392 pages, 65 illus
This book offers an interdisciplinary, quantitative assessment of the health and economic costs of air pollution in China, and of market-based policies to build environmental protection into economic development. China's historic economic expansion is driven by fossil fuels, which increase its emissions of both local air pollutants and greenhouse gases dramatically. "Clearing the Air" is an innovative, quantitative examination of the national damage caused by China's degraded air quality, conducted in a pathbreaking, interdisciplinary U.S.-China collaboration. Its damage estimates are allocated by sector, making it possible for the first time to judge whether, for instance, power generation, transportation, or an unexpected source such as cement production causes the greatest environmental harm. Such objective analyses can reset policy priorities. "Clearing the Air" uses this information to show how appropriate "green" taxes might not only reduce emissions and health damages but even enhance China's economic growth. It also shows to what extent these same policies could limit greenhouse gases, suggesting that wealthier nations have a responsibility to help China build environmental protection into its growth. "Clearing the Air" is written for diverse readers, providing a bridge from underlying research to policy implications, with easily accessible overviews of issues and summaries of the findings for nonspecialists and policymakers followed by more specialized, interlinked studies of primary interest to scholars. Taken together, these analyses offer a uniquely integrated assessment that supports the book's economic and policy recommendations.
There is no such detailed, comprehensive analysis of this topic. All in all, a commendable effort. - Vaclav Smil, University of Manitoba"
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Mun S. Ho is a fellow in the Program on Technology and Economic Policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Visiting Scholar at Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. Chris P. Nielsen is Executive Director of the China Project and Kernan Brothers Fellow at Harvard University's Center for the Environment and its Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences.