Print 20 comment(s) - last by bah12.. on Jul 11 at 10:00 AM

The widespread use of coal in the north is causing the lower life expectancy

Chinese citizens living in the northern part of the country have a lower life expectancy than those in the south, according to a new study. 

The study, led by Michael Greenstone from the environmental economics department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (who was accompanied by an Israeli and two Chinese scholars), said that heavy pollution in northern China causes citizens in that area to have lower lifespans than those in the south.

In fact, the study says that the 500 million people who live north of the Huai River will lose 2.5 billion years of life expectancy because of air pollution. More specifically, each northerner has a 5.5-year drop in life expectancy compared to southerners. 

This cut in life expectancy, according to the study, is mainly due to outdoor air pollution in the north. The concentration of particulates north of the Huai was 184 micrograms per cubic meter higher than in the south. This is about 55 percent greater in the north than south. 

This much air pollution is leading to cardiorespiratory diseases and other health problems related to breathing this in. The pollution is caused by the use of free coal for boilers for winter heating north of the river. Also, coal-fired factories are extremely common in the north compared to the south. 

The study analyzed health and pollution data collected by Chinese officials from 1981 to 2001. 

“It highlights that in developing countries there’s a trade-off in increasing incomes today and protecting public health and environmental quality,” said Greenstone. “And it highlights the fact that the public health costs are larger than we had thought.”

The researchers hope that this study pushes China to make greater environmental protection laws and take health risks associated with air pollution more seriously. 

This study was published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Source: The New York Times

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By Shig on 7/9/2013 1:39:27 PM , Rating: 4
Get a good look, this is what the US would look like without it.

By Ammohunt on 7/9/13, Rating: -1
By BRB29 on 7/9/2013 2:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
We have had serious smog problems in the past. We still have them now in a few highly populated cities. Now, it's more from vehicles than from factories because we moved our factories to China.

By bah12 on 7/9/2013 3:48:27 PM , Rating: 2
Now, it's more from vehicles than from factories because we moved our factories to China.
Correct the only real achievement of the EPA is to cut American jobs and move them overseas where they turn a blind eye. What we need is REASONABLE environmental controls. The political and draconian nature of the current EPA only costs the US jobs and the world as a whole is no better off.

I don't agree that it can be handled at the state level, air and water move. Take ND for example, there is hardly any poplulation and it most likely wouldn't cause much local harm if everyone just dumped thier used oil in the river, however SD may not like it running downhill.

A central EPA is needed, just read any history of how bad health and wellfare was during our industrial revolution, but it has morphed from a useful agency to just another political tool like so many others.

By Ammohunt on 7/9/2013 4:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
All the functions of every federal three letter agency could be handled better at the state level with congressional oversight. States know the best interests of its citizens better than any federal bureaucracy. EPA,IRS,ATF,FBI,TSA,NEA,DHS etc.. all need to go away.

By Master Kenobi (blog) on 7/9/2013 5:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
Congress is the problem. The last thing you need is that bunch of idiots overseeing more problems. The entire housing fubar was thanks to congress. Never forget that.

By bah12 on 7/10/2013 9:27:39 AM , Rating: 2
Easy to armchair that, but there are numerous real world examples that say otherwise. Especially related to the EPA.

Let's use a more practical example say one of the up river states saw huge potential to damn the Missisippi river. That would have pretty massive consequences downstream.

Congress isn't the answer, they are worthless partisan morons. What is needed is what the EPA was supposed to be. An non-political agencey driven to compromise what is best in this senario. Now they are just a tool of both parties, that is why they are useless not simply because they are a federal agency.

By Ammohunt on 7/10/2013 12:03:59 PM , Rating: 2
Poor example because the Mississippi was damned by the ARMY corp of engineers for flood control decades before the EPA even existed. The truth is we got along just fine without the EPA most of what it has done that has been good would have eventually been done by individual states. People now are so condition towards a nanny state mentality they can no longer imagine doing for themselves.

By bah12 on 7/11/2013 9:57:42 AM , Rating: 2
The truth is we got along just fine without the EPA most of what it has done that has been good would have eventually been done by individual states.
You obviously don't read history, because the real TRUTH is that there was a time during the industrial revolution, and to some extent in modern times, that there was massive large scale dumping of toxic waste. That is the TRUTH, absolute fact, no reason to argue it. It happened, and it was not policed well by local officals. In fact there were bought and paid for state officials that turned a blind eye.

You simply saying someting is the truth does not make it so.

Take a modern example. There are concerns over fracking right now. Real concerns, not made up FUD. No one can say exactly what the impacts truly are, but there are concerns. But do you think that the TX state legislature will allow any kind of controls, or heck even studies on the impacts of fracking? If you think there is a snowball's chance in hell that TX will regulate itself, I want some of what your smoking. Now if there was a high degree of certainty that any and all impacts would be confined to TX, then I'm with you let them do what they want.

Now I 100% agree that our central government is grossly overpowered and way too powerful. However you seem to be taking the equally extreme position that we don't need one at all. IMHO that position is equally idiotic. Some things do need REASONABLE central regulation, primarily those things where the impact cannot be 100% confined to that state.

By bah12 on 7/11/2013 10:00:03 AM , Rating: 2
Oh and to your debunking of the flood example. How can you argue that daming it by the ARMY corp is a good thing, clearly they are an evil central agency making dams and taking away State rights...Way to totally prove my point, that in fact reasonable central agency action can be a good thing.

By Solandri on 7/9/2013 2:02:08 PM , Rating: 2
As with most things, this isn't a binary choice between having an EPA and not having it. It's a continuous range of choices, where no air quality regulation is bad, some regulation is good, but too much is bad again.

So being against the EPA's newer more stringent air quality regulations doesn't mean one is also against the EPA's more basic regulations. It's possible to be for the EPA's basic air quality regulations, while simultaneously being against some of their more stringent regulations.

By marvdmartian on 7/10/2013 9:15:10 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, it's more correct to say that we could have similar problems if it wasn't for the Clean Air Act, which the EPA enforces.
Modern clean burning coal plants, here in the USA, put out a small fraction of the pollution China is seeing. Basically, they're seeing the negative effects of the industrial revolution that our country saw in the early 20th century.

By BRB29 on 7/9/13, Rating: 0
RE: ...
By DanNeely on 7/9/2013 10:56:58 AM , Rating: 2
With all the exceptions in it, China's policy really is an ~1.5 child/family policy. The (admittedly somewhat suspect due to not changing at all for a number of years) official current birthrate estimate is 1.6 due to some people cheating and having additional kids in secret. While they're going to take a major demographic hit if they don't loosen it (and convince more people indoctrinated against it for decades to have a second kid); it's only going to be at a similar scale to western Europe, not the much more brutal decline that some wealthy Asian countries with birthrates currently near one are facing.

RE: ...
By Zingam on 7/9/2013 12:17:47 PM , Rating: 2
Don't worry! Advance muslim civilizations like the ones in Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc. will replenish the Earth.

RE: ...
By Solandri on 7/9/2013 1:57:11 PM , Rating: 2
With all the exceptions in it, China's policy really is an ~1.5 child/family policy. The (admittedly somewhat suspect due to not changing at all for a number of years) official current birthrate estimate is 1.6 due to some people cheating and having additional kids in secret.

Their population is still growing. That indicates the real birthrate is more than 2.0 children per family.

RE: ...
By BRB29 on 7/9/2013 2:03:11 PM , Rating: 2
The pop is still rising because the marriage and pregnancy age is China is low. You can see 3-5 generations in a life time. There is no longer constant war. It's not a 1 for 1 exchange but a delayed effect. Their population will decrease or remain flat when this last generation of baby boomers starts to die.

RE: ...
By Fujikoma on 7/10/2013 11:30:44 AM , Rating: 2
And it is mostly male (over 50% of the general population compared to the rest of the first would which is in the high 40's), which is really going to cause problems down the road. In general, chinese men do not like better educated women, so their choices of partners are going to be slimmer than what is already present. They will probably have a 'bust' period that is much larger than the one the U.S. had. India is more likely the country that should be seen as a future population problem.

By Ammohunt on 7/9/2013 1:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
I love how the President of the US is bypassing congress to dictate ridiculous carbon regulation (like the authoritarian he is) that will cripple an already weak economy. All the while countries like China just pollute with reckless abandon.

I will get on board carbon emissions legislation (read non-executive branch dictate) as soon as China and others stop filling our atmosphere with much worse poisonous smog which incidentally gets blown towards the United States and Canada due to prevailing winds.

RE: Irony
By BRB29 on 7/9/2013 2:12:22 PM , Rating: 2
The emissions standard crippled our automakers more than anyone else. Most of the crippling effects isn't caused by government restrictions. It was caused by their laziness while their foreign competitors chip away at their market share making superior products.

The high emissions standard have stimulated more jobs, technology and markets.

China recognized the same problems with pollution and they are actually very active at developing and using alternative energy.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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