Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The two kinds of environmentalism in China:
I've been sucking down inhaled steroids twice a day. The day after we left for Nanning, I got a worried email from my husband, who didn't know what city I was in; the pollution index in Beijing had apparently hit 500 on a 1 to 500 scale... I'm now in Shanghai, where the pollution is also worse than usual. The rumor is that this is due to the recently closed Shanghai Expo (a sort of world's fair). During the expo, apparently, incinerating trash and various industrial processes were forbidden; now everyone's making up for lost time.

But among the people we've talked to, the pollution gets wrapped together with the issue of carbon emissions: "clean energy" and "green technology" tend to cover both the need to get rid of the particulate soup, and the need to lower carbon emissions. The one is of prime importance to the Chinese; the other is what the Americans care about.
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