Some years ago, I worked on an article about acid rain in Taiwan; found that at least some of the island’s air pollution could be traced to Shanghai area. Here, findings show pollution from China travels much further – not that China unique in this, what with PCBs in polar bears etc.

By TERENCE CHEA Associated Press Writer MOUNT TAMALPAIS STATE PARK, Calif. (AP) – On a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Steven Cliff collects evidence of an industrial revolution taking place thousands of miles away. The tiny, airborne particles Cliff gathers at an air monitoring station just north of San Francisco drifted over the ocean from coal-fired power plants, smelters, dust storms and diesel trucks in China and other Asian countries. Researchers say the environmental impact of China’s breakneck economic growth is being felt well beyond its borders. They worry that as China consumes more fossil fuels to feed its energy-hungry economy, the U.S. could see a sharp increase in trans-Pacific pollution that could affect human health, worsen air quality and alter climate patterns. … The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that on certain days nearly 25 percent of the particulate matter in the skies above Los Angeles can be traced to China. Some experts predict China could one day account for a third of all California’s air pollution. … . If current trends continue, China will surpass the U.S. as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the next decade, said Barbara Finamore, who heads the Natural Resources Defense Council’s China Clean Energy program, which is helping the country boost its energy efficiency. “China’s staggering economic growth is an environmental time bomb that, unless defused, threatens to convulse the entire planet regardless of progress in all other nations,” Finamore said. Even Chinese environmental officials warn that pollution levels could quadruple over the next 15 years if the country doesn’t curb energy use and emissions. Beijing plans to spend $162 billion on environmental cleanup over the next five years, but the scale of the country’s pollution problems is immense. … China’s environmental challenges are daunting, but the country is taking action to reduce its energy use and air pollution, said NRDC’s Finamore. Beijing has set ambitious goals for increasing energy efficiency, fuel economy standards and use of renewable power sources such as wind and solar, she said. “There are tremendous opportunities for China to slow the amount of pollution it pumps in the air,” Finamore said.

China’s Air Pollution Reaches U.S. Skies