Bloomberg View: How Shale Gas Can Save China From Itself

Stemming the country’s pollution crisis requires an alternative to coal
Cars in Beijing travel on the road in heavy smog on March 7 Photograph by ImagineChina/AP Photo

For years the Chinese have been told that the blinding, sooty haze choking Beijing and other cities is the price of progress. Yet China’s appetite for energy is literally killing its people. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, based on data compiled between 1980 and 2000, estimated that pollution caused by burning coal stripped five years from the life expectancy of Chinese in the northern half of the country—a collective loss of 2.5 billion years. A separate study published in December in the Lancet attributed about a million deaths a year in China to air pollution.

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