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7 - Coordinating Strategies to Reduce Air Pollution and Carbon Emissions in China

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2021

Henry Lee
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Daniel P. Schrag
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Matthew Bunn
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Michael Davidson
Affiliation:
University of California, San Diego
Wei Peng
Affiliation:
Penn State University
Wang Pu
Affiliation:
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing
Mao Zhimin
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

The heavy reliance on coal for energy contributes to both air pollutants and CO2 emissions in China. As air pollution control becomes one of the top government priorities in recent years, many measures to tackle air pollution, such as curbing coal consumption, increasing energy efficiency, and encouraging renewable energy investments, can simultaneously reduce carbon emissions. However, air pollution abatement measures are not always aligned with carbon mitigation goals. For instance, installing sulfur scrubbers on coal power plants can significantly reduce air pollutant emissions, but does not mitigate carbon emissions. Given the political saliency of air pollution concerns, it is critical for policymakers to understand the potential synergies and trade-offs between these two objectives: improving air quality and protecting human health in the near term, and achieving deep decarbonization to tackle climate change in the long term.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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