“People are desperately hoping for faster progress to improve air quality.
We will make our skies blue again.”
These are the words of a commitment made by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the start of the annual National People’s Congress yesterday. Li spoke of driving harder to address China’s (and Asia’s) air pollution crisis – a topic which has prompted greater public pressure on the government to clean up the skies following recent spikes in smog at the end of 2016 and early 2017.
While Li’s motivation and statements are a powerful show of intent, the commitment must be understood in the context of a country facing rapid development and urbanization. As China’s urban population is expected to increase by 300 million people by 2030, there are several unique challenges to sustainability goals that need to be addressed.
Challenges for the Commitment
Many of the areas for improvement mentioned in the address including tackling vehicle emissions, upgrading coal power plants, and continuing to invest in clean energy sources will have impacts going forward. But the size and scale of the changes required should not be underestimated – especially considering how the winds are literally against China.
Progress has been made, thanks to greater data availability, wider awareness of the problem, and increased preventative action among the engaged public – but much work still needs to be done if China intends to achieve lasting change.
By setting up the context and background to the problem and its sources, we can better understand the real challenges that China currently faces, as well as those still on the horizon.
Stay tuned as we at Collective continue to follow developments in solving China’s air pollution crisis – and progress towards this new commitment.
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If you find this topic interesting, check out our Energy in China and Air Pollution in China reports, as well as our recent articles under the Air Pollution tag.
Have further questions or want more information? Please contact Will Morris: [email protected].