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Co-benefits between Air Quality and Climate Policies in Guangdong and Shandong Provinces in China: Summary for Policymakers

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The benefits of tackling carbon neutrality and air quality together

Utilizing provincial-level strategies and policies to deliver emissions reductions and improve air quality standards in Guangdong and Shandong

CGS Experts

Jenna Behrendt, Research Manager

Andy Miller, Research Associate

Ryna Cui, Research Director

Nate Hultman, Director

Wenli Li, Research Assistant

Haiwen Zhang, Research Assistant

Press Release: More from our experts!

Yu S., J. Behrendt, A. Miller, Y. Liu, J. Adams, R. Cui, W. Li, H. Zhang, J. Cheng, D. Tong, J. Song, Q. Zhang, N. Hultman. 2023. “Co-benefits Between Air Quality and Climate Policies in Guangdong and Shandong Provinces in China: Summary for Policymakers.” Center for Global Sustainability, University of Maryland & Tsinghua University. 10pp.

  • Significant emissions reductions are needed across all provinces and all sectors to achieve China’s carbon neutrality goal.
  • Individual provinces may take different pathways to achieve deep decarbonization, driven by variations in the underlying economic and energy structures and available resources.
  • Shandong’s transition focuses largely on reducing emissions from the power and industry sectors as well as in space heating.
  • Guangdong’s transition requires significant reductions in the transportation and buildings sectors, amid near-term growth in demand, especially in urban areas.
  • Climate change mitigation is not only helpful but also necessary to achieve sustained air pollutant (SO2, NOx, and PM2.5) emissions reduction in both Guangdong and Shandong; as end-of-pipe controls have larger impacts in the near term, combining both policy objectives can maximize the reduction potentials in local air pollution emissions.
  • While the availability of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology may affect Shandong’s ability to reach net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050, it has a limited impact on air pollutant emissions in either province.
  • Further research is needed to better understand the impacts of sector-specific pathways and technologies for decarbonization and improved air quality

The Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland and the Department of Earth System Science at Tsinghua University's new analysis developed provincial decarbonization pathways to achieve China’s carbon neutrality before 2060 using a global integrated assessment model with provincial details of China (GCAM-China), and conducts a deep dive analysis of local air quality improvement in two provinces - Guangdong and Shandong - by coupling GCAM-China with an air pollutant emissions model.

Both provinces are economically significant, have varying reliance on fossil fuels, and are exposed to different levels of air pollution. Our analysis provides the first assessment of policy opportunities and strategies to reduce carbon dioxide and local air pollutant emissions in the two provinces.

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