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1 Introduction The United States and China are the two largest consumers of energy in the world, and projections for both countries indicate that their consumption will continue to rise in the foreseeable future. Both countries are mostly dependent upon fossil fuels for their energy supplies (over 85 percent in the United States and over 90 percent in China); thus, in addition to meeting increasing energy demands, the United States and China must confront the air quality challenges that result from fossil fuel consumption on such a large scale. While the United States has made progress in remediating much of the air pollution experienced in its heavy industrial period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it still faces air pollution challenges resulting from electricity production, vehicle use, and numerous other sources. China is presently in the midst of a period of rapid industrialization accompanied by meteoric economic growth on a very short time scale and, thus, it is experiencing similar if not more severe pollution than has plagued the United States. Air pollution has historically been viewed as a nuisance, but also, in some cases, as a sign of economic progress; it was and sometimes still is thought to be a requisite to development. However, research on air pollution effects has led to an increased understanding of the linkages between fossil fuel combustion and air quality and, more importantly, the links between health and air quality. Health studies in the United States and elsewhere in the mid-20th century raised aware- ness that air pollution, whether from industrial sources or from a then emerging new source, the automobile, had major impacts on morbidity and mortality. This improved understanding paved the way for regulation and other efforts to combat air pollution in its various forms, and further research has exposed its effects on ecosystems, agriculture, and general quality of life. This research, in turn, has 17
18 ENERGY FUTURES AND URBAN AIR POLLUTION been translated into cost-benefit analyses, which now influence the decisions made on balancing the interplay between energy consumption and air quality. On the whole, the U.S. experience provides some rich lessons which China, with the benefit of this hindsight, may incorporate into its quest for environmentally sustainable development. China presents a particularly interesting case, because, in addition to its well- known economic growth and industrial transition, it is also undergoing a demo- graphic transition of rapid urbanization, which will play a central role in its ability to manage its energy use and air quality. Chinaâs urban population in 1980 was less than 20 percent of its total population; today approximately 40 percent of residents live in cities (compared to over 80 percent in the United States), and this share will increase to 60 percent of the population by 2030 (UN, 2005). China is home to over 100 cities with 1 million or more residents in each cityâfewer than half of which achieve Chinaâs own minimum standards for air quality (SEPA, 2007). Further complicating this trend is the fact that urbanization in other countries has brought with it increased rates of energy consumption and vehicle use. Although the United States continues to face air quality challenges, the l Â essons it has learned (successes and failures) in managing air quality should be relevant to the Chinese experience. Additionally, there are lessons to be learned from developments within China, which might be instructive to any number of developing cities facing similar challenges. Finally, in consideration of the glo- balized economy, increasing competition for finite resources, and a shared global environment, it is important to keep in mind that the decisions that one country or city makes today can certainly have a lasting impact on the opposite side of the world. In order to examine the challenges faced today by China and the United States in terms of energy use and urban air pollution, the U.S. National Academies, in cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed this comparative study, building on nearly a decade of inter-Academy collaboration. In addition to informing national policies in both countries, the study is intended to assist Chinese cities in assessing their chal- lenges, including the dual challenges of continued use of coal as the dominant source of energy and the rapidly increasing use of private vehicles, in the context of rapid economic growth, preservation of the environment, and ensuring the quality of life for their citizens.Â This report is geared towards policy and decision makers at all levels of government, as they seek to balance urban energy con- sumption with air quality management. It identifies lessons learned from the case studies of four cities (Pittsburgh and Los Angeles in the United States, Huainan and Dalian in China); the study addresses key technological and institutional chal- lenges and opportunities, and highlights areas for continued cooperation between the United States and China on energy and air quality issues. Specifically, the study was designed to:
Introduction 19 â¢ Describe current and planned energy uses for different economic sectors in China and the United States and their effects on air quality; â¢ Compare and contrast the evolution of energy use and air quality manage- ment between two pairs of cities in China and the United States; â¢ Specify energy strategies that have been successful and unsuccessful in improving urban air quality, and identify leapfrogging opportunities; and â¢ Compare successful energy and air quality approaches with current poli- cies in China and the United States and recommend potential modifications to current trends. These issues are discussed in detail in the chapters that follow. One ancil- lary benefit of the study process was that it provided useful cross-sector and cross-country exchanges, particularly among local stakeholders. Having local environmental managers interact with scientific and technical experts, and being able to âkick the tiresâ on a technology, is valuable to any city seeking to meet its energy needs without compromising air quality. However, owing to the small number of case studies, the committee decided against making many recommen- dations specifically tailored to the case study cities, or to cities in general, based solely on the experience of the four case studies. Instead, the case studies provide insight into how energy use and air quality are managed at a local level, and how our cities might learn from one anotherâs experience. MAJOR ISSUES Coal supplies are abundant in both countries, but conventional coal com- bustion is a major source of criteria air pollutants (e.g., SO2), as well as of CO2 emissions. In recent decades, the United States has favored natural gas as a cleaner-burning substitute, but supply constraints and increased prices have led to renewed interest in coal and other alternatives. Chinaâs rapid economic growth has largely been supported by coal (~ 2 billion metric tons consumed annually); but China is also seeking cleaner sources such as natural gas and renewable or alter- native fuels for its transport sector and for use in selected urban areas. Petroleum remains the dominant transportation fuel in both countries, and rising imports have cautioned both countries to focus on energy security as part of their overall energy policy strategies. Chapter 2 examines these and other issues related to major energy resources, specifically coal, petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear. In addition to a discussion of current resources and consumption, the chapter looks at future projections for the continued use of energy resources. The impacts of urban air pollution as a result of conventional coal combustion are substantial and well known. The traditional mix of particulate matter (PM) Due to the broad range of units used in energy calculations, between countries and across sectors, energy figures will be reported in both the commonly accepted unit as well as a standardized unit (exajoules or EJ) for comparison. See Appendix D for information on energy conversions.
20 ENERGY FUTURES AND URBAN AIR POLLUTION and SO2 from large stationary sources is augmented by emissions from mobile sources, which are now a major source of numerous pollutants in the United States and an increasingly important source in Chinese cities. ÂChapterÂ 3 reviews air pollution effects, providing the context for how energy use and air pollution are interrelated and why policy makers and the general public are increasingly concerned about air qualityâs impacts on health, the economy, and the environ- ment. Chapter 3 also highlights sources of emissions, ambient concentration levels, and the differences between the countries in terms of what is measured and how it is measured. Appendix C provides a related discussion of a series of source-apportionment studies carried out in China. For the United States, cur- rent air quality challenges include meeting the 1997 standards for ozone and particulate, the 1999 standard for regional haze, and the revised 24-hour PM 2.5 standard. Presently, U.S. environmental management is increasingly focusing on a broad range of âemergingâ issues such as toxic air pollutants (mercury and other hazardous air pollutants), the health effects of chronic exposure to low pollutant concentrations, issues related to environmental justice, fragile ecosystems, multi- state and cross-border pollutants, and climate change. Translating this information into appropriate policies and actions is generally left to government agencies guided by overarching statutory frameworks. Thus, Chapter 4 looks at the institutional and regulatory frameworks in each country, exploring the relationship between local, regional, and national monitoring and regulation and the impact that regulation has on energy use and air quality. It highlights the differences between the two countriesâ capacity and approaches to air quality management (AQM), and offers lessons learned from nearly four decades of AQM experience in the United States. In addition to the regulatory aspects, Chapter 4 addresses the capacity for research and development (R&D) in air pollution abatement. Slowly, R&D capacity in this and in related areas is being developed at select universities and research institutes in Chinaâbut again there are some useful examples from the U.S. experience. As energy use and air quality challenges change, R&D capacity will be increasingly important. A central theme throughout this chapter is the importance of data availability and scrutiny and, thus, Appendix A of this report provides a series of useful web-based resources focusing on energy and air pollution. Following Chapters 2-4, which cover the broad issues of energy and air quality management, the next three chapters focus on interventions which offer promise to better meet energy needs without compromising air quality. Chapter 5 details both countriesâ experiences with improving energy efficiency; it examines supply-side and demand-side options for improved efficiency, which benefits air quality and energy security at low cost. Reducing energy intensity, or the amount of energy required to produce a unit of measure (e.g., GDP), has been one of the goals of Chinese policymakers for some time and, although the United States has improved in a number of sectors, U.S. policymakers have not paid sufficient attention to energy efficiency.
Introduction 21 Owing to the importance of coal in both countries, in terms of consumption and resultant emissions, Chapter 6 is devoted to a closer look at coal combustion technologies and pollution controls. China has made progress in controlling its power sector air pollution by using modern, state-of-the-art plants to meet new capacity requirements. As an example, World Bank lending in this sector was accompanied by strict environmental oversight of local efforts by environmental authorities to control emissions and to procure pollution-control equipment. This has resulted in substantial reductions in both SO2 and particulate emissions from modern power plants (Jia et al., 2000). The remaining challenges are for power plant operators to continue to operate downstream pollution-control equipment as mandated, and to retrofit or decommission old installed coal combustion capacity. After decades of mostly gas-fired power plant construction, the United States has shown renewed interest in developing coal-fired capacity and, thus, there are important opportunities for the countries to collaborate on clean coal technologies. Renewable energy technologies and hydrogen are considered separately in Chapter 7, as they hold potential to dramatically influence the energy/air pollution scenario. Currently, renewable technologies serve mostly niche applications, but these applications have served, for example, to electrify remote or off-grid areas, and can substantially reduce emissions near populated areas vis-Ã -vis conventional power sources. Recent attention has also focused on renewable energy technolo- gies for liquid fuel production (biofuels), which offer the opportunity to increase energy security by reducing dependence on foreign imports, while simultaneously decreasing air emissions relative to conventional fuel sources. Other potential alternative energy sources, such as oil shale, are not closely examined within the body of the report, but are discussed in Appendix B. THE ROLE AND IMPACT OF URBANIZATION There are many reasons that this report focuses on the role of cities. First, the U.S. population is overwhelmingly urban; by the 1950s the rate had surpassed 65Â percent and has been increasing steadily ever since. By contrast, Chinaâs popu- lation is still less than half urban, but at the same time, its rapid urbanization, encouraged by the central government, has been described as the largest mass migration in human history. This migration is underpinning the industrializa- tion and economic growth taking place in Chinese cities, and though it presents new challenges in terms of energy use and associated air pollution, it also pro- vides new opportunities for sustainable consumption and improved air quality management. It is important to have a clear understanding of how a âcityâ is defined in each country. In the United States, âcityâ is primarily a legal term meaning anÂ urban area with a degree of autonomy (i.e., a township), rather than meaningÂ an entire large settlement (metropolitan area). China has a more precise definition
22 ENERGY FUTURES AND URBAN AIR POLLUTION and classification system for its cities. Most of Chinaâs 670 cities are either p Â refecture-level or county-level cities, the distinction being that the former have more administrative power. However, in both cases, these cities are comprised of an urban district as well as of surrounding rural or less urbanized districts. In this respect, they are more similar to counties in the United States. These urban areas are the loci of energy-intensive industries, automobiles, and high concentrations of residents, and they, therefore, render urban AQM uniquely challenging. As a consequence, this report does not pay special attention to some of the broader energy and air quality challenges that China is currently facing. In particu- lar, traditional biomass combustion continues to be the primary source of energy for hundreds of millions of rural residents, and the associated health impacts of this combustion (especially indoors) are well known. Agricultural burning is a practice that is widespread in China, and the resulting pollution is not confined to rural areas and can impact nearby urban districts. Dust storms are another impor- tant source of air pollution and are a result of increased desertification. These dust storms have affected air quality regionally within Asia as well as globally; regions in the western United States are limited in their ability to achieve visibility goals, due to dust transported from Asia (NRC, 2001). Mitigation measures will require concerted national and global action (NRC, 2004). Long-range pollution transport is an important regional and global challenge and a relatively new focus in atmospheric science (Akimoto, 2003). Both dust and pollutants related to energy use can be traced, through the use of transport modeling, to sources thousands of kilometers away (e.g., Seinfeld et al., 2004). Similarly, airborne measurements and satellite imagery are increasingly being used to observe intercontinental pollutant transport (Jaffe et al., 1999; Wilkening et al., 2000; Huntreiser et al., 2005). Understanding the contribution of pollutant transport will be another key element in each cityâs strategy for managing urban air quality. CITIES AS EXAMPLES The United States and China represent two vastly different countries with different levels of economic development, institutional priorities, and regulatory frameworks. Recognizing these differences, there are important similarities as well. In terms of energy, both countries possess abundant coal reserves, but are dependent upon petroleum and other imports to meet many of their energy needs. Moreover, though electrification rates and levels of automobile use may differ between the two countries, the technologies employed are mostly similar and thus directly comparable. Regarding AQM, Chinaâs institutional and regulatory capacity is still years behind the United States, but successful U.S. approaches such as SO2 emissions trading are already being copied in China. Alongside these differing levels of development and institutional capacity are differing levels of risk tolerance. In other words, the United States is now
Introduction 23 focusing more attention on the lower-risk air toxics, while China is still grappling with controlling major pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyâs (EPAâs) first administrator, William D. Ruckelshaus, credits a National Academy of Sciences report on risk assessment with influencing the agencyâs transition to risk-based decision making in the 1980sâwhich aided it in setting priorities (NRC, 1983; EPA, 1993). Conventional wisdom suggests that as Chinaâs economy continues to grow, and in particular, as the middle class expands, China too will increasingly focus on additional pollutants. Still, China is facing increasing inter- national pressure over its emissions, including those it does not currently regulate, such as mercury and CO2. In some of Chinaâs more developed coastal cities, risk tolerance is already changing, as the informed middle class becomes more aware of the research and activities taking place in the developed world. Thus, China finds itself in a position where it is being challenged to do it all at once; and while this may not always be feasible, there are lessons from certain cities which may bear repeating, as well as certain win-win opportunties (e.g., energy efficiency) which effectively satisfy numerous objectives. Some of the challenges posed by these energy consumption and air quality issues necessarily require management at the national level, which is reflected in a number of the chapters herein. However, this study is intended to assist Chinese cities, many of which are decentralized to a degree not common in the United States; therefore, it was important to also focus on lessons learned at the local level, in order to inform the hundreds of developing cities in China. Admittedly, one cannot encompass the multitude of variables characterizing the nearly 700 cities in China by selecting only two, nor can one convey the breadth of experi- ence with managing energy and air quality in the United States by selecting two cities. Still, the cities of Pittsburgh (Chapter 8) and Los Angeles (Chapter 10) were chosen to be illustrative, based on their well-known experiences: Pittsburgh, on the one hand, is a previously heavily polluted industrial city seeking to con- tinue to modernize its economy without irreparably degrading the environment, while Los Angeles, on the other hand, is a widely sprawled port city fraught with a continuously increasing vehicle fleet, and a particularly challenging local topography for shedding pollution and a heightened need to manage pollution on a regional basis. Pittsburgh represents the historically industrial U.S. cities. Its air pollution problems were well known by the early 20th century, and as such, its efforts to ameliorate this pollution and address more recent challenges (e.g., ozone) are also well documented. Moreover, Pittsburghâs reliance on coal, combined with its strong industrial roots, make it a city to which hundreds of Chinese cities might relate. Los Angeles, on the other hand, represents the more âmodernâ U.S. city, though its industrial roots have also had an impact on its air pollution history. Los Angelesâ air quality is similarly well studied and documented, and its profile is in many ways similar to that emerging in dozens of coastal and major cities in China, which are already experiencing the effects of a large fleet of personal vehicles.
24 ENERGY FUTURES AND URBAN AIR POLLUTION Huainan (Chapter 9) and Dalian (Chapter 11) were selected as case study cities in China, as they somewhat mirror the circumstances of Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, respectively, and they are also broadly representative of a number of other cities in China and elsewhere in the developing world. Huainan is a major coal and industrial base in east-central China. Like Pittsburgh, it is benefiting economically from proximity to abundant coal resources; and as industries and power generation have increased in recent years, so too have pollution levels. It has, however, made important strides in improving air quality and in reducing coarse particulate matter, while still growing its economy. Dalian, a coastal city in northern China, has a more diversified economy and is now beginning to face the challenges of increased motorization (with nearly 500,000 cars on the road). It has long been considered a model city in China for its environmental manage- ment, and thus its successes may be replicable in other cities. The United States and China have benefited from increased cooperation in the last three decades on numerous issues of mutual interest and while, due to their many differences, lessons learned on one side may not be directly applicable to the other, we believe comparative studies such as this one are still of considerable benefit in creating a broader understanding and in informing future decisions. References Akimoto, H. 2003. Global air quality and pollution. Science 302(5651):1716-1719. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). 1993. William D. Ruckelshaus: Oral History Interview, January. Huntreiser, H., J. Heland, H. Schlager, C. Forster, A. Stohl, H. Aufmhoff, F. Arnold, H.E. Scheel, M. Campana, S. Gilge, R. Eixmann, and O. Cooper. 2005. Intercontinental air pollution transport from North America to Europe: Experimental evidence from airborne measurements and surface observations. Journal of Geophysical Research 110:D01305. Jaffe, D., T. Anderson, and I. Uno. 1999. Transport of Asian air pollution to North America. Geophysi- cal Research Letters. 26(6):711-714. Jia, L., B. Baratz, and J.J. Fritz. 2000. Environmental Performance of Bank-Financed Coal-Fired Power Plants in China. East Asia Environment and Social Development Unit, The World Bank, February. NRC (National Research Council). 1983. Risk Assessment in the Federal Government: Managing the Process. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2001. Global Air Quality: An Imperative for Long-Term Observational Strategies. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. NRC. 2004. Air Quality Management in the United States. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Seinfeld, J.H., G.R. Carmichael, R. Arimoto, W.C. Conant, F.J. Brechtel, T.S. Bates, T.A. Cahill, A.D. Clarke, S.J. Doherty, P.J. Flatau, B.J. Huebert, J. Kim, K.M. Markowicz, P.K. Quinn, L.M. Russell, P.B. Russell, A. Shimizu, Y. Shinozuka, C.H. Song, Y. Tang, I. Uno, A.M. Vogelman, R.J. Weber, J.H. Woo, and X.Y. Zhang. 2004. ACE-ASIA: Regional Climatic and Atmospheric Chemical E Â ffects of Asian Dust and Pollution. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, March. SEPA (State Environmental Protection Administration). 2007. Report on State of the Environment in China 2006. UN (United Nations). 2005. World Urbanization Prospects 2005 Update, UN Population Division. Wilkening, K., L.A. Barrie, and M. Engle. 2000. Atmospheric science: Trans-Pacific air pollution. Science 290(5489):65-66.