Clean Air and Energy Projects in China
NOTE: This page is being redeveloped with new content. It currently contains descriptions of both completed and ongoing work. A more current exploration of our work can be found on the Collaboration with China page.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been collaborating with its counterpart, China's Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), on environmental issues for over two decades. In December of 2003, EPA and SEPA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (PDF) (10 pp, 375 K, About PDF Files), providing a forum for EPA and SEPA to take a more strategic approach to our extensive cooperation. The MOU established the Working Group on Clean Air and Clean Energy to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Strategy for Clean Air and Energy Cooperation (PDF) (5 pp, 306 K, About PDF Files).
Under the Clean Air and Energy Strategy, EPA and SEPA are working together to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases (GHG). The Strategy focuses on strengthening regional coordination of clean air and energy management in key regions of China and addressing priority sectors affecting air, environment, and public health (initially, the power and transportation sectors). These focus areas leverage expertise and funding from a variety of other partners, as well.
EPA/ SEPA cooperative projects include:
In addition to activities managed directly with SEPA under the MOU, EPA also has a long history of collaboration on air quality and energy-related activities with other government partners in China. These EPA projects with other primary partners in China also support the Clean Air and Energy Strategy:
- Clean Indoor Air
- Voluntary Energy Energy Efficiency Improvements in Commercial Buildings
- Energy Efficiency Labeling and Standards for Products and Equipment
- Government Energy Management
- Wind Technology Partnership
- Methane Programs
Regional Air Quality Management
The Air Quality Management (AQM) Assessment project explored the feasibility of applying U.S. AQM methods and technologies to a large Chinese city. EPA worked with SEPA and the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau to assess and compare capabilities at the national and Shanghai regional levels. The assessment included a broad range of air quality management elements, such as the development and use of an emissions inventory, the design and use of an ambient monitoring network, local and regional air quality modeling, development of control strategies, development of regulations, and public participation and outreach at the national and local levels. The project's principal activities include training, exchanges, and workshops, with an emphasis on building capacity in monitoring, inventories, and modeling.
Beijing Olympics Air Quality Subgroup
To assist Beijing with its goal of having healthy air for the 2008 Summer Olympics, EPA participates in the U.S.-China Joint Working Group with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, co-chairing the Air Quality Subgroup. Specific projects build on work begun under the bilateral Clean Air and Energy Strategy. For instance, EPA is cooperating with SEPA and the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau to pilot to demonstrate the feasibility of retrofit technologies on diesel buses in Beijing to lower emissions, as well as the broader benefit to air quality of using low-sulfur fuels. EPA is also supporting efforts to develop a system to help decision-makers determine the most cost-effective strategies for managing air quality in the greater Beijing region. Additional efforts may include capturing and using methane from local landfills and incorporating energy efficient products and building design into the Olympic Village.
Air Quality Modeling and Emission Inventory Project
The first phase of Air Quality Modeling and Emission Inventory project is aimed at building capacity and transferring technology to Chinese scientists at the national and regional level. This project supports a preliminary scientific assessment of the regional formation and transport of ozone, PM, acid rain, etc. The second phase of this bilateral cooperative project is to conduct pilot regional and urban air quality modeling projects in three key regions, including Bohai (Beijing/Tianjin region), Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai region), and Pearl River Delta (Guangzhou/Hongkong region). As part of this effort, an air quality management decision support system is being developed under a cooperative project sponsored by the World Bank. EPA also plans to assist and train Beijing municipal authorities in conducting an air quality modeling assessment for air quality planning for the 2008 Olympics.
Integrated Environmental Strategies
The Integrated Environmental Strategies (IES) program is building capacity in China to develop, analyze, and implement policies that reduce greenhouse gases (GHG), improve air quality and protect public health. The IES methodology enables developing countries to assess, quantify and compare clean energy and transport technologies, policies, and measures in terms of the local air quality and public health benefits, GHG reductions, and other economic impacts. The methodology is being applied at both the local (Shanghai and Beijing) and national levels. The project has completed comprehensive co-benefits analyses in Shanghai and Beijing, conducted national and local policy-makers’ workshops to discuss results, published several papers in Chinese journals, and presented results in several international meetings. Visit IES Program for more information.
Clean Fuels and Vehicles
EPA, as a founding member of United Nations Environment Programme Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles , signed a bilateral work plan with SEPA in 2004 to undertake an integrated set of fuel and vehicle projects. These projects: 1) provide analytical, technical and policy assistance in expediting adoption of ultra-low sulfur vehicle fuels; 2) demonstrate retrofit technologies for existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles and build capacity for replicating retrofits; 3) promote the introduction of innovative diesel emissions reduction technologies as quickly and cost effectively as possible, while providing confidence in the emission reduction performance of the technologies; 4) assist in analysis for and drafting of clean fuels and vehicles policies, standards and guidance; 5) assist in compliance management strategies and implementation to include manufacturer testing, recall, on-board diagnostics, equipment verification, in-use testing, and more; 6) cultivate partnerships to introduce advanced clean vehicle technologies into China; 7) provide visiting scholar and training opportunities in EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and 8) provide in-country workshops, training, guidance materials and public outreach related to clean fuels and vehicles. Visit Diesel Retrofit Project in China for more information.
Market Mechanisms to Improve Air Quality
Acid rain and ambient concentrations of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and fine particles (PM2.5) are major environmental problems in China. The Chinese government has developed a number of policies to address these problems, including the Total Emissions Control (TEC) policy. The TEC policy restricts total SO2 emissions from all sectors of the economy. The government allocates portions of the limit to individual sources in the form of an emissions target.
EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs is helping the SEPA assess opportunities and obstacles to implementing emissions trading programs to control SO2 emissions. An emissions trading program would allow emission sources to meet their emissions targets at a lower cost.
EPA and SEPA have completed a feasibility study (English, Chinese) that explores many of the obstacles to implementing an emissions trading program and presents possible solutions to these obstacles. The two agencies are currently drafting a policy guide and building the institutions and infrastructure for improved air quality management policies.
Advanced Reburn System Pollution Control
The Advanced Reburn System Pollution Control project provides technical assistance on cost-effective control of nitrogen oxides (NOx), persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and other pollutants, such as mercury, from combustion sources. The project includes a feasibility study of the advanced reburn system technology for a candidate boiler, the conceptual design and detailed engineering drawings, the manufacture and installation of the reburn component, and system "shakedown" and testing.
Reducing Dioxins/Furans Emissions from Cement Production
China produces more than 40% of the world’s cement, and cement plants are believed to rank among China’s top 5 sources of dioxins/furans emissions. In addition, cement plants account for over 40 percent of total industrial particulate (dust) emissions and between 6 and 8 % of carbon dioxide emissions in China. Mercury and heavy metals may also be released. EPA’s Office of International Affairs, Office of Research and Development, and Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards are assisting SEPA to develop a source inventory and emissions factors for dioxins/furans from cement production; to develop guidelines for controlling emissions; and to identify mechanisms for encouraging and funding companies to retrofit highly polluting cement kilns with pollution controls. EPA is assisting SEPA to develop emissions factors for dioxins/furans, as well as other pollutants emitted by cement kilns, and to estimate the benefits of control strategies.
Clearing the Air from Tobacco Smoke: Creating Healthy & Safe Environments for Children
EPA and the World Health Organization (WHO) entered into a cooperative agreement in 2000 to develop pilot programs to reduce childhood exposure to environmental tobacco smoke . The WHO-EPA project uses a social marketing module to train local leaders on the hazards of second hand smoke and to develop community-level action plans. There are 5 cities in China that will be involved in the project. Three of the action plans will be funded by EPA and two will be funded by China's Ministry of Health.
Partnership for Clean Indoor Air
The Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) addresses the increased environmental health risk faced by more than 2.5 billion people in the developing world who burn traditional biomass and coal indoors for cooking and heating. EPA awarded two $150,000 grants to implement innovative, community-based programs to reduce indoor air pollution from household energy use in China. The grants were awarded to the Institute for Environmental Health and Related Product Safety (IEHS) of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention and The Nature Conservancy China Program. These grants are increasing the use of affordable, reliable, clean, efficient, and safe home cooking and heating devices that reduce people’s exposure to indoor air pollution. To learn more, visit the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air website.
Voluntary Energy Efficiency Improvements in Commercial Buildings
EPA is working with Chinese partners to build capacity for achieving reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) and local air pollutants through adoption of voluntary, profitable measures that reduce energy consumption in commercial buildings. Currently focused in Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai, the project promotes voluntary low-cost/no-cost measures by owners and managers of commercial buildings to improve Energy Efficiency (EE), and provides EE technical resources through training seminars, Web site (www.epa.gov/eeBuildings), and newsletters.
Energy Efficiency Labeling and Standards for Products and Equipment
EPA is providing technical support to the Government of China to enhance capacity to Establish and develop labels to reduce pollutants through a voluntary EE labeling program similar to ENERGY STAR. Specifications have been developed for over 25 product categories including televisions, room air-conditioners, and printers. In addition, EPA supports the Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) to provide technical support to Chinese partners in designing and implementing minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and mandatory information labels for appliances and equipment. Activities are co-sponsored with the Energy Foundation, UN Foundation and other international sponsors.
Government Energy Management
EPA is working with the Promoting an Energy-efficient Public Sector (PEPS) program to support implementation a major program of government procurement of energy efficient products. This program has supported the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission in the development and, beginning in January 2005, implementation a staged, 3-year program to establish energy-efficient purchasing practices at all levels of government in China The program builds on labeled products already developed under the Energy Efficiency Labeling project above. In addition, EPA is providing training on low cost/no cost building energy management measures to government partners through the eeBuildings program.
Wind Technology Partnership
The Wind Technology Partnership is a joint US EPA and US DOE program in China to accelerate the development and utilization of grid-connected wind power in China. The program is an extension of the Technology Cooperation Agreement Pilot Program in China, where wind power was one of four technologies selected by China as priorities. WTP is being implemented by the US in partnership with China's National Development and Reform Committee, China's Energy Research Institute and China's Center for Renewable Energy Development. WTP is currently focusing on overcoming institutional and market barriers to grid-connected wind power in China, with a focus on Hebei province.
Methane to Markets Partnership (now known as the Global Methane Initiative)
Under the multilateral Methane to Markets Partnership (now known as the Global Methane Initiative), EPA is engaging in capacity building, and project implementation activities in China to facilitate methane capture and use projects in the Coal, Landfill and Agriculture sectors. For example:
- In the Coal Sector EPA funds the China Coalbed Methane Clearinghouse. This Clearinghouse, housed by the China Coal Information Institute. The Clearinghouse provides information and logistical support to private businesses and foreign and domestic government agencies interested in coal bed methane and coal mine methane development in China. Visit the China Coal Information Institute's website for notices about upcoming projects and activities.
- In the Landfill sector, USEPA is working with the Chinese government to develop feasibility studies for projects in Beijing where landfill gas is used as an alternative vehicle fuel. This work is being done in coordination with the EPA’s Beijing Olympics Air Quality Subgroup.
Links and Resources
- China State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).
- China Sustainable Energy Program (CSEP)
- United States Embassy in China
- Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau
- Global Village of Beijing
- Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles
- China Environment Forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
- Harvard University Energy Technology Innovation Project
- Clean Water, Blue Skies: China 2020 (World Bank)
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory China Energy Group
- United Nations Development Programme in China
- Partnership for Clean Indoor Air: Household Energy, Indoor Air Pollution and Health: Overview of Experiences and Lessons in China (PDF)(108 pp, 1.8MB About PDF Files)
For additional information on EPA's projects in China, contact:
Mark Kasman (email@example.com)
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460