Beijing Low-Emission Zone

WRI China is supporting Beijing in the city’s implementation of an innovative low-emission  zone to reduce air pollution and associated public health costs, among other effects.

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Transportation accounts for 10 to 12 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in China at the national level and 26 percent in urban areas. By 2030, experts predict that the portion of total carbon emissions accounted for by transportation will increase to 33 percent across the country. Transportation is also a growing contributor to fine particle air pollution. Vehicles generate 15 to 35 percent of local urban particulate matter today. As a result, each year more than 1 billion Chinese, including 166 million children, are exposed to toxic air for more than six months, resulting in economic loss and severe impacts on public health.  

To improve air quality and the health of residents, Beijing launched a low-emission zone in September 2017, banning heavy-duty freight vehicles with emissions below National IV Standards from entering the city. WRI China is working with the government on successful planning and implementation of this zone. Not only will the low-emission zone improve air quality, but it will also mitigate severe public health hazards and save an estimated 43 lives each year, leading to an annual social cost savings of $37 million.

WRI Ross Center and WRI China are utilizing five distinct pillars to ensure its research and messages reach the city of Beijing and the national government:

  1. WRI worked closely with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport and the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau on policy and strategy, developing tools for scientific analysis, designing communications materials and increasing capacity through workshops.
  2. WRI made low-emission zone recommendations to the Beijing Municipal Government through the legislative body, writeups in government internal references and using international case studies.
  3. WRI worked with the Ministry of Transportation and its think tank to include congestion charging in the 13th Five Year Plan to improve traffic congestion. These recommendations made their way up to the central government.
  4. WRI investigated public opinion and increased awareness through educational campaigns and public outreach.
  5. WRI facilitated discussions and feasibility studies on low-emission zones and congestion charging in many other cities.

For more information, visit (also available in Chinese).

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