The article discusses how China's economy is closely tied to its environmental policy, stating that their economy slows when the nation makes strides toward its efficiency goals. The decision to close the specific types of factories affected is meant to encourage manufacturers toward more advanced technology in terms of production and product. For instance, the article mentions that closing steel processing plants "push[es] steel makers into the production of more sophisticated kinds of steel."
The factories, due to close by September, employ thousands of workers who tend to live on site. The Chinese government had to work around strong pressure from these communities to move forward with the closures, which come on the heels of a policy change "halting" discount energy prices to inefficient industries "like aluminum production." The article mentions labor shortages in many cities throughout the country, which could provide alternate jobs for the affected workers if they are able to relocate.
When these workers do find new employment, even with organizations equipped to meet not only the energy efficiency plan, but also work toward China's plan to reduce "its carbon emissions per unit of economic output by 40 to 45 percent by 2020," the Times says this will still not be enough. The article discusses a growing economy, car ownership, and appliance purchases throughout the country that leave China on track for total carbon emissions to "rise steeply in the next decade."