Heavy smog in the Chinese capital blankets the city at the start of the climate summit in Paris. Julie Noce reports.
People living in Beijing woke up to another day of hazy skies on Monday as thick smog continues to blanket the city on the same day world leaders meet to discuss the climate in Paris. The city's air quality index which includes measurements of airborne pollutants like sulphur dioxide stood over 500 - the worst this year. The Chinese government says people should stay indoors when levels reach above 300. Residents who were outside said the smog was uncomfortable. For every breath, when you get up in the morning your throat will feel somewhat prickly, this person said. Environmental experts say besides being a public health issue, China's pollution is damaging the country's economy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF CLEAN AIR NETWORK, KWONG SUM YIN, SAYING: "The Central Government they know that actually climate change is no longer, or air pollution is no longer, and environmental or public health issue. It's actually hurting the economy as well. I think they really know that. So I do think they would like to do something for it, but it's still not enough, that's what I would say." China's smog highlights the country's issues in battling pollution caused by the coal-burning power industry and will raise questions about its ability to clean up its economy at the United Nations climate summit in France. Despite promises to slash coal consumption, environmental officials admit China is unlikely to meet state air quality standards until at least 2030.