As Chinese negotiators attend UN talks on verifying cuts to carbon emissions, Beijing’s air quality deteriorated to the point where its residents are advised not to go outside.
At an academic conference in Beijing on Monday, a meteorologist, Zhang Xiaoye, emphasized again that coal is the main source of pollution, according to The Beijing News. Last year, China consumed 3.61 billion tons of coal, equal to the rest of the world combined. The effects are visible on a weekly basis, especially in northern Chinese cities. On Tuesday afternoon, readings on the air quality index at the United States Embassy in Beijing exceeded 400, well into the “hazardous” range, in which people are not supposed to venture outdoors.