The alert, the highest possible warning level, was issued in Beijing late Monday and will last until midday on Thursday.
China’s capital city of Beijing is facing a serious pollution problem. Officials determined on Monday that the gray smog had become so thick that it was necessary to declare the city’s first-ever red alert, the highest level of environmental alarm. The alert forced schools to close on Tuesday. Across Beijing, work was halted （暂停）in factories and half of the city’s vehicles were kept off the roads.
Most of Beijing’s smog is blamed on coal-fired power plants, car emissions, and construction and factory work. “This is modern life for Beijing people,” office worker Cao Yong said. “We wanted to develop, and now we pay the price.” "It is a sharp warning to us that we may have too much development at the price of environment and it is time for us to seriously deal with air pollution,'' said Beijing worker Fan Jinglong. Experts reported that the amount of tiny particles（颗粒） of pollution in the city’s air is more than 12 times above the safe level. "You have to do whatever you can to protect yourself,'' Beijing resident Li Huiwen told AP news agency.
While the smog's effects have been worsened by weather conditions and the city's geography - bordered to the south and east by industrial areas that generate pollution and to the north and west by mountains that trap it - it has prompted increasing concern that China has prioritised（按优先顺序列出） economic growth at too high an environmental cost. The dangerous air pollution levels are a reminder of China’s environmental challenges.
The chief negotiator of China here points to our continued investment in renewable sources of energy, in an effort to cut down on coal consumption, particularly in urban areas. Around 58% of the increase in the country's primary energy consumption in 2013-14 came from non-fossil fuel sources. These efforts to go green may not be having an immediate effect on the air in Beijing but they have had an impact on global output of carbon dioxide.