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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.