A team of international researchers have found that China’s measures to control and reduce emissions from its coal-fired power plants have been effective.
Between 2005 and 2015, coal-fired power generation grew by more than 97% in China, leading to a spike in air pollution.
To combat this, China introduced three main policies for coal-fired power plants: improving efficiency by promoting large plants and decommissioning small ones; bringing in national emission cap requirements by installing end-of-pipe control devices; and introducing ultra-low emission standards.
A team of researchers from China, France and the US have now measured the effect these policies have had on emissions. Their results show that China’s efforts on emission reductions, air quality improvement and human health protection have been effective overall.
“We found that the upgrading of end-pipe control facilities could reduce PM2.5 exposures by 7.9 ug/m3 and avoid 111,900 premature deaths annually. Meanwhile, the early retirement of small and low-efficiency units could reduce PM2.5 exposures by 2.1 ug/m3 and avoid 31,400 annual premature deaths,” said Fei Lui from the Universities Space Research Association in the US.
“This suggests similar measures could be taken in countries such as India to enable the reduction of emissions alongside rapid economic development.”
Image credit: Rose Davies via Flickr