Enlightenment from the evolution of international carbon finance legal system to the haze governance in China
Ecological Economy,2015,Vol 31,No. 02
【Abstract】 In February 2014, there is 1.43×106 square kilometers area blanketed by haze in the eastern part of China, and more than half of them is serious polluted, which means it is a matter of great urgency to the governance of haze. For a long time haze governance is emphasized on administrative means, but the outstanding contradiction is the conflict between environmental protection and economic development. Since the end of 2013, a lot of cities in China began to govern the haze in the way of carrying out emission rights trading business, but in the view of international law, the carbon finance whose core is emission rights with a history of twenty years governance to the haze. Compared with the administrative means, this way pays more attention to the price mechanism of the market, which can not only have greater efficiency but also avoid the conflict with the economic development.
Ecological Economy,2015,Vol 31,No. 05
【Abstract】 In recent years, haze weather has become a confusing problem with the development of city. Lots of bare grounds, brown fields, and dust streets bring much negative effect to the natural environment of city. This article analyzes the urban awkward space, and introduces the conception and construction of “ecological adsorption wall” in order to reduce the dust in the air and recreate the awkward space with sustainable ideas and method to control the haze weather caused by the air pollution.
Ecological Economy,2015,Vol 31,No. 09
【Abstract】 With the rapid development of economy in China, fog and haze weather has become more and more serious in recent years, which constitutes a negative impact on life quality of residents and social development. It is mainly caused by man-made factors. China faces severe environmental and ecological crisis, and it needs to readjust economic development pattern urgently. There are three major economic factors which account for the heavy air pollution. They include the rapid urbanization, the imbalanced industrial and energy structure and the lack of environmental regulations and market. Then people should take advantage of the technology innovation to readjust the industrial and energy structure; to establish the system of environmental property rights and the mechanism of joint prevention between governments.
Analysis of factors influencing the sharing of governmental responsibility in regional joint prevention and control of smog
Ecological Economy,2016,Vol 32,No. 01
【Abstract】 The smog frequently attacks many parts of China, and adversely affects the normal operation of society and human health. The control of smog is imminent. This paper argues that the road of regional joint prevention and control must be taken to control the smog, and discusses the necessity of regional joint prevention and control from multiple angles, and then focuses on the influencing factors that should be taken into consideration when making the decision of government responsibility-sharing. The historical responsibility, the interaction between provinces and cities, economic development level, the transfer of pollution industry, economic compensation and the equality rule will affect the process of sharing the responsibility among governments. These analyses provide evidence for the sharing of responsibility among governments of all levels.
Physical and chemical characteristics of atmospheric aerosol under the different weather conditions in Hefei
Acta Meteorologica Sinica,2016,Vol 74,No. 01
【Abstract】 To investigate the compositions and sources of atmospheric aerosols during haze episode in Hefei, samples of atmospheric aerosol were collected using the FA-3 Andersen cascade impactor in urban Hefei in the representative months of 2012 and 2013. The main water-soluble inorganic ions (WSⅡ) (NH4+, Mg2+, Ca2+, Na+, K+, NO2−, NO3−, Cl−, SO42−) for each sample were measured.Based on the records of meteorological parameters during the observations, the samples were divided into four types:clear day,haze day, fog day and mist day. Then, the physical and chemical characteristics of aerosol under those four types of weather were analyzed and compared. The results showed that fog and haze in Hefei usually corresponded to light to heavy air pollution, and the clear day corresponded to good air quality. From clear day to fog or haze day, the concentration of fine particles (PM2.1 in this paper) increased evidently, with increasing percentages of WSⅡ in PM2.1. The ratio of PM2.1 to TSP was 43% for clear days, 52% for haze days, 65% for fog days and 64% for mist days. The ratio of WSⅡ to PM2.1 was 46% (clear day), 67% (haze day), 61% (fog day), 80% (mist day). As for mass concentration, the top three ions in PM2.1 was SO42−, NO3− and NH4+ for fog (mist) and haze days, while the top three ions were SO42−, Ca2+ and NO3− on clear days. The top three ratios of WSⅡ ions in PM2.1 on haze days, compared with the corresponding values on clear days, were 6.1 times larger for NO3−, 3.6 for NH4+ and 3.0 for SO42−, while the top three ratios of WSⅡ ions in PM2.1 on fog (mist) days with the corresponding values on clear days were over 10.0 times for NO3−, over 5.0 for NH4+ and over 4.0 for Cl−. Under those four types of weather,the size spectra for those ions (NH4+, NO3−, Cl−, SO42−) related to anthropogenic activities were obviously different,showing double peaks,single peak and tri-peaks,while the size spectrum for natural emitted ions (e.g., Ca2+) was almost all double peaks under the four types of weather with slight changes. The balances between cations and anions were very good for aerosols below 3.3 μm and changed worse with the increasing size,and it was better on fog, mist and haze days than on clear days. The ratios and correlations among the major anions and between Cl− and Na+ show large differences between clear days and fog/haze days.
Environmental Science,2015,Vol 36,No. 09
【Abstract】 In this study, we evaluated the bacterial, fungal aerosol concentration, and particle size distribution using microbiological aerosol sampler, and analyzed the particles count concentration of PM1.0, PM2.5, PM5.0 and PM10.0 using aerodynamic particle sizer during sunny and haze days in Beijing during Jan 8th, 2013 to Feb 4th, 2013. The concentration of bacterial, fungal aerosol, air particulate matter and aerosol distribution were compared between haze days and sunny days. Our results indicated that the proportion of fungal particles smaller than 5 micron, which could deposit in lungs or deeper regions, was much higher than bacterial particles. The biological concentration of bacteria and fungi were higher in sunny days than in haze days, and there was no statistic difference of the microbiological aerosol distribution. The concentration of air particulate matter were higher in haze days than in sunny days, PM1.0 was the main particulate matters both in sunny days and haze days.
How does urbanization affect the haze pollution control? An empirical study based on the mediating effect
Business Management Journal,2017,Vol 39,No. 08
【Abstract】 The city is the main place where haze pollution occurs. For a long time, the relationship between urbanization and environmental pollution has been one of the problems to be solved urgently in China. Then how to coordinate the relationship between urbanization and haze pollution in the course of rapid urbanization? How to figure out direct and indirect effects of urbanization on haze pollution control? To find out the answers, this paper comprehensively analyzes the effects of urbanization on haze pollution control and approaches to haze pollution control by means of mediating effect and from the three dimensions of urbanization of population, urbanization of land and industrial urbanization.
Ecological Economy,2017,Vol 33,No. 09
【Abstract】 Based on the studies of haze pollution in recent years, this paper summarized the research progress on formation mechanism of the haze pollution in China, distinguished the haze from haze pollution, explored the problems in the study of haze pollution, and put forward some suggestions for the future study.
Embedding effects in evaluation of multiple environmental policies: evidences from Beijing’s haze and sand control policies
China Industrial Economics,2016,No. 08
【Abstract】 This paper first, in theory, explores the causes of embedding effects among multiple environmental policies on the basis of an extended health production function. And then taking haze and sand control policies in Beijing as example, we design a sub sample choice experiment in order to verify embedding effects. Random parameter Logit model is adopted to conduct the estimation, and we simulate 2000 marginal values according to the estimates in each sub sample. Results of mean tests confirm the significant and steady embedding effects, and if the effect is ignored, marginal values of reducing haze and sand would be overestimated by 36.87% and 67.62%, respectively. The results indicate that before conducting cost and benefit analysis of an environmental policy, the policy makers or researchers should carefully examine the possible embedding effects in multiple policies, especially those targeting different pollutants but economic values of the pollutants are correlated or integrated.
Empirical study on the effect of economic growth on haze pollution: analysis of threshold effect based on provincial panel data in China
Ecological Economy,2017,Vol 33,No. 10
【Abstract】 By employing the panel threshold model proposed by Hansen and adopting the panel data of China’s 30 provinces (including municipalities directly under the central government and autonomous regions) and the data of PM2.5 published by foreign authorities, this study analyzes the relationship between economic growth and haze pollution. The results indicate that there is a significant nonlinear relationship between economic growth and haze pollution; and the energy consumption structure, energy intensity, industrial structure and urbanization rate have significant threshold effects on the relationship between economic growth and haze pollution. When these threshold variables reach or exceed certain threshold values, there are significant different changes of either increase or decrease in the impact of economic growth on haze pollution, and corresponding countermeasures and suggestions are put forward accordingly.
The Journal of World Economy,2017,Vol 40,No. 02
【Abstract】 Using China’s provincial PM2.5 annual data between 2001 and 2010, this paper empirically analyzes the impacts of fiscal decentralization on smog pollution and its volatility via spatial Durbin model to reveal the behavior of local governments in environmental governance. We then further test the existence of “free riding” phenomenon for smog pollution. The empirical results show that there is an obvious spatial correlation for the effects of fiscal decentralization on the smog pollution, which indicates that smog pollution of both local and surrounding regions will increase as fiscal decentralization enhances. It additionally shows that fiscal decentralization has no significant influence on local pollutants represented by industrial solid waste. The above findings confirm environmental “free riding” phenomenon in China. Moreover, the direct effect of fiscal decentralization on smog pollution volatility is significantly positive, yet its indirect effect is significantly negative, which leads its total effects to be non-significant. Thus, even though local governments can control the local smog pollution effectively, the control of environment will be weakened due to the “race to the bottom” effects.
China’s choice of economic policy on haze pollution control: from the perspective of spatial spillover effect
Economic Research Journal,2016,Vol 51,No. 09
【Abstract】 Using PM 2.5 concentrations data at China’s provincial level over 1998–2012, we adopt the dynamic spatial panel model and SGMM to empirically identify the key determinants of haze pollution and discuss the corresponding haze-governing policies. The results indicate that China’s haze pollution presents an obvious spatial spillover effect and high-emission “club” agglomeration. There is a significant U-shaped curve relationship between haze pollution and economic growth, and haze pollution is worsening with economic growth in most eastern provincial administrative regions. Due to high-share secondary industry, coal-dominated energy structure, rapid population clustering, and increasing highway traffic intensity, China’s haze pollution is increasingly heavy, while the improvement of R&D intensity and energy efficiency have not played any expectant role in mitigating haze pollution. Therefore, the underlying cause of heavy haze pollution is that its promotion factors are not effectively restrained while its mitigation factors are not significantly performed. China’s haze pollution presents the characteristics of the snowball effect, the leakage effect and the warning effect. Hence, haze control policy should be implemented based on the strategies of unswerving effort, regional joint prevention and control, and punishing one to warn others.
Journal of International Trade,2017,No. 09
【Abstract】 This paper extracts the PM2.5 data of 1998–2010 from the satellite monitoring data, which contains 220 prefecture-level cities of China. Based on the Sp VAR model, this paper discusses the impacts of FDI on Haze pollution in temporal–spatial dimension. The empirical results at the national level show that the increasing FDI significantly deteriorates the city’s Haze phenomenon in the early stage, presenting pollution heaven effect. This effect can maintain for 5 phases before the pollution halo effect appears later. The empirical results of different regions show that pollution heaven and pollution halo effect both exist in China, and the worst impacts are in the eastern region, followed by the western region. However, it shows an effect of improvement in the central region. Local governments need to adjust measures according to different conditions, and timely intervene to prevent pollution of investment projects.
Impacts of haze on the intention to visit China of potential overseas tourists: based on destination image and risk perception theories
Tourism Tribune,2017,Vol 32,No. 12
【Abstract】 In recent years, the topic of air pollution in China has attracted public and media attention at home and abroad. Even international media have presented the situation as a global travel warning. Meanwhile, the number of inbound tourists in China has dropped. Tourism researchers have found that the period of inbound tourism decline corresponds with the time of haze moving from an outbreak to a serious condition. Some researcher has directly asserted that haze is a major obstacle to inbound tourism. However, from 2015 to the present, under a condition of no significant improvements in the air pollution situation, the number of inbound tourists in China showed a strong recovery trend. This suggests the relationship between haze weather and inbound tourism is complex. This study aimed to examine whether the haze would affect potential overseas tourists’ intention to visit China, and why. The study used a questionnaire of Australian and United States residents to collect data. In accordance with the theories of destination image and risk perception, the results were analyzed through factor analysis, regression analysis, and variance analysis. Some conclusions that could be drawn were that air quality has become an important part of the destination image of China; haze weather as a main form of risk perception has a negative impact on China’s tourism destination image; potential overseas tourists’ perceptions of air quality and fears of haze have surpassed the importance they ascribe to historical, cultural, and natural attractions; and the haze has become the main obstacle of the intention to visit China. This study proposes that risk factors should be included in measurements of destination image, and risk perception and emotional evaluation. At the same time, the study also found there are significant differences in the perceptions of haze between the genders, between people from different countries, between people who have been to China and those who have not, and between people who have different experiences of traveling abroad. Finally, this study put forth some measures to serve as a reference for related management departments, including environmental management, efforts to combat a national tourism image crisis, creating websites about haze for dissemination of open and transparent information, and various approaches applying different promotional methods.
Smog control and its economic and social effects: a CGE analysis based on “coal-restricted area” policy
China Industrial Economics,2017,No. 09
【Abstract】 The “coal-restricted area” policy has a significant effect on reducing coal consumption and smog pollution and emission. In this paper, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei are defined as the core coal-restricted areas, while Shandong and Henan are regarded as the peripheral coal-restricted areas. In the meantime, the computable general equilibrium model is adopted to simulate the smog control and emission reduction effect and economic and social influences of different coal restriction intensity. The results show that the stricter the coal restriction is, the better the effect of smog control is and the greater the pressure on economic and social development is. Different smog control targets need the corresponding coal-restricted measures. In the short term, a complete ban on coal can be implemented in both Beijing and Tianjin with little impact on the economic and social development. However, the proper intervals of the coal-restriction ratio in Hebei, Shandong and Henan should be [16%, 31%], [32%, 35%] and [20%, 27%], which indicates that these provincial areas can withstand economic pressure, but need external employment support. In the long term, the proper intervals of coal-restriction ratio of Hebei, Shandong and Henan should be [43%, 72%], [62%, 65%] and [34%, 57%], which means that these provincial areas face huge economic and social pressure and may need 5–8 years to adjust. Based on the above findings, this paper puts forward some policy recommendations, including differentiated implementation of coal restriction policy, gradually expanding the scope of the coal-restricted area, building central fiscal subsidy mechanism, combining a variety of smog control and emission reduction policies, and actively implementing coal substitution strategy.
Ecological Economy,2018,Vol 34,No. 03
【Abstract】 Smog has a spatial spillover effect, so the inter-government collaborative governance is needed. The construction of cost sharing mechanism for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei smog treatment is the key to realizing the cooperation between Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. This paper put forward the questions which are focused on cost accounting method of smog: cost accounting of health loss of smog, cost accounting of the end-pipe governance of the pollutants and comprehensive cost assessment model of atmospheric pollution. Then, we reviewed the boundary and sharing method of the environmental cooperation cost from the aspects of game theory. We summarized four models of the cost sharingpolicy of cooperative governance of smog from the aspect of public policy designing: administrative regulation model, applying market mechanism model, building the market model and social network model. After viewing of the current collaborative governance policies of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei smog, cost sharing policy measures were put forward. The future research needs to work in the following direction: exploring specific areas suitable for the cost sharing of smog treatment and exploring the multiple subjects of cost sharing of the smog management.
The influence of industrial structure adjustment on haze pollution: an empirical study of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region
Ecological Economy,2018,Vol 34,No. 10
【Abstract】 Applying the panel data of the cities of the Jing-Jin-Ji region from 2013 to 2015, this paper carries out an empirical study on the influence of industrial structure adjustment on haze pollution from two dimensions of industrial structure optimization index and rationalization index. The results show that the relationship between haze pollution and optimization index of industrial structure is a U-shaped curve, and the present optimization index is on the right side of the inflection point. The rationalization index of the industrial structure has a significantly positive relationship with haze pollution. The relationship between economic growth and haze pollution does not comply with the environmental Kuznets hypothesis, rather, it presents an inverted-N curve. The haze pollution has a significant negative correlation with economic scale and the openness, but it has a significant positive correlation with the built-up area. Accordingly, we need to further accelerate the upgrading from producer service industries to service industries with the focus on knowledge and technology, open up wider to the outside world and enhance green ecological construction to reduce the dust pollution.
Economic Research Journal,2018,Vol 53,No. 02
【Abstract】 Along with its high-speed economic growth, China faces the problem of dramatic environmental deterioration. In particular, China’s severe air pollution, characterized by an unprecedentedly high level of PM2. 5 concentrations, has recently drawn increasing attention both at home and abroad. Air pollution regulations reduce the output level in the short term; however, during an era in which China’s economy is shifting from a stage of high growth to high-quality development, the influence of air pollution regulations on economic development quality is a greater concern. Using the unique PM2. 5 concentration data at China’s prefectural level and above over the period 2004–2013 and proxying economic development quality by labor productivity, this paper investigates how air pollution influences economic development quality and its influential channels and, in particular, how government regulations influence economic development quality by influencing air pollution abatement. Furthermore, to alleviate the potential problem of endogeneity, this paper chooses two variables, the air ventilation coefficient and government environmental regulations, as the instrumental variables (IV) for PM2.5 concentrations, which in turn allows us to estimate the influence of government regulations on air pollution and their subsequent influence on economic development quality in a unified econometric framework of two-stage OLS (2LS). The air ventilation coefficient is measured by the product of wind speed and atmospheric boundary layer height. In addition to serving as the IV of PM2. 5 concentrations due to its high exogeneity and relevance, it controls the unique spatial spillover effects of the air pollution variable, which is conducive to the identification of the effects of the key variable of government regulations on air pollution at the first stage of 2 SLS in this study. Additionally, the variable of government regulations is measured by the amount or proportion of environmental vocabulary in government work reports, which allows us to comprehensively measure the strength of environmental regulations promulgated by local government. The results indicate that, on average, air pollution significantly lowers China’s economic development quality; urbanization and human capital are important channels through which air pollution influences China’s economic development quality; the negative impacts of air pollution on economic development quality are significantly higher in larger cities and become increasingly significant over time; and government regulations can effectively reduce air pollution, thereby increasing the quality of economic development in China. The results imply that the extensive growth model has caused severe air pollution and that air pollution has damaged economic development quality in China. Such a vicious circle can be solved only by passing and enforcing reasonable and effective government environmental regulations. In such a case, the input factors are able to continuously flow from the sectors of high energy consumption and pollution emission with low efficiency to those with high efficiency. The total factor efficiency and productivity then gradually increase, finally leading to the optimization of the economic structure and achieving the win-win target of high-quality environmental and economic development. This outcome is what supply-side structural reform aims to achieve in dealing with the pair of permanent relationships between environmental protection and economic development. This paper contributes to the literature in the following three ways. First, instead of investigating how economic development affects the natural environment, as in most current research, this paper concentrates on the effects of environmental deterioration on economic development. Second, PM2.5 concentration data covering China’s 286 prefectures over the period 2004–2013 are constructed. As far as we know, this is the largest historical PM2.5 concentration dataset from China used in economics. Finally, by means of the 2SLS strategy, this study alleviates the potential endogeneity problem and qualifies the effects of government environmental regulations on air pollution and their additional impact on economic development quality in a unified framework.
Study on the environmental effect of industrial transformation under the haze spatial spillover: an empirical analysis based on Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and 31 surrounding cities
Ecological Economy,2019,Vol 35,No. 01
【Abstract】 This paper, taking Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and its surrounding prefecture-level cities as the research objects, uses a spatial econometric model to study the relationship between industrial transformation and ecological environment quality. Global spatial correlation test found that there is a clear positive spatial correlation of air pollution in this area, and local spatial correlation test found that the central and southern cities in the region were environmental pollution clusters. The two tests verified the necessity of including environmental effects of industrial transformation into spatial spillovers. Based on this, the level of industrial transformation is quantified through the rationalization of industrial structure and advanced indicators, and then the spatial measurement model is used to comprehensively measure the environmental effects of industrial transformation. The results show that the cities in the region are on the left side of the summit of the environmental Kuznets Curve, and the relationship between environment and economic development needs to be coordinated; the industrial transformation has obvious positive effect on environment improvement, however, the environmental positive effect of the advanced industrial structure is obviously higher than that of the rationalized industrial structure, accelerating the advancement of industrial structure in the region is the key policy of coordinating the relationship between environmental and economic policy.
Smog besieging the city: the influencing mechanism of smog perception on talents flow tendency under dual channel perspective
Business Management Journal,2018,Vol 40,No. 11
【Abstract】 In response to whether smog pollution will affect the flow tendency of talents in smog-polluted areas, this study explores the connotation, dimensions and measurement questionnaires of smog perception from the perspective of “dual channels” of outflow tendency of employment talents and inflow tendency of learning talents in smog-polluted areas. The concept of smog perception is categorized into six dimensions: smog essence perception, physical health risk perception, mental health risk perception, work (learning) behavior perception, government control ability perception, citizen responsibility behavior perception. Smog essential perception, physical health risk perception, mental health risk perception and work (learning) behavior perception emphasize the negative effects of smog on people’s physiology, psychology and life. It is the risk that people are passively perceived because they are exposed to smog pollution, therefore, these four dimensions belong to smog risk perception, while citizen responsibility behavior perception and government control ability perception emphasize the extent to which individuals perceive themselves or other organizations (others) from the perspective of active control to take positive actions to reduce smog risk and thus belong to smog control perception. Therefore, it can be considered that the smog risk perception and the smog control perception may constitute “smog perception” from the passive and active perspectives, respectively. Then the two kinds of perceptual variable roles are deduced theoretically, and a preliminary conceptual model is constructed from the perspective of independent variables and moderator variables. At the same time, on the basis of literature review, this paper seeks place identity as an intermediary variable between smog risk perception and talents flow tendency, and brings it into a unified research framework to form a final conceptual model, and then discusses the internal influencing mechanism of smog risk perception on talents flow tendency. The results show that the four dimensions of smog risk perception have different effects on the flow tendency of employment talents and learning talents. Physical health risk perception and mental health risk perception not only have a positive impact on the outflow tendency of employment talents, but also have a negative impact on the inflow tendency of learning talents. Smog essence perception has no significant impact on the flow tendency of employment talents and learning talents. Government control ability perception and citizen responsibility behavior perception moderate the relationship between smog risk perception and talents flow tendency. As far as the employment talents are concerned, the perception of government control ability perception significantly weakens the positive influence of mental health risk perception on their outflow tendency, and the perception of citizen responsibility behavior significantly weakens the positive influence of physical health risk perception on their outflow tendency. In terms of learning talents, government control ability perception significantly weakens the negative impact of mental health risk perception and physical health risk perception on their inflow tendency. This study divides place identity into five dimensions: external evaluation, overall attachment, continuity with the past, familiarity and commitment. From the perspective of “dual channels” of talents flow, this study finds that the mediating role of place identity is different for different subjects. Specifically, the five dimensions of place identity partially mediate the relationship among physical health risk perception, mental health risk perception, work (learning) behavior perception and outflow tendency of employment talents. External evaluation and commitment partly mediate the relationship between physical health risk perception and mental health risk perception and inflow tendency of learning talents. Finally, according to the above research results, in view of the differences in smog risk perception and smog control perception between employment talents and learning talents, this study puts forward policy-driven management suggestions from the perspective of government and organization, and combining with the different emotional effects of place identity on employment talents and learning talents, this study also puts forward some emotional-driven management suggestions. It is hoped that under the dual drive of policy and emotion, some practical guidance will be provided for the introduction and retention of talents in smog-polluted areas.
Economic Review,2017,No. 05
【Abstract】 Based on the data on the listed firms in China classified as heavily polluting corporations during 2009–2014, this paper observes the influence of the off-the-chart smog event by the end of 2011 on the financing capability of the heavily polluting corporations and explores the effecting mechanism of such an influence. Both methods, be it differences-in-differences or fixed effect plus Bootstrap (self-sampling), show a negative net effect that the smog event has on the financing ability of heavily polluting corporations; the result of group regression based on property (ownership) shows, to non-state run group corporations, the above-mentioned negative effect is more significant yet the influence on state-run group is rather small; the subsequent expanded research also discovers, over-investment behavior of the heavily polluting corporations has been significantly inhibited. The drop of financing ability of the corporations caused by the smog functions partly as an intermediate for the effect in the above-mentioned inhibition mechanism.
Economic Research Journal,2019,Vol 54,No. 02
【Abstract】 Since the reform and opening up of China, rapid economic development has come at the cost of massive energy consumption and serious environmental pollution. In recent years, frequent air pollution has raised concerns among the public, government, and scholars. The haze pollution problem is especially acute in China’s more urbanization regions. Hence, more attention should be paid to the potential effects of China’s accelerated urbanization. Whether haze pollution is exacerbated in the process of urbanization is an important issue that warrants detailed investigation. However, prior studies have not provided clear empirical evidence or suggested mechanisms to explain this issue. Using provincial-level panel data from 1998 to 2013, this paper constructs a composite index of night-light data and PM2.5 concentration from satellite monitoring to measure, respectively, the level of urbanization and degree of haze pollution. We examine the different influences of two kinds of urbanization promotion modes (i.e., compact intensive pattern and scale expansion pattern) on haze pollution. The results indicate that China’s haze pollution has a significant spatial spillover effect. After controlling this effect and the endogeneity problem, we find a significantly positive relationship between haze pollution and urbanization, rather than an inverted U-shaped curve relationship. This indicates that China’s urbanization process is still exacerbating haze pollution. However, regional sample analyses indicate that there is a significant inverted U-shaped curve relationship in eastern China. This implies that the aggravation of haze pollution is a phased phenomenon with accelerated urbanization rather than an inevitable outcome of urbanization, and that haze pollution can decouple from urbanization under some conditions. Mechanism analyses show that the agglomeration effect and the structural effect are the two main transmission channels through which urbanization affects haze pollution, while the mediating effect of technical progress is not statistically significant. These findings have important policy implications for haze pollution abatement against the backdrop of China’s accelerated urbanization. We advise the government to adhere to the principle of regional joint defense and control for haze pollution governance and give priority to compact cities, restricting the blind expansion of city scale. Generally, achieving the win-win of urbanization promotion and haze pollution reduction is a complex and systematic project. Our findings suggest that decoupling urbanization and haze pollution as soon as possible will require changing the current mode of extensive urbanization. The marginal contributions of this paper lie in the following four aspects. First, we build a novel and comprehensive indicator of urbanization based on global night-light data monitored by satellites because of the drawbacks (i.e., institutional deficiency and statistical error) of the more traditional urbanization measure of urban population proportion. Second, we take river length, wildfire activity, and birth rate as instrumental variables of urbanization to further control the endogeneity problem and obtain robust results. Third, we identify the different impacts of two urbanization modes (i.e., compact intensive pattern and scale expansion pattern) on haze pollution. For the first time, we confirm that the compact expansion pattern is conducive to reducing haze pollution, while the scale expansion pattern has the opposite effect. Fourth, we examine the mechanism of urbanization affecting haze pollution using the mediating effect model.