When James and Deborah Fallows lived in Beijing, Jim regularly featured on his blog pictures of the weather — well, the smog — from his balcony.
This is not from my balcony but it does capture just how thick the smog is in Beijing right now. After several days here of living in a sunless, puffy, misty fluorescent haze, we finally caught a glimpse of the sun. We rejoiced.
When one engages in conversation with Chinese about how they see their country, the biggest area of concern for the future and criticism of the government targets environmental mismanagement. Given the amount of coverage that “green issues” get in the Chinese press — on TV and in print journalism — to some degree it seems like the government is inviting public criticism, or at least trying to give space for this frustration to vent.
Beijing — which is a political city for the most part — is pulsing with change and growth. The people I see are consuming and want more, and the city is being torn up and rebuilt with a peculiar mix of hard labor workers and machines.
I’m increasingly convinced that China is making enormous investments in green technologies and deployment at a level substantially greater than the United States is doing — but it’s dependence on carbon-based energy is erupting upward right along with China’s renewable sectors.
China, it seems to me, will have a mix of every type of energy option built into its economic structure — but the negative environmental consequences have no where to go but get worse.
— Steve Clemons