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Mitigating Climate Change in China by City Tech Blogger Ying Chong Chan

One of the major causes of climate change is car pollution, and that is a huge problem in China. According to the article “Vehicle Emissions Become Major Source of Air Pollution in China” by Weida Li, China’s automobiles emitted around 436 million tons of pollutants in 2017. This includes 333 million tons of carbon monoxide (CO), 57.4 million tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx), 40.7 million tons of hydrocarbons (HC), and 5 million tons of particulate matter (PM). Car pollution doesn’t produce carbon dioxide (CO2), but it does produce greenhouse gases like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and methane (CH4) that are contributing to climate change.

There are many ways to solve the problem of car pollution in China. One approach is zero emissions. Electric vehicles are one of the best ways to decrease car pollution because they don’t use as much fuel as gas vehicles do. By looking at the graph above, we can see that conventional vehicles that use gasoline or diesel cause far more pollution than electric powered vehicles. In addition, there are an estimated 1.386 billion people living in China! If everyone drives gas-powered vehicles, they will, and have, produced tremendous pollution to the air. Therefore, if people drive electric vehicles in China, it will help reduce so much pollution and help mitigate climate change.

Moreover, taking public transportation like buses and the subway can also reduce car pollution. The graph above shows that bus and subway usage reduces CO2 emissions by spreading them out over many riders. If there are more people who take the bus or subway instead of driving, there will be less cars driving around. Less car driving around means less car pollution. That means the more people use public transport, the less car pollution is produced.

To solve the problem of burning fossil fuels, China can build more nuclear power plants. Many people think that nuclear power plants will produce more pollution than burning fossil fuels in fossil fuel power stations. However, unlike fossil fuel power stations, nuclear power plants produce much less carbon dioxide. People also think that nuclear power plants are more dangerous than fossil fuel power stations, but the truth is that the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels can cause serious problems to public health. According to studies, pollution in China from coal plants in 2011 was responsible for 340,000 hospital visits and 141 million cumulative days of sick leave. This shows that burning fossil fuels is not only causing climate change, it is also causing public health problems. Others think that nuclear power plants can pollute the environment and cause public health problems because of nuclear waste. However, this assumption is incorrect because nuclear waste can be recycled or safely stored.

The other way to mitigate climate change is to plant more trees in China. Trees use energy from the sun and water to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide; in turn they produce oxygen. This is what we call the process of photosynthesis. According to research from NC State University, a tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. This data shows trees can absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. Therefore, if we plant more trees in China, it can help mitigate climate change.

Moreover, taking public transportation like buses and the subway can also reduce car pollution. The graph above shows that bus and subway usage reduces CO2 emissions by spreading them out over many riders. If there are more people who take the bus or subway instead of driving, there will be less cars driving around. Less car driving around means less car pollution. That means the more people use public transport, the less car pollution is produced.

Work Cited:

https://media2.s-nbcnews.com/j/streams/2013/november/131105/8c9596538-131105-beijing-cars-pollution-hmed-1234p.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-how-electric-vehicles-help-to-tackle-climate-change

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/fd/52/7e/fd527e95518372900e0a6bf5e83441ed.jpg

https://www.world-nuclear.org/getmedia/79ecccfd-dfc9-46fb-9392-76911e1f5f7e/greenhouse-gas-emissions.png.aspx

https://www.climatecentral.org/uploads/gallery-images/2018Trees_CONUS_en_title_lg.jpg

https://ltl-school.com/wp-content/sites/16/chinese-travel-guides-sleeper-bus.jpg

https://data.travelchinaguide.com/images/tcg/china-trains/index/pic-quick-01.jpg

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/16D76/production/_108485539_optimised-travel_carbon-nc.png

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/images/2017.09.27/main.png

Li, W. (2018, June 4). Vehicle emissions become China’s major source of air pollution. Retrieved October 26, 2019, from https://gbtimes.com/vehicle-emissions-become-major-source-of-air-pollution-in-china

Ottery, C. (2017, September 7). Map: Health impact of China’s coal plants. Retrieved November 12, 2019, from http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2013/12/12/map-health-impact-chinas-coal-plants/.

 

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