China Air Quality Newsletter

November 2016


Beijing Targets Fossil Fuel in Fight Against Air Pollution

In 2013, Beijing set a goal to keep coal consumption within 10 million tons per year by 2017. Measures to achieve the goal include shutting down thermal power plants, promoting clean energy, abandoning the use of coal in the city's urban areas, and limiting the use of coal in outer suburbs. Under the "coal-to-electricity" project, the municipal government has granted subsidies for residents to purchase electric heating equipment and pay electricity bills. The project aims to cut the amount of coal used in Beijing by 3.2 million tons, which will cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 8.3 million tons and sulfur dioxide by an estimated 27,000 tons.

State Council Issues Pollutant Permitting System Guidelines

On November 21, the State Council issued guidelines for a permit system (Chinese) for discharging pollutants. The permitting system will initially cover thermal power plants and paper mills and then expand to cover all stationary sources by 2020. Permits given though the system will be the only administrative permission for companies to discharge pollutants. The system will set unified standards on emissions for the targeted industries across the country and cover as many pollutants as necessary. The application process will be transparent and integrated with Environmental Impact Assessment policies. For activities with minor environmental influence, the Ministry of Environmental Protection will streamline procedures.

Last November, RAP highlighted the need for a Chinese permitting system along with recommendations for its design in this blog post. The published guidelines and the RAP suggestions share several features.

Activities in the Field

Changzhou Municipality Co-control Workshop on Air Pollution and Prevention and Control

On November 1, the Changzhou Municipality Co-control Workshop on Air Pollution and Prevention and Control was held in Changzhou City. With participants from municipal and district-level government as well as technology enterprises, this workshop provided a platform for summarizing the achievements of Changzhou’s air quality management and promoting co-control. With support from Energy Foundation China, treatment of volatile organic compounds in the Changzhou Binjiang Economic Development Zone will be a Clean Air Alliance of China pilot project.

Seminar on Volatile Organic Compounds and Low-Emission Zones Pollution Control Held in Shenzhen

A seminar on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Low-Emission Zones Pollution Control was held in Shenzhen on November 3. Representatives from environmental protection departments, scientific research institutions, academia, and enterprises were gathered at the seminar. Shenzhen has set a goal to keep the annual average concentration of PM2.5 within 25μg/m3 by 2020 (the current standard in the European Union). To reach this goal and to achieve overall improvements in air quality, Shenzhen must to carry out targeted pollution control work aimed at the key pollution sources.

Clean Energy Project Initiated to Tackle Disaggregated Coal Causing Smog During Heating Season

Experts from Innovation Center for Clean-air Solutions (Secretariat for Clean Air Alliance of China) and Beijing Municipal Research Institute of Environmental Protection recently went to Langfang, Hebei Province to investigate application of electrode heating boiler technology. The technology aims to substitute disaggregated coal and improve air quality in the Jing-Jin-Ji region. Disaggregated coal, used for heating purposes in rural areas, accounts for 10 percent of the coal burnt in the region, but is the source of half of the pollutant emissions.

Beijing Air-Borne Carcinogens Plummet as Less Coal is Burned

Just a few years ago, Beijing’s smoggy air was full of the toxic heavy metal elements arsenic, lead, and cadmium. New research from Greenpeace East Asia and the Beijing Environmental Mutagen Society, however, shows that concentrations of the carcinogens have fallen dramatically since 2013. Arsenic levels now meet China’s national standards, where previously it exceeded them by 385 percent—a massive victory for public health.

A Global Strategy to Introduce Low-Sulfur Fuels and Cleaner Diesel Vehicles

Diesel engines power the dominant share of goods movement, construction equipment, and public transport vehicles in the global economy. A new strategy from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presents a roadmap to reduce small particulate and black carbon emissions from the global on-road diesel fleet through the introduction of low-sulfur fuels and cleaner diesel vehicle standards. 

Evolution of Incentives to Sustain the Transition to a Global Electric Vehicle Fleet

A new report by the ICCT analyzes near-term electric vehicle trends to inform governments on how to optimally evolve their electric vehicle incentive programs to sustain market growth.

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AQ News in English

China to Spend $100bn on Wind Power by 2020
2016-11-30, People's Daily
China Risks Wasting $490bn on New Coal Plants, Say Campaigners
2016-11-28, The Guardian (China Climate Change info)
Capital Tightens Emission Standards for Automobiles
2016-11-22, China Daily
China’s EV Push Hurting Fuel Economy Standards
2016-11-21, Chinadialogue
Shijiazhuang Lays Out Tougher Plan for Emissions
2016-11-19, China Daily
China to Boost Geothermal Power Consumption in 2016-2020
2016-11-18, China Daily
2,200 Officials in Three Provinces Held Accountable for Lax Environmental Efforts
2016-11-16, China Daily
Beijing Unveils Five-Year Plan to Tackle Air Pollution
2016-11-10, Caixin
Hebei to Reduce Household Coal Use
2016-11-09, China Daily
Local Officials Can Sue Polluters for Damages
2016-11-09, China Daily
Hebei Officials Punished for Slack Pollution Control
2016-11-08, China Environment Media
Monitoring Stations Freed of Interference
2016-11-08, China Daily
State Council Issues Plan to Promote Low Carbon Development
2016-11-04, State Council
Beijing Rolls Out Stricter Vehicle Fuel Standards to Curb Pollution
2016-11-01, China Daily

AQ News in Chinese   (with translated summaries and titles)

China Issues 13th Five-Year Plan for the Power Sector
2016-11-09, Economic Daily
The National Energy Administration has released the 13th five-year plan (2016-2020) for the power sector. The overall goal of the plan is to establish a clean, decarbonized, reliable, and efficient electric power system in the next five years. The plan focuses on structural adjustment, site selection of generating facilities and grids, distribution network, system adjustment capacity, power system efficiency, as well as institutional reforms and innovation.

Jiangsu Province, Changzhou City: Volatile Organic Compounds Control and Treatment Plan Developed in the Pilot Zone
2016-11-22, Clean Air Alliance of China
Shanxi Province: Aim to Increase New Energy Vehicles to Above 100,000 Units by 2020
2016-11-10, China Environmental News
Jing-Jin-Ji Region (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei): Industrial and Vehicle Emissions Major Sources of Recent Pollution
Ministry of Environmental Protection Publishes List of Polluting Companies in Northeastern China
2016-11-05, People’s Daily Online
Ministry of Environmental Protection Issues Fines Totalling RMB 550 Million to Companies Failing to Meet Environmental Requirements From January to September
2016-11-02, Xinhua News
Heilongjiang Province: Plan to Lower the Threshold for Heavy Pollution Warnings
2016-11-12, Heilongjiang Morning Paper
Gansu Province, Lanzhou city: Half of Official Vehicles Will Be Parked During Second-Highest Air Pollution Alert
2016-11-09, Xinhua News


China Air Quality Newsletter provides the latest news and activities about air quality in China. This monthly newsletter is compiled by Innovation Center for Clean-air Solutions (the Secretariat for CAAC), Energy Foundation China, and Regulatory Assistance Project, with contribution from our partner organizations.
Copyright © 2016 ICCS, EF & RAP, All rights reserved.
P.S. Did anything stand out to you about our newsletters? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments or questions about our China Air Quality News, so please don't hesitate to send them over.

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