Costs of Selected Policies to Address Air Pollution in China

Costs of Selected Policies to Address Air Pollution in China

Keith Crane
Zhimin Mao
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 40
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt14bs468
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  • Book Info
    Costs of Selected Policies to Address Air Pollution in China
    Book Description:

    Air pollution has been one of the most pernicious consequences of China’s last three decades of economic transformation and growth. This report estimates the costs of three measures to reduce air pollution in China: replacing coal with natural gas for residential and commercial heating, replacing half of China's coal-fired electric power generation with renewables or nuclear power, and scrapping highly polluting vehicles.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-8933-5
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Business, Physics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  4. Figures and Tables
    (pp. vi-vi)
  5. Summary
    (pp. vii-xi)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xii-xii)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  8. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Air pollution has been one of the most pernicious consequences of China’s last three decades of economic transformation and growth. Although Chinese governments—federal, provincial, and municipal—have made considerable efforts in this field, and air quality has improved by some measures, it remains a serious problem: Concentrations of pollutants exceed standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) in virtually every major urban area.¹

    The Chinese government has been implementing anti-pollution policy measures similar to those adopted by other industrialized economies:

    subsidizing or mandating the use of fuels—such as natural gas, nuclear, and renewables—that emit fewer air...

  9. 2. The Problem
    (pp. 3-10)

    Rapid economic growth in China has not only raised incomes, it has also resulted in massive increases in pollution of air, water, and land. The costs of this pollution are large, approaching 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) per year over the past decade. This ratio is several times higher than in developed Asian market economies such Korea and Japan, and substantially higher than in the United States.² Air pollution accounts for the bulk of these costs, running 6.5 percent of China’s GDP between 2000 and 2010; costs of water pollution ran an additional 2.1 percent of GDP, and...

  10. 3. Solutions
    (pp. 11-17)

    A number of countries have succeeded in greatly reducing air pollution. According to official statistics, China has already made some progress in reducing emissions of TSP, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, resulting in some improvements in air quality in major cities, as shown in Figures 2.1 and 2.2 in the previous chapter. That said, levels of particulate air pollution in China are still above those that prevailed in the United States before the passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970.¹⁸ Although all developed nations have successfully reduced air pollution, none has faced quite the scale of reductions that China...

  11. 4. Costs of Reducing Air Pollution
    (pp. 18-22)

    We have noted that the cost of air pollution in China has been estimated at 6.5 percent of GDP. Applying that figure to China’s GDP of $8,227 trillion dollars in 2012, the year on which we base much of our analysis, implies that reducing air pollution in China to levels considered acceptable by WHO would yield annual benefits of $535 billion. As incomes rise and China becomes more urbanized, these costs are rising. Although the actions we have outlined would probably not serve to attain levels considered acceptable by WHO, they would certainly result in substantial improvements in China’s air...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 23-26)