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Rising Air Pollution Across China Clouds Clear Skies in Beijing and Shanghai: Report

By Matthew Walsh / Jan 16, 2020 01:42 PM / Environment

Beijing and Shanghai have witnessed dramatic improvements in air quality so far this winter but progress has slowed and even reversed in many other parts of China, according to a report released Thursday by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an environmental research organization.

An uptick in coal and oil consumption as well as rising industrial output drove pollution increases outside the greater Beijing and Shanghai regions, which the government considers high-priority areas for air quality. In particular, southern and northeastern provinces saw significant increases in PM2.5, ultrafine particles that can pass through the lungs into the bloodstream and damage organs in the human body.

The report surveys year-on-year changes in air quality from October through December 2019, the first three months of China’s official winter season. It comes as China grapples with an economic slowdown that has spurred a fallback onto coal-fired power generation and other highly polluting industries.

“As coal and oil consumption have increased in the past two years, progress on air quality has relied entirely on better filters and moving industrial production away from priority areas. Continued improvements require accelerating the clean-energy transition,” said CREA lead analyst Lauri Myllyvirta.

Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (

Related: China’s Big Cities Get Cleaner Air, But at What Cost?

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