Experts Question Viability of Beijing Auto Ban

Despite Beijing's plan to cut pollution by cutting driving, foreign experts say that smog could still blow in from coal-burning plants outside the city, according to a July 23 press release.

"For about 20 years, they have gotten rid of coal-burning in the city, but in the surrounding provinces, coal-burning has increased, so there are some things outside of the purview of the blue sky plan," said Jennifer Turner, director of the China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

The Chinese capital in August 2007 tried out the auto ban as a four-day trial run. Car ownership has risen 300 percent in 6 years, making it the world's second-largest auto market, according to a report by the China Environment Forum. The report also identifies other trends and environmental health impacts of China's car use, including booming growth in highways, drive-throughs, and gas stations; its foray into biofuel use and production; and the health risks associated with car emissions.

The China Environment Forum has been active since 1997 in creating programming and publications to encourage dialogue among U.S. and Chinese scholars, policymakers, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations on environmental and energy challenges in China. For more information, visit www.wilsoncenter.org/cef.

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