

        • jimbills Says:

          The essential problem we’re not seeing collectively is that growth consumes all gains in both energy efficiency and energy source replacement. Again, I’m 100% for fossil fuel replacement. I think we should have done it long ago. I think fossil fuels should be priced far, far higher than the currently are. I have zero problems with either the free market or government implementing plans to do these things. I don’t really care if we go nuclear if that’s what we choose – although I think any realistic projection includes a mix of both renewables and nuclear.

          But globally, we’re only fooling ourselves if we think we can continue our growth patterns and not use fossil fuels. That’s all I’m saying. We can bicker back and forth about what type of alternative energy we should use, but it’s meaningless in the bigger picture. If growth continues, we’ll use every bit of fossil fuel we can gets our hands on.

        • andrewfez Says:

          =Longer-term, fast neutron reactors (FNRs) are seen as the main technology, and CNNC expects the FNR to become predominant by mid-century. A 65 MWt fast neutron reactor – the Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) – near Beijing achieved criticality in July 2010, and was grid-connected a year later.6 Based on this, a 600 MWe pre-conceptual design was developed. The current plan is to develop an indigenous 1000 MWe design to begin construction in 2017, and commissioning 2022. This is known as the Chinese Demonstration Fast Reactor (CDFR) project 1.=


          Fuel cycle plan. They must have read the same Scientific American article I did – ha, ha…

      Forbes doesn’t think so. Thinks building at China’s pace is risking failures. China’s overall safety record and political corruption is poor. The pressure to cut corners is high.

    • Bruce Miller Says:

      Market there for catalytic converters for stoves? Scrubbers for factories? Are we overlooking a huge opportunity?

  3. andrewfez Says:

    Mercury in Fish, Bed Sediment, and Water from Streams Across the United States, 1998–2005

    100% of our stream fish are contaminated with mercury, with the southeast pushing past the ‘safe’ level of 0.3mcg/g of fish (wet; not dried out samples).

    Wonder if anyone in China likes eating fish?

      • andrewfez Says:

        Now all they need is some good ‘ol Laissez-faire capitalists to scoop those dead fish up, chop ’em up and sell ’em to hungry folks that are in dire straits; anyone that complains – send ’em to jail.

        I guess it’s safe to say that in the 20,000+ streams/rivers that no longer have water in them in China, that 100% the local species didn’t make it?

        It’s funny that the article says the enviro disasters have (or will) cost the equivalent of all their economic growth the last 30 years, because Senator Whitehouse stated the other day that America’s Clean Air Act has saved $40 for every $1 spent on the program. Being good to the environment is profitable for the system, even though it may make a few extremely rich folks mildly less rich.

        Amory Lovins has talked about this – that destroying the environment is like burning money – in his ‘natural capital’ writings/speeches. The pharmaceutical industry relies a bit on sampling plant/animal species, sometimes out in rain forests, &c., to get ideas on making the next billion dollar product. They ain’t gonna like it if we chop all that down to make more corn fields or cities.

  4. jimbills Says:

    Will growth save us?

    “China has committed to reduce its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level and raise its non-fossil energy consumption percentage to 15 percent of its energy mix.”

    Let’s look at the math. China’s GDP in 2005 was $1.93 trillion:

    China’s expected GDP in 2020 is around $24.6 trillion:

    Let’s say China had 100% carbon emissions per unit of GDP in 2005, which gives a baseline of 1.93. Let’s say China meets surpasses it emissions target of 45% and gets to 50% by 2020. That gives a figure of 12.3 – over 6 times the total emissions from 2005. Huh.

    What happens with India after that, and what happens with the rest of the developing world after that?

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