12/06/2011, 00.00
CHINA
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Pollution in China, the anger of the people and the hypocrisy of the regime

Yesterday the major northern cities of the country were effectively brought to a standstill by a heavy blanket of smog and industrial smoke. The anger of the population explodes on the internet: 4.4 million messages to denouncing the situation. In Durban Beijing "opens" to a surprise to an agreement on the limits of CO2 production, but only to calm tempers and undermine the U.S..
Beijing (AsiaNews) – China’s pollution and climate conditions have crippled Beijing and some of the other major cities in the country. While the government has hinted at some openings at the international climate conference in Durban, the anger of the Chinese people is exploding on the Internet: the mismanagement of industrial gases, according to the Internet, are the real cause of disease and discomfort becoming more frequent in the country.

Yesterday afternoon Beijing airport, the second biggest hub in the world, at least 126 flights were delayed for hours, another 207 cancelled. Thick fog mixed with heavy smog caused hundreds of flight cancellations and delays in northern China and the closure of highways that traverse the provinces of Shandong and Hebei. The sky was so dark in the Chinese capital that many drivers kept their lights on all day, giving the city a surreal atmosphere. "It looks like the end of the world," said a blogger named David Jiaoxiaomao.

The pollution problem was a hot topic on the Internet: 4.4 million posts on the micro blogging service's main site, Sina Weibo. A user, Hu Yueyue, said it took him 24 hours to go from Beijing to Shenzhen (it usually takes 3 hours) and he said: "I'm exhausted. All because of pollution. " The Internet has become the preferred channel for many Chinese to express their anger against the abuses and failures of the country, often sacrificing the environment on the altar of a rampant and disordered economic development.

Another blogger writes: "Another smoky day in Beijing. I wore a mask this morning. I do not know what my life expectancy will be from breathing this harmful air for so long". Taobao.com, the Chinese online shopping giant said it sold 30 thousand respiratory masks Sunday, when the visibility was only a few hundred meters.

A statement from the American Embassy in Beijing described the pollution "risky for the next few days" and called on employees to be "at maximum alert." According to the Chinese weather service the fog will remain until Wednesday, but state media and the media in the hands of the party deny that this has to do with pollution. Yesterday, the People's Daily and Global Times said the inconvenience was due to "unfavourable weather conditions".

Yet the Chinese regime, during the international climate conference being held in Durban, could not deny the data presented by international experts. According to analysts, China surpasses the U.S. in production of CO2 (carbon dioxide) and the two countries together total 44% of global emissions: 25% for China compared to 19% for the U.S.. The data are those of a study of the Oslo International Centre for Research on Climate and Environment – which previously had blamed rich nations for the emissions - crossed with the ranking of global emissions for 2010 developed by energy company BP .

In 2008 - says the study of the Norwegian Climate Centre - one third of China's emissions were produced by the manufacture of export goods (and therefore those responsible for these emissions were consumers of rich countries). But now the situation is changing: "Consumers in developing countries - explain analysts - have released more carbon dioxide than those of developed countries. In 2010, China has increased its emissions by 10.4%. "

At the summit convened by the UN, China has surprised many by opening to the possibilities of some binding obligations on climate, however, by placing as its terms for an agreement on commitments to reduction beginning 2020. The Chinese Minister Xie Zhenhua, meeting with NGOs in South Africa, said that "after 2020 you can even think to negotiate a legally binding document." Among the conditions imposed by China, which with this move could reopen the road of negotiations, and a Kyoto 2, is an increase in financial pledges to help developing countries.

China’s position is not the result of humanitarian or environmental concerns. In fact, Beijing wants to use the summit to appease the people at home and undermine the United States, its main competitor in the export field. China is classified as a "developing" country and as such the new limits would affect Washington much more than Beijing. But in the meantime, over 400 thousand people die every year in China for respiratory problems related to pollution.

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