Experts from Around the World Attend International Forum “Restoring Blue Skies”
The Energy Foundation China hosted “Restoring Blue Skies: Air Quality Management International Forum” in Beijing on November 16th, 2013. Nearly 200 policy makers, experts, and industry leaders, including Zhao Yingmin, Director General of the Department of Pollution Prevention and Control, Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), Eric Heitz, President of the Energy Foundation, and Hao Jiming, professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Environment and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering attended the forum. Focusing on the current air quality problem facing China, participants engaged in in-depth discussions and provided a host of policy recommendations on overall strategy, regional control mechanisms, and industrial policies.
“Air pollution is affecting many countries across the world and poses a difficult challenge. However, experiences from developed countries showed us that air quality could be improved dramatically within 5-10 years if we drastically reduce emissions,” said Eric Heitz, President of the Energy Foundation, in his opening remarks. He also emphasized that the main source of air pollution is the burning of fossil fuels, an area in which China could make a huge difference. The Energy Foundation has made “restoring blue skies” one of its primary goals.
At the forum, Zhao Yingmin, Director General of MEP’s Department of Pollution Prevention and Control, reviewed the government efforts in atmospheric pollution control in China. He pointed out that the government needs to aggressively implement the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan released by the State Council. To improve public health and environmental conditions, the government will focus on creating a new mechanism for air pollution prevention and control.
Internationally renowned experts including Alan Lloyd, President of the International Council of Clean Transportation (ICCT), former Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, and former Chairman of California Air Resources Board, and John Murlis, former Chief Scientist and Director of Strategy at the Environment Agency for England and Wales, UK, shared their experiences in air pollution prevention in California and London. Wang Jinnan, Vice President and Chief Engineer of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning, shared an analysis of the environmental and socio-economic impacts of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan.
Ni Weidou, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and former Vice President of Tsinghua University, explained the relationship between Beijing’s levels of PM2.5 and winter heating sources and proposed innovative solutions for this source of pollution. He Kebin, Dean and Professor of Tsinghua University’s School of Environment proposed several methods to improve air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area. Yang Jintian, Deputy Chief Engineer of Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning discussed the coal cap policy as a key tool for air quality management. The conference also addressed the reduction of exhaust emissions, an important step in enhancing air quality. Tang Dagang, Director and Professor of MEP’s Vehicle Emission Control Center discussed pollution control strategies for the transportation sector, while Michael Walsh, founding Chairman of the Board of Directors of ICCT, discussed China’s vehicle emissions standard’s ambitions for 2020, as well as control targets, roadmaps, and the short-term impacts of fuel quality improvement.
The forum also hosted a ceremony for the establishment of the “China Clean Air City Network”, initiated by MEP’s Foreign Economic Cooperation Office, Energy Foundation China and the Clean Air Alliance of China (CAAC). It will provide guidance and support to Chinese cities striving to improve air quality, and partnership opportunities for more targeted air quality management technical support. Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have already joined the China Clean Air City Network, and more cities are expected to join soon.