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Here is the China Air Quality Newsletter for April 2016, where we picked some highlights over the past one month. Of course, please feel free to kindly pass the newsletters to your friends who are interested in environmental issues in China. Our Air Quality Newsletters will continue delivering high-quality news to our concerned readers. You can click on this link to forward our email:[UNIQID]

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China Air Quality News

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  China Air Quality Newsletter

April 2016


China and US agree to sign the Paris Agreement

In a joint statement issued during Chinese president Xi Jinping’s March visit to the US, the two countries confirmed that they will sign the Paris Agreement at the UN summit held on April 22 in New York.

At the Paris climate conference in December, China reiterated a commitment to peak its carbon emissions by 2030 (first made by president Xi at a meeting with president Obama in November 2014). China also pledged to lower its carbon intensity level by 60 to 65 percent against a 2005 baseline; and increase the proportion of non-fossil fuels in its energy mix to 20 percent by 2030.

The Obama administration’s domestic strategy to curb carbon emissions is represented in the Clean Power Plan. The plan is designed to cut emissions by 32 percent by 2030 and greatly boost the development of renewables.
The joint statement is the third of its kind issued by the world’s top two carbon emitters. Together, the US and China account for around 40 percent of the world’s total emissions.

Shenzhen Aims for WHO-II PM2.5 Standard

On March 23, at a workshop that Energy Foundation China helped to organize, the city of Shenzhen announced an ambitious new goal of reaching the World Health Organization's interim target II fine particulate matter (WHO-II PM2.5) standard—annual concentration of less than 25 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3)—by 2020. This makes Shenzhen the first city in China to voluntarily set up a more stringent target than China’s national air quality standard.    

Shenzhen is the first metropolitan city in China with a population of over 10 million to successfully achieve China’s national PM2.5 annual concentration standard of 35 µg/m3. In 2015, Shenzhen’s PM2.5 stood at 30 µg/m3. In contrast, Beijing’s 2015 PM2.5 annual concentration stood at 80.6 µg/m3. Most Chinese cities are still failing to meet the national standard.  

Shenzhen’s achievement has strong symbolic value. The coastal metropolis is one of the four cities that China designates as Tier I, the other three being Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Demonstrations of good policy in these Tier I cities have a strong influence over the rest of China.

The new target is a leap forward, but Shenzhen will still have to refine its control measures and implement them effectively. Energy Foundation China, CAAC and other partners, will provide technical support in these areas. In the long term, Shenzhen’s achievement has the potential to become the benchmark for China’s next national air quality standard. 

Phoenix TV (Hong Kong/Shenzhen station) interviewed Hao Jiming and Chris James at this event. This clip aired on March 24th.

World Bank provides $500 million loan to support China's air pollution battle in Jing-Jin-Ji region

On March 22, World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a loan of USD $500 million to China to support an initiative around innovative financing for air pollution control in the Jing-Jin-Ji region. The new initiative aims to reduce air pollutants and carbon emissions by increasing energy efficiency and clean energy, with a focus on the Jing-Jin-Ji and neighboring regions, specifically Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, and Henan.

This initiative will help implement China’s Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan, released by the State Council, and push commercial banks to further develop their green credit systems. This initiative will also help Hua Xia Bank provide loans to support enterprises with emission reduction goals.  

Starting from August 2015, the Innovation Center for Clean-air Solutions (ICCS), the secretariat of Clean Air Alliance of China (CAAC), has been commissioned by the World Bank and the Energy Foundation, and provided background research and technical support around this lending program design. ICCS produced “Jing-Jin-Ji Regional Air Quality Management Policy Implementing Analysis” (hereinafter Report) and submitted to the World Bank. The Report analyzed Jing-Jin-Ji region’s various pollution prevention and control measures and action plans and emission reduction potentials. The Report also focused on overall coal reduction policies and measures including energy efficiency and renewable energy development measures, and the financing needs in order to implement various air pollution control measures.

Activities in the Field

Permitting System Workshop

On March 24, the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO), Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), and Energy Foundation China (EFC) jointly organized a permitting workshop in Beijing. Experts from the Air Quality and Technical and Science divisions of MEP, the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning (CAEP), Renmin University, and Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP) participated in the meeting. 

With the goal to improve air quality control and management, a permitting system is under development by MEP. This workshop provided international experience and technical assistance on the design and management of a permitting system, which will help implement the new air law and 13th Five Year Plan. 

Representatives from MEP discussed the relationship between emission standards and Best Available Technology (BAT) standards, and the roles and responsibilities for the government and business. International experts introduced key principles of Best Available Control Technology (BACT) as well as key components, and discussed the similarities and differences between the United States and European permit systems. 

International experts recommended that China include a funding scheme to sustain the permit system over the long-term, as is done the United States and Europe. In both, enterprises help to pay for the operations of a permit system, which also improves transparency and the ability to ensure that the objectives of China’s air quality plans are achieved. Both sides agreed to continue cooperating in the coming months to help build a robust permitting system, and to apply BAT in China.

Landmark Report Provides Detailed Information on Air Pollution throughout China

Comprehensive information on national, regional, and city-level air pollution data and policies throughout China is now available with the English-language release of Clean Air Asia’s groundbreaking “China Air 2015: Air Pollution Prevention and Control Progress in Chinese Cities” report.

The report – the first of a series to be produced annually until 2018 by Clean Air Asia’s China office as part of its “Promoting Science‐Based and Stakeholder‐Inclusive Air Quality Management in China” Project – provides air quality data for 74 major cities from 2013 to 2014. It also summarizes the pollution-control policies of those cities, the three key regions (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta), and nationally, and provides an analysis of Beijing and Shanghai’s experiences.

The report objectively monitors the implementation and progress of the multi-level policies that are being or will be enacted under the Chinese government’s 2013 “Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan”, which maps out the nation’s air pollution prevention and control efforts until 2017.

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AQ News in English

Xinjiang city tops China's Q1 smog list
2016-04-19, China Daily

Cities' efforts to lower pollution prove to be a success
2016-04-14, China Daily

Congested Chinese city to open carpool lane
2016-04-13, Global Times

Hebei hits anti-pollution target ahead of schedule
2016-04-07, China Daily

More cities take bonus and penalty in air pollution
2016-04-06, China Daily

Jing-Jin-Ji will likely miss 2030 clean air targets
2016-03-30, China Dialogue

Suzhou to slash PM2.5 pollution by 20% from 2013 level
2016-03-23, China Daily

Air pollution top public environmental complaints in China
2016-03-22, Xinhua

Smog-Fighters Target Rural China's Coal Stoves
2016-03-22, Caixin

Beijing to award whistleblowers on environmental violations
2016-03-18, Global Times

AQ News in Chinese   (with translated summaries and titles)

Guangdong Province: Shenzhen aims for “bluer sky”
2016-3-28, China Environmental News
The Shenzhen Environmental and Science Research Institute, Clean Air Alliance of China, and Energy Foundation China jointly-released their latest report “Multiple Wins for Blue Sky, Low-carbon and Economy: Shenzhen Experience.”  According to the report, the main reasons leading to Shenzhen’s blue sky include industrial and energy restructuring and effective implementation of its air pollution prevention and control measures. Shenzhen reduced coal use from 38 percent to 6.3 percent in the last 15 years. Shenzhen also took comprehensive legal, administrative, and economic measures to address environmental issues, which has proven to be very successful.

Beijing: Environmental Protection Bureau launched “Air Pollution Enforcement Year “action plan 
2016-3-23, China Environmental News
The action plan aims to manage the production, sale, and use of scattered coal; clean up four kinds of emissions (coal combustion emissions, VOCs emissions, industrial and vehicle emissions); reduce three types of dust (construction, road, and burning dust). Financial or administrative punishment will be given to any entities that fail to comply with air laws.

Guangdong Province: PM2.5 decreased year by year in Guangzhou city, what’s the secret? 
2016-3-16, China Environmental News
Guangzhou is an important transportation hub situated at the heart of the Pearl River Delta, so emissions reduction is a big challenge. However, monitoring data showed that the air quality has steadily improved because of its great efforts in four areas: 1) reducing the use of coal by adjusting the energy structure and establishing “no coal burning zones”; 2) promoting green public transportation, such as using LPG buses and taxis, adopting more stringent vehicle emission standards; 3) reducing dust; and 4) controlling oil fumes.

Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves works with China to reduce indoor air pollution, improve people’s health and living condition.

Hebei, Shandong and Henan Province: PM2.5 reduction reached around 20% in Cangzhou (Hebei), Linyi (Shandong) and Zhengzhou(Henan)after Ministry of Environmental Protection reprimanded local governments for their air quality problems.
2016-4-14, The Paper

Inner Mongolia and Beijing: Cross regional carbon emissions trading will start this year to promote regional cooperation on air pollution control.
2016-4-10, China Environmental News

Jiangsu Province: now able to forecast air quality 5 days ahead.
2016-4-8, People

Henan Province: Zhengzhou government set the annual average concentration target of PM2.5 as 79μg/m3 this year, and RMB500,000 penalty will be given to the local authority for each μg above the target.
2016-4-5, China Environmental News

Hubei Province: Wuhan initiates 6 special actions to attack environmental crimes.

Henan: Large construction field required to install video monitoring devices at major dusting points.
2016-3-29, The Paper

Shaanxi Province: Air quality has gotten worse in 5 cities, Shaanxi provincial government issued alerts to local air authorities, urging them to adopt effective anti-pollution measures.
2016-3-25, The Paper

Tianjin: A detailed task list and a compliance evaluation rule were developed to implement the Clean Air Action Plan.
The list specifies the timeline, roadmap, and responsible personnel for each task. Tianjin targets to reduce its air quality index, the annual average concentrations of PM2.5, and PM10 by over 12 percent. 

Hebei Province: Heibei province invested RMB45.7 billion in air quality management in the past 3 years, reducing the annual average concentration of PM2.5 by 18.9% in 2015.
2016-3-16, China


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.
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