Here in China, the big discussion topic this weekend has been air quality. The story of record readings in Beijing seems to have reached all corners of the world over the weekend. Here’s the Wall Street Journal’s take on it as an example. On a scale from 0 to 500 for the content of particulates in the air, the Beijing air scored 755. Visibility was down to 50 meters – in other words; you can look across the street, but just barely.
How depressing is this?
There is a simple solution though, for which all technology is readily available:
- Large scale power production must switch to nuclear (thorium reactors asap), and some wind.
- Small scale power production and industrial heat and power generation must switch to natural gas
- Personal vehicles and light duty vehicles must switch to electricity (from nuclear plants)
- Heavy duty vehicles must switch to natural gas (LNG)
Implement those four simple bullets and Beijing will see blue sky every day. We’d also get a huge reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as a bonus.
You may argue that such a change is unrealistic, you may argue it is too expensive, or you may argue it is too difficult in a range of other ways. I am sure that will be very comforting to the people in Beijing.