Photo of Beijing smog by jaaron on Flickr.
Last week, the Chinese government demanded that foreign embassies stop reporting independent air pollution measurements. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing, for example, has a monitor on its roof that automatically tweets information about the city’s particulate and ozone pollution.
The government claims that its objection is based on the small sample size such readings necessarily represent. The real critique, of course, is that air pollution in that nation’s capital is an on-going source of tension and embarrassment – one that they’d rather not be a matter of public knowledge. It’s embarrassing to have your carefully crafted messaging fall apart in the face of scientific evidence.
But that’s China – a repressive regime that mirrors 1984, right? They don’t know the freedoms and honest debate that comes from living in a democracy.
Hold that thought.
That’s from the BBC, by way of Climate Progress. Note: this is not a repeat. Our earlier story about sea-level rise reflected North Carolina‘s efforts to make measuring the rise illegal. This story, believe it or not, is probably stupider.
And in some ways what Stolle insisted upon is even more egregious than what China has asked. China at least admits that there is pollution, arguing that embassies shouldn’t publish data because it represents only a small sample size. At least that argument is rooted in some sense of how science works. Stolle, on the other hand, considers an expression describing the state of the world to have a political bias. The analogy would be China claiming that the expression “air pollution” is a tool of capitalist oligarchs.
If they did, I’m curious how State Delegate Stolle would react.