China sets new emission reduction target

China has set a new emissions reduction target for 2013 by promoting an aggregate indicator budget control system for major pollutants, the minister of environmental protection said Thursday.

Emissions of chemical oxygen demand and sulfur dioxide in 2013 will be reduced by 2 percent year on year, while that of ammonia nitrogen and nitrogen oxides will fall by 2.5 percent and 3 percent, respectively, Zhou Shengxian, the minister, said.

The emissions of four major pollutants — sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen — recorded year-on-year drops of at least 2 percent in 2012, Zhou said at a national meeting held here.

Zhou vowed to press for including PM2.5, air-borne particles measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter, in the country’s major pollutant monitoring and measuring system.

This year the country will start monitoring six major pollutant indices, including PM2.5, in 113 cities on the state environmental protection list, he said.

Currently, the monitoring of four national major pollutants as well as PM2.5 and ozone (O3) are conducted in four municipalities, 27 provincial capitals, as well as three key regions — east China’s Yangtze River Delta, south China’s Pearl River Delta, and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area in the north.

The ministry will also ban the operation of vehicles registered before 2005 under exhaust emissions requirements, Zhou said, adding that efforts will be made to improve the quality of gasoline and diesel.

To cope with an air quality crisis, contingency measures will be adopted, such as suspending or limiting the production of certain vehicles and limiting emissions and car usage, he said.

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However, he said the country faces a long battle in controlling PM2.5 intensity.

By 2015, the ministry aims to reduce the PM2.5 intensity in three key regions by 6 percent annually, he said.

The ministry has also set timetables for cities experiencing different degrees of air pollution. Cities where average air pollution levels are 15 percent higher than the national standard or less should work to bring the levels to standard by 2015.

Cities suffering heavy air pollution that is 30 percent above the national standard or higher should try to meet standards by 2030, and cities between the previously mentioned categories are expected to meet the standards by 2020.

Xinhua

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