Consequence–jail time . Would have loved to see this story discussed more widely. 50 steel executives jailed for faking emissions data. It was somewhat of an open secret in China that firms would fake their emissions data. What are you going to do if not reaching your goal is not an option? As a response, China implemented a mandate that data would be send live from the source (sensors at the smoke stacks from what I understand) to the regulator. Now, even if a company wanted to fake their data, there is a high chance that there would be some discontinuities in the data when they change over from one data source (sensors) to another–a computer generating random data. The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Beijing-based NGO, has some of the data, which is very cool.

So now some inconsistencies were found and people went to jail. Now I am wondering: who should go to jail for corporate environmental crimes? Environmental fines are often seen as the cost of doing business. I think it is fair to say that jail time for environmental crimes is rare, especially in countries like the US where corporations are more and more becomming persons, and executives have less and less personal responsibilities. Before I start discussing punishment on the body through imprisonment rather than on the organization, I should probably revisit Foucault’s Discipline and Punish. But I think this warrants a debate. Serial polluters–people, not organizations–are a pest and I will hold onto that fragment of hope that they can be removed from industries.

Julian Barg


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BibTeX citation

  author = {Barg, Julian},
  title = {Julian Barg: Consequence--jail time},
  url = {},
  year = {2022}