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In recent decades, data collection has improved dramatically in many areas.Yet, when it comes to pollution, and specifically air quality, not nearly enough attention has been paid to data collection and analysis, especially in emerging economies like India and China, where air quality deterioration is obvious and severe. Though broad figures are being collected, there are not enough granular data to provide a clear picture of the specific factors affecting air quality.At the national level, China's government has been doing impressive work to improve its pollution data in order to guide its environmental strategy, which includes, among other things, the world's largest carbon-pricing system, covering seven provinces.This is not to say that data alone should determine policy.The only way we can hope to overcome the momentous environmental challenges the world faces emphasized, for example, in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report is to use every tool we can.That means collecting data and using what we learn to design the right rules and incentives, without ignoring human behavior and psychology.
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