China pledges to spend US$16 billion to cut pollution, but shift to clean energy must happen says Changhua Wu

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4 April 2013

BEIJING: China has promised to spend US$16 billion over the next three years to address the pollution problem that is affecting Beijing and other major cities.

The Government move is part of its 2013 Beijing Clean Air Plan, which was released in March.

According to the Beijing Municipal Government Office’s plan, China will tackle the pollution with a number of measures, including:

  • Limited expansion of heavily polluting construction works and manufacturing.
  • Introduction of clean energy heating facilities.
  • Implementation of a fifth phase of the ‘light vehicle pollutant emission standards’, coupled with increasing electric vehicle use and making steps towards elimination of older high-emission motor vehicles.
  • Amped-up public awareness around environmental and air pollution issues.

China also aims to better monitor air quality and improve research in pollution controlling technology.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said: “Pollution was a major topic at the National Party Congress last month, when China’s new leaders were officially appointed. It is imperative that government and business respond to the public demand that something is done about our cities’ pollution problems. The Clean Air Plan looks like it could raise the threshold of environmental protection and tackle Beijing’s pollution, if we act on this plan now.”

"But in order to effectively address the wide-spread smog challenge in the country, a fundamental shift from heavy reliance on coal to clean energy must happen. While tackling sources of pollution in cities is important, fossil fuel-based energy structure is the largest source of air pollution in China. Removal of subsidies to fossil fuels must be seriously examined and implemented in China in the very near future."

By Clare Saxon

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