China pollution

China is no stranger to internet sensations, but a documentary highlighting the scale of the country’s chronic air pollution seems to have shaken the trees all the way to Beijing’s highest branches.

Under the Dome, the 104-minute film made by journalist Chai Jing, has already been seen by 160m people on Tencent’s video page, and garnered praise from government ministers and state media. Investors are also taking note. Read more

The thick smog that blankets many Chinese cities represents a vast commercial opportunity for emerging market suppliers of gas, a clean-burning fuel.

As pollution levels approached choking point this winter, China’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) surged 38 per cent – partly because of a deepening environmental consciousness and partly because temperatures plumbed 28-year lows, analysts said. Read more

Pretty much everyone agrees that China’s Q1 growth figure was a miss. At 7.7 per cent, it sits below consensus (8 per cent) and down from the previous quarter (7.9 per cent).

As you’d expect, analysts have been scrambling to make sense of it all, with reasons given ranging from dead pigs to cold weather. But one thing keeps cropping up: the luxury crackdown. Read more

Nothing spells trouble like dead pigs in a river. This week, more than 6,600 pig carcasses have been pulled from the river that runs through the heart of Shanghai, China’s financial hub, eliciting public disgust and anger.

However the dead pigs of Shanghai are hardly the worst thing to hit China’s rivers. After all, more than 39 per cent of the water in China’s main rivers is already so toxic that any human contact should be avoided, according to a 2011 government study. Shanghai’s main river, the Huangpu, is pristine by comparison – with or without a few decaying pig bodies. So perhaps it shouldn’t have been surprising that city authorities swiftly declared that the little porkers had not affected the safety of Shanghai’s tap water. Read more

Recently there has been a lot of attention paid to an essay on tax reform by the head of the tax department at the Ministry of Finance in Beijing, which mentions two hot-button words: carbon, and tax.

But does this mean that China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon, will adopt a serious carbon tax? According to Su Wei, director general of climate change at the powerful economic planning ministry, the answer is: probably not anytime soon. Read more

A picture is worth a thousand words. And China’s extreme air pollution problem – now “beyond crazy bad” as one blogger put it, really needs to be seen to be believed.

In that spirit, beyondbrics has put together some images of the toxic smog that has hit swathe of northern China this month, causing flights to cancel, prompting runs on air purifiers and face masks and even inspiring one entrepreneur to sell fresh air in a canRead more