In the early stages of establishing systems for air quality regulation, China has an opportunity to develop programs and institutions that simultaneously address the interrelated problems of climate change and air pollution cost-effectively. An important step in this direction occurred in May 2010, when China’s highest decision-making body, the State Council, issued a first-ever regulation on regional air quality management. It set forth stringent requirements for improving air quality in key urban areas across the country.
Exciting innovations in the rule include broad restrictions on new coal-fired industrial facilities, a trial cap on the total volume of coal consumed and the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy as measures to reduce local air pollution. RAP is assisting local Environmental Protection Bureaus in implementing the rule, as well as advising central-level agencies responsible for developing guidelines that will set the standard for air quality planning in cities and provinces.
The ongoing revision of China’s Air Pollution and Prevention Law, a process which RAP is also supporting, is another legislative vehicle that can provide a foundation for the coordinated regulation of the energy and environmental sectors. Our goal is to promote approaches to air quality management that complement the longer-range climate protection objectives.