Working Towards Clean Cars and Clear Skies in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta | Wilson Center
5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Working Towards Clean Cars and Clear Skies in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

Los Angeles is the quintessential horizontal city, the capital of sprawl where car-centric urban development has given the city the reputation as the most polluted urban environment in the United States. Contrast this with Hong Kong, a vertical city that is leading the way in efficient public transit with a system capable of transporting 90 percent of the city’s citizens, the highest percentage in the world.

Despite these differences, Los Angeles and Hong Kong are now preaching similar transport and city planning solutions in order to address air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from cars. These solutions focus on expanding public transit systems, promoting walking and cycling, and even discouraging car use—with varying degrees of success.

Across the border from Hong Kong, cities in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) are pioneering new policies to control emissions from old and dirty vehicles, which make up only 20 percent of automobiles on Chinese roads, yet contribute 70 percent of transportation emissions in cities. In some Chinese cities, cars emit more air pollution and greenhouse gasses than coal-fired power plants.

At this October 17 CEF meeting, speakers will explain how cities are confronting the challenges of adapting a transportation system to new sustainability concerns. Simon Ng, an independent researcher formerly with Civic Exchange, will reflect on Los Angeles’ and Hong Kong’s quests for sustainable mobility and urban livability while also shedding light on the similar challenges faced by ever-growing Chinese megacities. Drawing on years of International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) engagement in the PRD lowering vehicular emissions, Zifei Yang will introduce the increasingly effective vehicle emission control programs that Shenzhen and other PRD cities have instituted.



  • Jennifer L. Turner

    Director, China Environment Forum & Manager, Global Choke Point Initiative


  • Simon Ng

    Independent Researcher on Urban Sustainability
  • Zifei Yang

    The International Council on Clean Transportation