China’s leaders worry that cracking down on air pollution will spell economic contraction. But the opposite result is achievable, according to a new study by North China Electric Power University. If China were to implement a coal consumption cap policy, the country’s power sector could reduce pollution emissions while providing economic and social gains through decreased coal power investment, lower fuel costs and increased health benefits. Kicking old habits won’t be easy, writes Yuan Jiahai, but China’s renewable energy sector is poised for growth that could satisfy the country’s expanding energy needs. And necessary investment in renewables can be largely offset by the combined effect of reducing coal investment and fuel costs and the economic boost from health benefits gained from less pollution. The Paulson Institute’s Climate Change and Air Quality Program is working with local governments surrounding Beijing to implement similar strategies, grounded in the notion that clean air and economic growth are mutually symbiotic.
A Coal Cap with Economic Benefits
February 23, 2015