When China Cleans Its Air, Health Costs Plummet

Unidentified emissions from a coal-fired power plant in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China, in 2007 Photograph by Natalie Behring/Bloomberg News

Beijing residents checking the hourly air-quality index online and strapping air-pollution facemasks on their children may miss the halcyon days just before the 2008 Olympics, when the city temporarily cleaned up its skies (at least, relatively speaking). But not every city in China has seen the air grow darker over the past half decade.

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