On March, 2 2012, China's State Council passed revised air quality standards that include new indices for ozone and PM2.5 These regulations are an important new part of the government's efforts to strengthen overall air pollution control of SO2, NOx, PM and ground ozone. According to MEP, two-thirds of China's cities currently fail the new air quality standards and these smoggy cities now have until 2016 to start adopting the stricter standards. The short timeline aims to pressure local governments to improve the efficiency of industries and reduce dependence on coal.

MEP also recently initiated a new "Regional Air Quality Control and Co-Control of Multi-pollutants" program, which aims to push cities to control SO2, NOx, PM and other pollutants simultaneously. In their role of providing MEP with technical support to design new policies and regulatory tools, MEP's Policy Research Center for Environment and Ecology (PRCEE) and Beijing Normal University (with support from the Energy Foundation) have developed a methodology for co-control of multi-pollutants and GHGs. This co-control strategy is being piloted in several Chinese cities. By using this methodology, MEP hopes to broaden the co-control program over time to include energy and water issues in addition to air pollutants and GHGs.

Please join us for an insightful conversation with two researchers, Hu Tao and Mao Xianqiang, who will discuss how these co-control methods serve MEP in implementing the current 12th Five-Year Plan targets and the new air quality standards and the understand the prospects of some on-the-ground pilot projects in cities and the power sector in China.

Susan Ananberg will put MEP’s co-control work into the broader context of U.S. and global co-benefits research and mitigation measures that target multiple pollutants. For example, ground-level ozone that target multiple pollutants and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) have been regulated under health-based standards in the US and elsewhere in the world for decades.  Mitigation measures that target methane, an ozone precursor, and black carbon (BC), a component of PM2.5, are likely to achieve benefits for both near-term climate and air pollution-related health outcomes, since these short-lived pollutants lead to climate warming. Drawing on work she has done with the UNEP and World Meteorological Organization, Susan Ananberg’s talk will highlight the health co-benefits—particularly in China—of mitigating near-term climate change through Black Carbon and methane emission controls.