Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Clean air for some: Unintended spillover effects of regional air pollution policies

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Science Advances  24 Apr 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 4, eaav4707
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav4707

Abstract

China has enacted a number of ambitious pollution control policies to mitigate air pollution in urban areas. Unintended side effects of these policies to other environmental policy arenas and regions have largely been ignored. To bridge this gap, we use a multiregional input-output model in combination with an atmospheric chemical transport model to simulate clean air policy scenarios and evaluate their environmental impacts on primary PM2.5 and secondary precursor emissions, as well as CO2 emissions and water consumption, in the target region and spillover effects to other regions. Our results show that the reduction in primary PM2.5 and secondary precursor emissions in the target regions comes at the cost of increasing emissions especially in neighboring provinces. Similarly, co-benefits of lower CO2 emissions and reduced water consumption in the target region are achieved at the expense of higher impacts elsewhere, through outsourcing production to less developed regions in China.

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