Fewer Emissions, Better Life: Beijing Low Emission Zone Final Report

This report outlines the progress and prospects of Beijing’s low-emission zone and congestion charging policies, which have been under development since 2014 with the assistance of WRI China.

Beijing’s implementation in September 2017 of a low-emission zone (LEZ), with a strong assist from WRI, marked a huge milestone—not just in the capital’s efforts to reduce pollution and improve the health of its residents, but in China’s overall push to curb climate change emissions.

The LEZ, China’s first, targets heavy-duty vehicles and is expected to reduce 11 metric tons of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides each day in its first two years, in addition to bringing a huge annual abatement of carbon dioxide and delivering significant health benefits in the short and long terms.

The zone is part of a broader package of measures advocated for by WRI, including integrating stricter parking management, improved public transportation, and enhanced walking and cycling solutions to address pollution, traffic congestion and ultimately climate change.

A program milestone was reached in 2017 with increased public awareness, as gauged by surveys conducted in Beijing by WRI, of fee-based policies such as congestion charging (CC). Public acceptance increased from 23 percent to nearly 26 percent within a year, and there was a shift of 15 percent from those opposed to such policies to those who were neutral. After completing several rounds of deliberations, the Beijing Parking Management Regulations were enacted on May 1, 2018.

Looking forward, WRI’s push for integrated solutions is gaining increased attention from cities across China. Our top-down approach to mainstreaming the LEZ/CC concept is bearing fruit as Beijing points the way for the rest of the country on how to pursue improved local environments and, at the same time, meet China’s commitment to climate change goals. 


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