The Hypocrisy of Outsourcing Pollution

Joseph Kahn and Mark Landler of the New York Times do a great job of reporting on the dirty little secret: the west is getting cleaner air and generating less greenhouse gas because we have outsourced it to China. They follow a major steel plant in Dortmund, where ThyssenKrupp sold it to the Chinese, who came over and dismantled it, and reassembled it in Handan. "They worked day and night," said Erwin Schneider, a spokesman for ThyssenKrupp. "They could never have done it that fast if they were governed by German labor laws."
coal mine turned into park with lakes, Goitzsche

Now Dortmund, which went through a bit of a recession as it lost 40,000 steelmaking jobs, has a performing arts complex being built out of two old blast furnaces, and the Ruhr is a capital of culture. In Essen, a depleted coal mine has been converted into a museum and performing-arts center. In Bochum, a 105-year-old gas-fired power plant is now used as a concert hall, its vaulted roof providing professional-quality acoustics.

In Handan, citizens "live in a miasma of dust and smoke that environmental authorities acknowledge contains numerous carcinogens....People do not eat outdoors, to avoid having black briquettes flake their rice."Hangang knocks 10 years off people's lives."

The next time we pat ourselves on the back for reducing carbon emissions or complain about China, we should look in the mirror first; on a global scale we haven't reduced anything, we just moved it. ::New York Times

Tags: China | Coal | Germany | Pollution

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