Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Clean Air Derby

Whatever greatness liberal democracy possesses, and despite the earnest protestations of Steven Pinker and the Panglossian faithful, the world is increasingly not buying what we are selling… culturally speaking, that is.

Today’s duel pits democratic India against authoritarian China—two nations that have roughly the same population. It shows how well each nation is cleaning up the air. This is useful because you all know that only a highly democratic nation with a massive bureaucracy and empowered environmentalists can preserve the pristine beauty and preternatural purity of nature.

The facts say otherwise. The Washington Post reports that China has been cleaning up its air while India, that would be, democratic India leads the world in air pollution.

The Post reports:

India’s capital city of New Delhi, choked by rising automobile emissions and construction dust, was named on Wednesday the world’s most polluted megacity by the World Health Organization, which analyzed the levels of the pollutant PM10 in the air in cities with populations above 14 million between 2010 and 2016.

Greater Cairo was the second most polluted large city, with India’s other great megacity of Mumbai ranked fourth on the list and Beijing fifth.

True enough, fifth place is nothing to brag about, but the difference between first and fifth is very large indeed. Delhi came in at 292; Beijing at 92.

When judged in terms of another pollutant, a more deadly one, India scores very high—fourteen out of the top fifteen most polluted cities are in democratic India:

When the health organization studied data for the smaller and more deadly PM2.5 particulate matter, 14 of the top 15 most polluted cities were in India, with the industrial hub of Kanpur ranked No. 1.

Why did China clean up its air? Apparently, its authoritarian rulers were responding to the will of the people:

The report comes at a time when former perennial offender China, in response to citizen outrage, has taken steps to clean up its air, shuttering or reforming factories and reducing its coal consumption in favor of renewable energy. The moves helped improve air quality in Beijing and elsewhere but at a cost — many poor people were denied coal heat during winter or lost jobs.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

A friend of my son who has been in Beijing told me that the pollution there never gets above 200ppm; the reports are capped at that number by the CCP.