Researchers debunk “China energy myth”

China's air pollution is not caused by outmoded energy technology or the absence of government regulation, a study by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds. The detailed survey says the problem lies in the complex interactions between market forces, commercial pressures and new types of governmental regulation.

The report involved dozens of managers at 85 power plants across 14
Chinese provinces, and found that while most new plants were built to
very high technical standards, there were problems in the way that the
energy infrastructure was being operated and the types of coals being

New market pressures encouraged plant managers to buy the cheapest,
lowest quality and most polluting coal, the report said. At the same
time, expensive-to-operate smokestack scrubbers or other cleanup
technologies lay idle.

The researchers said the situation is more amenable to change than
people may assume. "With expanding regulatory capacity and
increasingly sophisticated efforts to regulate through market-friendly
pricing mechanisms, reformers could achieve change relatively
quickly", report co-author and associate professor at MIT, Edward
Steinfeld, said.

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