Despite years of official rhetoric and a couple of years when there was a noticeable improvement, the air seems to be getting worse and could even present the new administration of Xi Jinping with a credibility crisis. Chinese and international experts say one of the biggest problems the government faces is the willingness of officials at all levels to sacrifice environmental concerns for the overriding imperative of economic growth.
A lack of accountability, the weakness of agencies tasked with tackling the issue and the ease with which data collection and presentation is manipulated all compound the problem.
“China’s national leaders have ordered an improvement in air quality but thanks to misreporting and manipulation of data at the lower levels, they often aren’t aware of the severity of the problem,” says Steven Andrews, an environmental consultant who exposed official manipulation of air pollution data in Beijing in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games.
It is favorable to environment. It reduces carbon emission and slows down the exhaustion of resources, which can realize the sustainable development of limited energy.
This practice fosters a favorable social atmosphere for environment protection. To be specific, this limit will arouse people’s awareness of environmental situation and, therefore, make greater efforts for the improvement of it.
This restriction can promote the development of energy saving technologies and that of innovative means of traveling. With the airplane limited, people will certainly work on more oil-efficient alternatives for it.
It brings inconvenience to travelers. If airplanes are restricted, people traveling long distances would have to spend much time on the way.
This policy would be unfavorable to the economy. To be specific, it would cause the income decrease of airlines and even the bankruptcy of them.
It is harmful to social equality. If this restriction is introduced, the ordinary people would be deprived of their equal right to fly. Flying will then be monopolized by the privileged class.
The effectiveness of this policy in improving environment is highly questionable. Limiting air travel will simply cause the rise of the use of other means and will make little difference to the total pollution and carbon emission.
It is unfavorable to international relations. To be specific, it increases the difficulties to the communication between peoples of different countries.
It is also harmful to people’s spiritual life. It reduces people’s happiness of international travel and the pleasure brought by flying itself.