On January 21, 2019, the International Council on Clean Transportation and Guangdong Provincial Academy of Environmental Science (GDAES) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deepen the existing working relationship between the two organizations.
The MOU was the final outcome of in-depth discussions of opportunities and challenges facing Guangdong province in pursuing clean and low-carbon transportation in the context of the region’s ambitious plans for growth. The GDAES is a research institute affiliated with the Guangdong Provincial Department of Ecology and Environment (Guangdong DEE). It was established to undertake research work that supports environmental and sustainable development strategies, regional environmental laws, regulations and standards, programs and policies for the province.
Meeting participants were director WEI Yufeng of Guangdong DEE, Director General WANG Yonghong, Deputy Director ZHANG Yongbo, division director and staff at the GDAES, and Drew Kodjak (Executive Director) and Hui He (China Lead) from the ICCT.
Guangdong has been a focus for the ICCT since 2013. ICCT’s past engagement in the region included studies assessing the environmental and health benefits of early adoption of national emission standards in the region; compiling ship emission inventory for the greater PRD region; evaluating the cost-benefit of shore power at Shenzhen; and reviewing the vehicle emission control program during in-use stage. ICCT has also provided ad-hoc support on nonroad vehicle management, fuel quality specifications, and intercity transfer regulations.
MoU signing ceremony between the ICCT and Guangdong AES. Left to right: LI Nan (Staff, GDAES), LIAO Chenghao (Division Director, GDAES), LIU Jianjun (Assistant Director, GDAES), WEI Yufeng (Deputy Division Chief, Guangdong DEE), WANG Yonghong (President, GDAES), Drew Kodjak (Executive Director, ICCT), HE Hui (China Lead, ICCT), ZHANG Yongbo (Vice President, GDAES), XIONG Xuehui (Staff, GDAES)
One of the earliest beneficiaries of China’s opening policy, launched four decades ago, Guangdong province has remained since then the economic powerhouse of the nation. Driven by its booming manufacturing industry and surging international trade and port activities, the region now is the nation’s largest subnational vehicle market and one of the busiest transportation hubs. As of 2017, the province has had nearly 19 million vehicle registrations, and about 14% of the nation’s goods movement (in terms of activity) occurred in the region.
But with that prosperity has come increasing environmental concerns. For example, vehicles and other transportation sources contribute 30%–50% of local air pollution in the region's megacities like Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Fortunately, Guangdong also began early to take action on transportation-related pollution. The province, and especially its Pearl River Delta (PRD) cities, consistently outpace other regions on vehicle emission and fuel standards, retiring high-emitters, and promoting alternative fuel and zero-emission vehicle technologies.
However, unless the region can take additional major strides to further improve its air quality and environmental performance, its ambitious development plans will be threatened. Last year, the Chinese government unveiled a blueprint for Greater Bay Area in its southern portal, a region encompassing nine existing PRD cities, Hong Kong and Macao are strategically positioned at the center of an integrated economic, business, innovation and technology region that rival those around New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.
But the government must chart a green and low-carbon development path to bring the China Southern Greater Bay Area up to the benchmarks established by those international counterparts. Some cities are already moving in such a direction. Shenzhen was the first Chinese city to propose an air-quality target in line with the WHO recommendation, recognizing that the city’s air pollution levels remain 1.5 to 4 times more severe than in New York, San Francisco and Tokyo. Shenzhen and Guangzhou have also joined C40 Cities, a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change.
Under the MoU, the ICCT and GDAES will collaborate in several areas to help address the above challenges from the transport perspective:
- Constructing a localized, complete, living emission inventory that captures emission performance of a complex mix of transportation modes in the area (air, road, off-the-road, rail, ocean-going and river ships) under their dynamic use patterns
- Deploying cutting-edge emission measurement tools applicable to mobile sources and data analysis techniques to help the government identify and decode emission issues
- Developing a regional low-carbon transport strategy;
- Increasing regional and international cooperation and information exchange
See a related post from GDAES: http://www.gdaes.gov.cn/index!news.htm?newsId=2361