Beijing is having its second red smog alert for the month of December 2015:
Saturday marked the second alert of this month in China’s capital, as the levels of pollution climbed to unhealthy levels. The inhabitants of Beijing were warned and were asked to prepare for a wave that would occur during the weekend. Shanghai and other regions in the Yangtze River Delta were expected to face the smog.
Beijing was affected the most by the smog, and experts expected the pollution level to exceed 500 in the capital and in some parts of the Hebei province, that surrounds it. The region Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin has been fighting the heavy smog for over 15 days now. The people were warned to remain in their homes if the index would surpass the 300 limit. Higher levels are extremely harmful to humans, according to the World Health Organization.
The first time the red alert was issued this month in Beijing, the levels of pollution dropped with 30% in the first 10 hours after the alert.
Anyone care to make book on the number of such alerts that the Chinese capital will experience in 2016?
Their national investment strategy is a mess. The central government appears to want an emphasis on pollution reduction and renewable energy but its experiment in decentralizing many investment decisions to provinces and localities resulted in a surge of coal-fired electrical plant construction. My guess is the Party will have no choice but to follow through with that investment to avoid the employmemt losses. So, more pollution and more bad health outcomes in 2016.
I think Ben is mostly right. However, eventually some wealthy, well connected individual (s) will complain and things will change. Their oligarchy is a little more apparent than ours, and policy will be fitted to their desires.