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Calling for Co-control of Air Pollution and Climate Change

Experts at a 14 October workshop, “Climate Action and Environment Protection: Pollutants and Greenhouse Gases Co-control,” reached consensus that co-control under China’s Air Law should be promoted at both the policy and implementation levels.

The workshop was organized by the Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy (PRCEE) and Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) in collaboration with Energy Foundation China (EFC). More than 30 experts attended, including participants from MEP, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Tsinghua University, and Clean Air Alliance of China.

PRCEE Deputy Director General Yuan Qingdan emphasized that using economic means to co-control pollutants and carbon will be an important strategy in the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016–2020). The traditional administrative means to control air pollution are no longer cost-effective nor appropriate for energy consumption control. Alternative means include raising pollutant pricing to reduce the propensity to pollute, voluntary emissions reduction commitments, and emission rights trading.

Li Junfeng, Director General of National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Co-operation (NCSC), said that coal consumption control is the key to co-controlling air pollutants and carbon emissions. “It's all about the choice of growth path,” he said. “Air pollution and climate change are the two drivers of the energy revolution. Gradually decoupling of coal consumption from economic growth is necessary.”

Feng Xiangzhao of PRCEE argued for using co-control to promote green development of three key industries—iron and steel, cement, and transportation. “We have found that root-of-pipe measures have higher co-control effects, including raw material and/or fuel substitution and energy structure change. Some process control measures, especially energy efficiency techniques, also demonstrate good effects.”

Tonny Xie, director of the Secretariat of CAAC, presented co-control case studies from the practices of local governments such as Shenzhen, as well as tools for co-control analysis.

Zhao Lijian, program director at Energy Foundation China, introduced climate-friendly measures in air pollution control and provided suggestions for implementation. “We recommend developing co-control requirements and guidelines for local governments to include co-control analysis in their future air quality attainment plans, and conducting more co-control analysis of national energy and environmental policies, to implement the co-control principle under the air law.”

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