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The Experience to Abate Air Pollution: What Lessons can Beijing, China Draw from Developed Countries When Trying to Reduce Emissions?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Currently, China is facing a challenge of sustainable development. The worsening air quality and increasing haze days in Beijing and many other cities in China have exerted serious health impacts and an economic toll. Pollution control and emission reduction have become an urgent issue that Chinese governments need to tackle. Hence, stricter Environmental laws and Clean Air Plans have been published and implemented in recent years in China. The developed countries had experienced the similar industrial development accompanying by air pollution problem during the middle of last century. Environmental legislating against helped many developed countries solve the pollution and achieved positive EKC trend – air quality improvements along with continuous economic growth. The thesis tries to study the previous lessons and experiences on pollution abatement from some developed countries and find what lesson’s China can draw from them on pollution control and changing towards a sustainable development. The thesis adopts a multi-scientific study method including case studies, economic, technological, legal and institutional analysis. The pollution abatement cases are from the US and UK, because historically the serious air smog episodes due to industrialization had happened in many cities of the two countries, which are like what is happening in China now. Case studies compare the pollution problem in Beijing, Los Angeles and London, and focus on how environmental laws work for emission reduction. The study results show that the economic phase in China now is close to the EKC turning point and is at similar phase comparing to the historical pollution treatment stages during the middle of last century in the US and UK. However, the positive EKC trend does not inevitably come without strong environmental legislation, technological development and economic-social institution sustainability transformation. The implication for China is that the current pollution control laws and its implementation in China at the crucial moment would most likely decide the future environmental, economic, and social situation in China. Loose environmental laws might cause environmental indulgence, while implementation of scientific environmental laws and standards can work effectively on emission reduction and enhancing technology and economic development at the same time. And the scientific based legislation skills from developed countries provide a good lesson to be drawn for China on how to make the laws and standards. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 62 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 258
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development, Air Pollution Abatement, Comparison of Beijing, Los Angeles and London, Environmental Law, Environmental Kuznets Curve, Path Dependence
National Category
Natural Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-258872OAI: diva2:843395
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2015-06-02, Hamberg (Båthsalen), Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, Uppsala, 11:15 (English)
Available from: 2015-07-28 Created: 2015-07-21 Last updated: 2015-07-28Bibliographically approved

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