The New York Times editorial page is using this photo of Shanghai to promote the myth that air pollution kills.
The offending paragraph in the editorial “The High Cost of Dirty Fuels” is:
Although we have exhaustively debunked the notion that air pollution kills here, it is worth noting the following.
The air in Shanghai (as in most other large Chinese cities) is routinely awful. For example on December 6, 2013, Shanghai’s PM2.5 level exceeded 600 micrograms per cubic meter — about 60 times the average level of PM2.5 in U.S. air. It looked like this (incidentally making the New York Times photo look like that of a sunny day):
According to the U.S. EPA claim that every 10-microgram-per-cubic-meter increase in PM2.5 raises the death rate by about 1%, Shanghai’s death rate should be quite high — e.g., 60 times higher on December 6, 2013, alone.
But no such increase in death rate was reported. In fact, no increase in deaths at all was reported.
It’s also worth noting that the Chinese report life expectancy in Shanghai to be 82.47 years — higher than any U.S. city.
Yes, the air in Shanghai is foul. Is it killing people? There is no evidence of that.