Economic and Social Analysis of Haze Reduction Dilemma in China

Economic and Social Analysis of Haze Reduction Dilemma in China

Qiming Li Ke Cheng  Xiaoyang Yang 

School of Business Administration, China University of Petroleum, No.18 Fuxue Road, Changping District, Beijing,102249, China

Academy of Mathematics and Systems Science, CAS, No.55 Zhongguancun East Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100190, China

Corresponding Author Email:
| |
| | Citation



Since 1978, China’s economy has developed fast and become the second largest economy in the world in 2011. However, the cost of China’s economy soars along with the significant economic development. The environmental deterioration becomes heavier and heavier. Eventually, the haze pollution appears a severe problem and the problem does seriously affect almost everybody’s life in the country. Therefore, it is urgent to take all kinds of measures to reduce haze. But there are many hinders in curbing haze. The paper aims to get a profound understanding of China’s arduousness in the haze reduction and support the establishment of relevant institution, laws and policies by analyzing the difficulties in China’s haze reduction from the perspective of the economy and society. Firstly, the paper investigates the critical reasons causing the frequent large-scale haze outbreaks recently through analyzing the long-term economic and social dynamics of the haze pollution. Then, the paper aims to discuss the difficulties in China’s haze reduction by summarizing international experiences and comparing China’s social and economic characteristics with its foreign counterparts. Finally, the paper proposes some policy suggestions on China’s haze reduction.


Haze reduction, Social analysis, Economic analysis, China, Sustainable development

1. Introduction
2. Materials and Methods
3. Long-Term Economic and Social Dynamics of Haze Pollution in China
4. Primary Causes of Recent Frequent Large-Scale Haze Outbreaks
5. International Experiences and Dilemma of Chinese Haze Reduction
6. Policy Recommendations for Curbing Haze in China
7. Conclusions

[1] J. Kaiman, “China’s toxic air pollution resembles nuclear winter, say scientists,” The Guardian, vol. 24, Feb. 2014. [Online]. Available:

[2] K. Matus, K. Nam and N. E. Selin, et al., “Health damages from air pollution in China,” Global Environmental Change, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 55-66, Feb. 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.08.006.

[3] Z. Sun, L. Shao, Y. Mu, et al., “Oxidative capacities of size-segregated haze particles in a residential area of Beijing”. Journal of Environmental Sciences, vol. 26, no. 1, pp.167-174, Feb. 2014. DOI: 10.1016/S1001-0742(13)60394-0.

[4] R. Betha, M. Pradani; P. Lestari, et al., “Chemical speciation of trace metals emitted from Indonesian peat fires for health risk assessment,” Atmospheric Research, vol. 122, 571–578, Mar. 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2012.05.024.

[5] Y. I. Tsai, “Atmospheric visibility trends in an urban area in Taiwan 1961–2003,” Atmospheric environment, vol. 39, no. 30, pp. 5555-5567, Sep. 2005. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2005.06.012.

[6] O. Yi, Y. Hong, and H. Kim, “Seasonal effect of PM10 concentrations on mortality and morbidity in Seoul, Korea: A temperature-matched case-crossover analysis,” Environmental Research, vol. 110, no. 1, pp. 89-95, Jan. 2010. DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2009.09.009.

[7] J. Othman, M. Sahani, M. Mahmud, et al., “Transboundary smoke haze pollution in Malaysia: Inpatient health impacts and economic valuation,” Environmental Pollution, vol. 189, pp. 194-201, Jun. 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.03.010.

[8] Y. Chen, A. Ebenstein, M. Greenstone, et al., “Evidence on the impact of sustained exposure to air pollution on life expectancy from China’s Huai River policy,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 110, no. 32, pp. 12936-12941, May. 2013. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1300018110.

[9] A. Molnár, E. Mészáros, K. Imre, et al., “Trends in visibility over Hungary between 1996 and 2002,” Atmospheric environment, vol. 42, no. 11, pp. 2621-2629, Apr. 2008. DOI: 0.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.05.012.

[10] P. Zhao, X. Zhang, X. Xu, et al., “Long-term visibility trends and characteristics in the region of Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei, China,” Atmospheric Research, vol. 101, no. 3, pp. 711-718. Aug. 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2011.04.019.

[11] D. Wu, X. Deng, X. Bi, et al., “Study on the visibility reduction caused by atmospheric haze in Guangzhou area,” Journal of Tropical Meteorology, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 1-6, Jun. 2007. DOI: 1006-8775(2006) 02-0077-04.

[12] Y. Lin, K. Huang, G. Zhuang, et al., “A multi-year evolution of aerosol chemistry impacting visibility and haze formation over an Eastern Asia megacity, Shanghai,” Atmospheric environment, vol. 92, pp. 76-86, Aug. 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.04.007.

[13] A. Zhang, L. Zhong, Y. Xu, et al. “Tourists’ perception of haze pollution and the potential impacts on travel: Reshaping the features of tourism seasonality in Beijing, China,” Sustainability, vol. 7, no.3, pp. 2397-2414, Feb. 2015. DOI: 10.3390/su7032397.

[14] X. Yang, F. Teng, and G. Wang, “Incorporating environmental co-benefits into climate policies: A regional study of the cement industry in China,” Applied energy, vol. 112, pp. 1446-1453, Dec. 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.03.040.

[15] X. Bi, Y. Feng, J. Wu, et al., “Source apportionment of PM10 in six cities of northern China,” Atmospheric environment, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 903-912, Feb. 2007. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2006.09.033. 

[16] J. Ma, Y. Chen, W. Wang, et al., “Strong air pollution causes widespread haze-clouds over China,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, vol. 115, no. D18, Sep. 2011. DOI: 10.1029/2009JD013065.

[17] M. Tao, L. Chen, L. Su, and et al., “Satellite observation of regional haze pollution over the North China Plain,” Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, vol. 117, no. D12, Jun. 2012. DOI: 10.1029/2012JD017915.

[18] R. B. Husar, J. D. Husar, and L. Martin, “Distribution of continental surface aerosol extinction based on visual range data,” Atmospheric environment, vol. 34, no. 29, pp. 5067-5078, 2000. DOI: 10.1016/S1352-2310(00)00324-1.

[19] T. Kim, A. Canlier, C. Cho, et al., “Highly transparent Au-Coated Ag nanowire transparent electrode with reduction in haze,” ACS applied materials & interfaces, vol. 6, no. 16, pp. 13527-13534, Jul. 2014. DOI: 10.1021/am502632t.

[20] M. S. Islam, Y. Hui-Pei, and S. Mangharam, “Trans-boundary haze pollution in Southeast Asia: sustainability through plural environmental governance,” Sustainability, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 499, May. 2016. DOI: 10.3390/su8050499.

[21] X. Tang, S. Snowden and M. Höök, “Analysis of energy embodied in the international trade of UK,” Energy policy, vol. 57, pp. 418-428, Jun. 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.02.009.

[22] X. Zhang, L. Wu, R. Zhang, et al., “Evaluating the relationships among economic growth, energy consumption, air emissions and air environmental protection investment in China,” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, vol. 18, pp. 259-270, Feb. 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2012.10.029.

[23] K. Wang, B. Lu and Y. Wei, “China’s regional energy and environmental efficiency: A Range-Adjusted Measure based analysis,” Applied energy, vol. 112, pp. 1403-1415, Dec. 2013, 10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.04.021. 

[24] H. Lü, Q. Cai, S. Wen, et al., “Carbonyl compounds in the ambient air of hazy days and clear days in Guangzhou, China,” Atmospheric Research, vol. 94, no.3, pp. 363-372, Nov. 2009. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2009.06.014.

[25] W. Chen, J. Hong and C. Xu, “Pollutants generated by cement production in China, their impacts, and the potential for environmental improvement,” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 103, pp. 61-69, Sep. 2015. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.04.048.

[26] X. Yu, “The analysis on affecting factors of haze weather and prevention,” Advances in Environmental Protection, vol.3 pp. 34-37, Jun. 2013. DOI: 10.12677/aep.2013.32A007. 

[27] J. Middleton, J. Kendrick and H. Schwalm, “Injury to herbaceous plants by smog or air pollution,” Plant Dis.;(United States), vol. 34, no. 9, pp. 245-252, Sep. 1950. [Online]. Available: 

[28] D. Zhang, J. Liu and B. Li, “Tackling air pollution in China—What do we learn from the great smog of 1950s in London,” Sustainability, vol. 6, no. 8, pp. 5322-5338, Aug. 2014. DOI: 10.3390/su6085322.

[29] K. Wang and Y. Liu, “Can Beijing fight with haze? Lessons can be learned from London and Los Angeles,” Natural Hazards, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 1265-1274, Jun. 2014. DOI: 10.1007/s11069-014-1069-8.

[30] B. A. Schichtel, R. B. Husar, S. R. Falke, et al., “Haze trends over the United States, 1980–1995,” Atmospheric environment, vol. 35, no. 30, pp. 5205-5210, Aug. 2001. DOI: 10.1016/S1352-2310(01)00317-X.

[31] A. Haagen-Simt, “Chemistry and physiology of Los Angeles smog,” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 1342-1346, Jun. 1952. DOI: 10.1021/ie50510a045.

[32] M. Doyle and S. Dorling, “Visibility trends in the UK 1950–1997,” Atmospheric environment, vol. 36, no. 19, pp. 3161-3172, Jul. 2002. DOI: 10.1016/S1352-2310(02)00248-0. 

[33] Z. Liang, X. Ma, H. Lin, et al., “The energy consumption and environmental impacts of SCR technology in China,” Applied energy, vol. 88, no.4,  pp. 1120-1129, Apr. 2011. DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2010.10.010. 

[34] E. Kintisch, “More sophisticated forecasts yield glimmer of hope in climate gloom,” Science, vol. 344, no. 6181, pp. 247, Apr. 2014. DOI: 10.1126/science.344.6181.247.

[35] J. Wu, Q. An, X. Yao, et al., “Environmental efficiency evaluation of industry in China based on a new fixed sum undesirable output data envelopment analysis,” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 74, pp. 96-104, Jul. 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.03.054.

[36] T. F. Guerin, “Transferring environmental technologies to china: recent developments and constraints,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 67, no.1, pp. 55-75, May. 2001. DOI: 10.1016/S0040-1625(99)00096-7.

[37] X. Yu, “Is environment ‘a city thing’ in China? Rural–urban differences in environmental attitudes,” Journal of Environmental Psychology, vol. 38, pp. 39-48, Jun. 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2013.12.009.

[38] E. Saikawa and J. Urpelainen, “Environmental standards as a strategy of international technology transfer,” Environmental Science & Policy, vol. 38, pp. 192-206, Apr. 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2013.11.010.