How Much Does China Pay for Pollution?

In The Globe and Mail, Carolynne Wheeler quantifies the economic cost of China’s pollution woes:

Pollution costs China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, hundreds of millions – perhaps billions – of yuan annually. It also threatens the ability of the world’s second-largest economy to evolve into a fully developed, first world country from its current industrializing state.

“There’s no way they can grow to high income levels with the levels of pollution they have,” said Carter Brandon, environmental co-ordinator for the World Bank in Beijing.

The World Bank estimates that, in 2009, the effects of air pollution were equivalent to about 3.3 per cent of China’s gross domestic product. The impact on health alone, including premature deaths, amounted to about 700 billion yuan ($110.2-billion U.S.) in 2009.

A string of days with poor air quality caused hundreds of flight delays and cancellations in Beijing at the beginning of December, and prompted

See also chinadialogue’s top 10 most-read stories of 2011, four of which are on air pollution.

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