China’s Journey to the Dark Ages

An new report from the United Nations Environment Programme gives an alarming picture of the effects of air pollution in China and South Asia. In China alone, air pollution has caused $82 billion in economic losses, the report says. From the Globe and Mail:

The study says the toxic clouds – more than three kilometres thick – are contributing to a huge range of dangerous effects: extreme weather; damage to crops; melting of glaciers; the dimming of big cities; shifts in rainfall; massive economic losses; higher food prices; and a growing number of human deaths from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Up to 25 per cent of the sunlight has disappeared in Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, India’s New Delhi and Karachi, Pakistan, the study concluded. In India, the dimming of cities has more than doubled since 1980, it said.

[…] Achim Steiner, the UNEP executive director, said he expects the phenomenon of toxic brown clouds to be “firmly on the international community’s radar” as a result of the latest study, which was released yesterday. The clouds need “urgent and detailed research,” he said.

Read the full UNEP report here.

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