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ECONOMICS REPORT - China's Air Pollution

发布日期:2-8-2013

From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report in Special English.

China is struggling to deal with record levels of smog over Beijing. Now, officials in several Chinese cities are making plans to trade carbon credits as a way to reduce air pollution.

For many years, China considered economic growth more important than the environmental issues. The nation remains hungry for energy. But it has also become the world's biggest producer of carbon gasses.

Buildings are seen in heavy haze in Beijing's central business district, January 14, 2013.
Buildings are seen in heavy haze in Beijing's central business district, January 14, 2013.

Beijing's smoggy days have made international news. Small particles in the air reduce visibility and threaten public health.

Smog has been a concern in the city for years. But a sharp rise in pollution levels in January led to sharp criticism from some Chinese.

Pollution from coal-burning power centers and factories is a big part of the problem.

Now, officials hope to control industrial air pollution by creating systems to trade carbon credits. The trading systems, or platforms, would enable companies to receive credits for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The credits can then be traded. The goal of these market-based platforms is to get businesses to invest in cleaner technology.

Open markets for carbon credits are expected to open later this year in seven cities, including Tianjin. David Tang is secretary of the board of the Tianjin Carbon Exchange.

David Tang: "The government has decided to start the pilots because the carbon trading is something new to China. So we want to have a number of pilots, to explore the use of the market, and then on the basis of experience creative international market for this instrument."

China wants to launch a national carbon trading program by 2016. Experts say it would be one of the largest in the world if it is successful. They add it would help the country meet its target of cutting carbon dioxide and reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent within seven years.

Kevin Tune is with the Carnagy Adultment and International peace and head of the China energy and climate program. He says China needs to replace coal with other kinds of energy such as nuclear, hydro electric and other energy resources.

China could become a big market for carbon credits, but there are barriers. Credit save, government interference, state ownership of companies, and lack of publicly available information are major problems.

Still, public pressure continues to build for the government to find an answer to heavy pollution.

Wu Changhua is with The Climate Group. She says there is a change in the way the Chinese people look at quality of life issues.

Wu Changhua: "At a public basis, we start to realize actually it's not a job. And I want to have a better environment quality as well."

And that's the Economics Report in Special English.

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