By December 8, 2015 Read More →

China climate envoy says Beijing smog underscores need for clean energy transition

Beijing smog red alert issued Monday

Beijing smog

Beijing smog is blamed on coal-fired power plants, vehicle emissions, construction and factory work.  Photo courtesy

The head of China’s delegation at U.N. climate talks says that the heavy smog in Beijing in recent days shows how important it is for the country to transition to clean sources of energy.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change, told reporters that it’s normal for countries in the process of industrialization “to be suffering from pollution problems.”

He pointed to London, which had serious problems with smog linked to pollution from coal plants in the 20th century.

“That’s why we are stressing a low-carbon development in a transition to a green economy,” Xie said.

The latest bout of pollution in Beijing was the first to trigger a red alert under a two-year-old system. The smog has persisted despite the Chinese government’s stated priority of cleaning up the legacy of pollution left from years of full-tilt economic growth. Most of the smog is blamed on coal-fired power plants, along with vehicle emissions, construction and factory work.

China is the world’s top consumer of coal but has also become a leader in renewable energy, with rapid expansion of wind and solar power.

The Canadian Press

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