CRF Blog

Beijing’s smog makes Los Angeles air look good

by Bill Hayes

The Los Angeles Times reports that Beijing’s smog makes Los Angeles air look good.

“Comparing California 30 years ago to China today is apples and oranges,” says Eugene Leong, an air pollution expert and former executive director of the Assn. of Bay Area Governments who has been teaching at Peking University for several years. “How bad was PM2.5 in California in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s? We don’t know. … Was it as bad as what China is experiencing now? My educated guess is probably not as bad.”

C. Arden Pope, an economics professor at Brigham Young University and an expert in environmental science, says it’s hard to believe that average annual PM2.5 readings in Los Angeles ever approached 100. “Beijing [today] is at least twice as bad as L.A. at its worst,” he says. [more]