Pollution from Chinese manufacturing blowing back to US

Pollution from factories in China is blowing across the Pacific Ocean as far as the United States, according to a new study.

As Reuters reports, the study by the US National Academy of Sciences has found that on some days, acid rain-inducing sulphate from the burning of fossil fuels in China can account for as much as 24 per cent of sulphate pollution in the western United States.

And a significant amount of the pollution comes from factories manufacturing consumer goods to satisfy the demand of US consumers.

“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,” co-author Steve Davis, a scientist at University of California Irvine, said.

Specifically, the report found that between 17 and 36 per cent of various air pollutants in China in 2006 were related to the production of goods for export. And a fifth of that relates to US-China trade.

According to the report, given the above, trade must be considered in global attempts to deal with pollution.

“International cooperation to reduce transboundary transport of air pollution must confront the question of who is responsible for emissions in one country during production of goods to support consumption in another,” the report said.

But China is not off the hook when it comes to pollution. Despite the fact that the world’s most populous nation has taken significant steps in this area and made significant progress, it needs to do more.

Reuters reports that, according to a report by Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics, China needs to increase spending on emission cuts and clean technologies by 2 trillion yuan ($374 billion) to do its fair share.

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