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Environment Magazine September/October 2008

 

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Commentary: Red and Green: Public Perception and Air Quality Information in Urban China

Public environmental awareness, as one of the crucial driving forces for environmental improvement, relies on a well-informed society.1 For example, urban air pollution was a significant concern for both Europe2 and the United States3 during their urbanization, and now China steps into their position. In a study of the Chinese population, 42% of those surveyed were mostly concerned about either urban air pollution or its health effects.1 However, the ways to manage urban air quality through monitoring, information, and participatory approaches remains under discussion.46 Since the fall of 2011, the authors have observed a natural experiment in how the pubic reacts to pollution data that has evolved over time. The result has been increasing debates on the persistent smog and fine particulates (PM2.5) in urban China among the public, government, and media.

Lingxuan Liu is a PhD candidate who focuses on climate regimes, multilevel governance and sustainable public policy studies. He is also a research fellow of IHDP, Earth System Governance.

Pan He is a master student with an interest in environmental economics.

Bing Zhang is an Associate Professor with an interest in environmental governance and environmental policy issues.

Jun Bi is a Professor with an interest in environmental governance and environmental policy issues. He is also the Dean of the School of Environment, Nanjing University, China.

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