18 January 2020

The Big Picture: SMOG FIGHT

In its latest efforts to clear the haze that has long blanketed the capital, the Beijing Municipal Government is expected to soon issue emergency measures forcing cars off the road on alternate days of the week during smog periods, depending on the vehicles’ license plate number. The move is likely to encourage drivers to switch to new-energy or environmentally friendly cars such as hybrid vehicles. As Beijing takes the lead in the pollution fight, similar restrictions on car use are expected to be adopted in other cities and provinces such as neighboring Tianjin and Hebei. Makers of alternative-energy cars such as BYD Co. Ltd. are certain to benefit from this government policy. According to a Chinese Academy of Sciences report, vehicle exhaust fumes are a bigger contributor to Beijing’s air pollution than industrial emissions, with cars contributing 22.2 percent of the concentrations of very hazardous PM 2.5 particles in the city’s air.

Nuclear cooperation: The invitation from British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to Chinese companies to invest in his country’s nuclear power stations offers China a step forward in development of nuclear energy at home. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, has pushed expansion in the sector in the interests of a greener environment and more sustainable economic growth. Asia’s biggest economy also imports more than half of the oil it consumes, raising concerns over the nation’s energy security. As China seeks to gain more advanced technology from the West, Britain’s gesture represents a strong helping hand and may help set an example for other Western countries.

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