Beijing had a smog problem. Billions had been spent to reduce pollution, with limited to no success. Factories had been shut or shifted out of town. Special scrubbers were made mandatory for power plants, and electric heaters were installed to replace coal in ancient courtyard homes. Saplings were planted and parking lots were paved. Yet, incessant construction and rapid growth in automobile numbers added to the problem. A year to the day before the start of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the president of the International Olympic Committee suggested that a few of the endurance events might need to be postponed (BBC Sport 2007). A fortnight before the inauguration of the games, the government forced over a million cars off the streets, suspended construction activity, and halted work at several hundred factories in surrounding provinces. Artificial rainmaking through cloud seeding was seen as a “natural” way to clean the air (AP 2007). Cars bearing odd-numbered license plates were required to drive on odd-numbered dates and those with even-numbered plates on even dates. Further, cars that shared the same last number of the license plate with the date were to stay away for the day (Spencer 2008). The antipollution measures disrupted workday commutes for residents and caused thousands of others to take time off work, involuntarily, and with cut-rate wages. Many of the restrictions were extended to neighboring cities and provinces. Domestic retailers found it difficult to replenish inventory. Exports were hit. Consumers in China’s export markets suffered too. The air quality was also expected to adversely affect athletes’ performance, especially those with asthma or other respiratory problems. Beijing remained wrapped in a gray haze. “When we grew up pollution wasn’t a problem, because we didn’t have all this industry,” observed steel trader Zang (Oster 2008).


International Olympic Committee Capita Emission Cloud Seeding Income Decile Fossil Fuel Subsidy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Verdurous Solutions Private LimitedMysoreIndia

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