SOURCE: Asia Society

Asia Society

December 16, 2016 02:53 ET

Asia Society Report: U.S. Technology, Regulatory Experience Can Help China Meet Air Quality Goals

BEIJING, CHINA--(Marketwired - December 16, 2016) - U.S. clean air technologies and regulatory experience can play an important role in helping China meet its ambitious air quality improvement goals, according to a new report published by Asia Society, the Clean Air Alliance of China, and Energy Foundation China.

China and the U.S. have a long history of collaboration on air quality and climate policy. The report argues the benefits of continued collaboration will grow as China enters a new phase of air quality management, focusing on secondary pollutants like fine particular matter and ozone rather than primary pollutants emitted from industrial smokestacks. This transition occurred over several decades in the U.S.

Achieving the goals laid out in China's recent Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law and Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Action Plan will require a rapid and extensive deployment of clean air technologies and an enabling regulatory environment that encourages manufacturing innovation and technology adoption. This large-scale deployment of clean air technologies could also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping achieve China's longer-term climate policy goals.

A Clear Opportunity: U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Air identifies China's critical technological and regulatory needs, highlights some of the best practices the U.S. has achieved in tackling air quality, and explores opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration.

Based on a review of emerging technologies, the report identifies five priority technology areas for China-U.S. collaboration:

  • Advanced air quality monitors;
  • Integrated designs and clean fuels for heavy-duty vehicles;
  • Electrification of passenger vehicles and buses;
  • Low environmental impact solvents;
  • Leak detection and repair for refineries, chemical plants, and pipelines.

The report also considers how regulation -- from emissions standards to technology mandates -- can enable the development and deployment of clean air technologies. Drawing on the experience of U.S. and California regulators, the report suggests a number of regulatory design considerations that may be valuable for regulators in China:

  • A science and technology foundation that provides a firm basis for air quality management;
  • Stakeholder engagement that builds the consensus, trust, and commitment necessary to enable manufacturing innovation and technology adoption;
  • Long-term vision and clear goals that provide long-term visibility and certainty on forthcoming regulations to manufacturers, equipment owners, government agencies, and the general public;
  • Integrated planning that enables goals for multiple pollutants (PM2.5, ozone, SO2) and greenhouse gas emissions to be met simultaneously and at lowest cost;
  • Incentives that encourage adoption of clean air technologies, as well as a source of funding to pay for incentives;
  • Proactive enforcement that uses the latest available technologies, matches enforcement programs to compliance strategies and technologies, imposes meaningful penalties for noncompliance, provides performance guarantees through warranties, and encourages transparency through accurate labeling and certification.

Finally, the report includes a survey of 18 clean technology manufacturers in the U.S. and their experience with the market for clean air technologies in China. Survey respondents identified five areas where support from governmental and non-governmental organizations could facilitate smoother market entry into the Chinese market for clean air technologies:

  • Assistance in building local partnerships;
  • Stronger protection of intellectual property rights;
  • An enhanced regulatory framework that provides stronger enforcement, clear incentives, greater transparency, and clearer roles and responsibilities;
  • Great public awareness of air pollution issues;
  • Greater international harmonization of air quality and greenhouse gas standards and the technologies used to meet those standards.

The report was launched at the 2nd Bluetech International Clean Air Technology Forum in Beijing organized by Clean Air Alliance of China.

The drafting of the report benefited from our partnership with the State of California and the many agencies tasked with spearheading the State's ambitious clean energy goals. These include California's Air Resources Board, Environmental Protection Agency, and Energy Commission. Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) also provided technical support during the process.

About Asia Society

Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context. Across the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, the Society provides insight, generates ideas, and promotes collaboration to address present challenges and create a shared future. Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit institution with major cultural centers in New York, Hong Kong, and Houston, and offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Washington, DC, and Zurich.

About Clean Air Alliance of China

Clean Air Alliance of China (CAAC), initiated by 10 key Chinese academic and technical institutions in clean air field, aims at providing an integrated clean air collaboration platform in China for academic and technical institutions, provinces, cities, non-profit organizations, and enterprises. Its overarching goal is to improve air quality in China and mitigate the negative impacts on public health due to air pollution. The members of CAAC include academic institutions, provinces, cities, as well as other nonprofit organizations and enterprises that care about clean air.

About Energy Foundation China

Energy Foundation China, established in Beijing in 1999, is a grantmaking charity organization dedicated to China's sustainable energy development. It is registered under the Ministry of Civil Affairs as Energy Foundation Beijing Representative office and supervised by the National Development and Reform Commission of China. It is a part of the Energy Foundation, which is based in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

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