China’s air pollution problem is hurting the country’s green energy goals, according to a new study.
Aerosols resulting from power plants and motor vehicles may be blocking out sunlight and reducing solar power output as much as 35 percent in China’s northern and eastern industrial zones, according to a Princeton University study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Chinese officials have taken the country’s pollution problems more seriously in recent years as economic growth wanes. Environmental officials have shut down entire industrial regions to, at least temporarily, clear up air quality. Coal plants and mines have been shut down and replaced with natural gas in some places to alleviate pollution.
“We understand that current air quality fails to meet people’s expectations,” China’s Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie told reporters on Monday. “People should be patient about improvements in air quality improvement as it will take time to solve such a big problem.”