The smog currently smothering Beijing made me think of the infamous smogs that covered London in the 1950s, and probably have the same sort of origin. Most common in winter, they are often caused by a temperature inversion in the atmosphere over a city. This 'traps' cold polluted air beneath it and prevents dispersal. For those who love to beat western society with the "pollution" stick, perhaps this is a reality check. Not many western cities suffer from this problem any longer - but almost every city in the 'developing world' does.
Perhaps it's time to take a look at why? Or maybe not, for those of that mindset the pollution in Beijing and elsewhere is all the fault of the west. Their argument runs along the lines of "if the west didn't buy the goods, the XXXX wouldn't be 'forced' to produce them and pollute their cities."
I think its time to stop pointing fingers and blaming the society that actually enables these morons to pursue their blinkered agendas. It is time to start looking at this problem realistically and find some workable solutions. You can't tell people not to use their cars if the alternative is unreliable or inadequate. You can't tell people not to use coal to heat their homes if the alternative is no heating or too expensive to use.
In the meantime, Beijing has a problem, until the weather lifts and the wind begins to blow the smog away.
Week in review – science edition
38 minutes ago