Saturday, November 15, 2014

Back to Black - From the APEC Blues !!

“APEC Blue,” a term that emerged this week to describe the ephemeral skies above Beijing just before the APEC summit, vividly depicts the façade that China wanted to present to the world while it hosted the 21 heads of the Asia-Pacific economies. It also brings to mind the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when the sky was a clear blue and just a handful of cars ran down empty streets amid shuttered factories in Beijing and its neighboring provinces. Beijing once again showed itself willing to spend time, energy, money, and propaganda resources to impress the world with its ability to show its very best face.

Read the full article @ the Diplomat

Comparing Particulate Pollution in Beijing and Los Angeles

Beijing not only spent $6 billion on a lakeside campus 40 miles outside Beijing, accessed by a new elevated expressway leading to the 595-room hotel, conference hall, and press center; it also took half of the cars off local roads, closed more than 1,000 heavy industrial plants within a 120-mile radius of the city, and delayed central heating services in Tianjin until the summit was over. Together with students, public sector employees enjoyed one week off during the summit. In addition, no passports were issued, no weddings were registered, no taxes were paid, no fresh products were delivered, and no banks were open. Apparently burial services were even partially suspended during APEC.

Mountain Air Supplementing Polluted Air in Beijing

Although they enjoyed the clear air, the people of Beijing have their doubts about the quick-fix model of draconian measures to improve the air quality for special occasions. It is inconvenient for locals to suspend or diminish vital public services. The partial car ban meant that public transport was even more packed than normal, which indirectly caused a young girl’s death on an overcrowded platform. People also complained that while the government is capable of creating an APEC Blue with short-term administrative measures, it is as yet incapable of longer-term fixes to pollution. The term “APEC Blue” itself, coined by Chinese netizens, is revealing of the skepticism.

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