China & USA join forces to reduce emissions 2004-11-17Posted by clype in Intolerance, Science.
China and The United States of America launched a program on Wednesday to study ways to use advanced USA technology to reduce polluting emissions from Chinese vehicles, the first such joint project of its kind.
The two countries’ environmental protection agencies signed an agreement kicking off a pilot program to identify how many of Beijing’s vehicles can be retrofitted with cleaner engines and particulate filters, officials said.
The program will also see the USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and China’s ‘State Environmental Protection Administration‘ (‘SEPA’) work together to reduce sulphur levels in fuel used in China.
If the program is successful, it could potentially generate significant benefits for the United States of America, the world’s biggest car maker.
Officials said the USA could eventually export its emission control technology to China, the third largest and one of the fastest growing vehicle markets in the world.
- Beijing, which is hosting the 2008 Olympic Games, hopes to significantly clean up air quality by then.
By 2005, it plans to reduce the sulphur level in diesel fuel it uses to 350 parts per million — at which point the vehicles would be able to USA control technology that can reduce emissions by 30 to 40 percent.
Environmentalists have urged China not to emulate the USA’s car-focused culture and put more emphasis on building public transpont, but Chinese officials on Wednesday said they had no choice but to deal with car emissions which now are one of the top two pollution sources in Beijing, along with coal.
‘We encourage the development of public transportation and the control of the number of cars but at the same time we need to reduce pollution from cars’, said Li Xinmin, SEPA’s deputy director general.
The program will begin by checking 15 to 20 buses in Beijing to see if the technology can be applied to them. The USA agency is hoping to replicate the project throughout China.
‘Given the fast growth of China’s economy and transportation sector, vehicle emissions will be the biggest problem in China in coming years’, said Margo Oge, the EPA’s director of transportation and air quality.
While the United States of America is the world’s biggest emitter of “greenhouse gas”, much of it caused by vehicle emissions, China, the second biggest, is fast catching up due to rapid modernisation. It is projected to exceed USA emissions by around 2020.
‘The USA has been working to reduce vehicle emissions and wants to share its technology with China. It is also concerned China’s pollution will make its away across the Pacific Ocean to the United States’, said Ren Hongyan, project officer for the SEPA.