Via a strong recommendation from James Fallows, here’s the video to watch if you want a concise summary of the pollution problem in China. Featuring Fons Tuinstra, president of the China Speakers Bureau, and Richard Brubaker of All Roads Lead to China, the 30-minute show touches on the causes of pollution (the “bowl” of Beijing, cars), the effects (people leaving the country), and possible impetuses for solutions (competition among leaders and government officials to clean things up).
Fallows rightfully flags the final 10 minutes as particularly illuminating. “Very matter-of-factly Brubaker lays out the basic realities of China’s environmental/economic/social/political conundrum,” Fallows writes.
For example, as Brubaker says in the video:
Just the sheer fact that they’re going so fast, it means that they need to find, even if they’re efficient, more and more supplies of energy. For China to double its GDP in the next 20 years to surpass the US’s GDP, they will need 350 percent more energy than what they have today. Just a simple mathematic, back-of-the-napkin equation, 78 percent coal times 350 percent equals a lot more emissions no matter how they cut it.
Go check it out. And relive the horror starting here.