Archive for the ‘policy’ Category

national energy commission announced

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Two days ago, China’s State Council announced the creation of the National Energy Commission (NEC). The Commission, led by Premier Wen Jiabao, includes Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and the ministers of 21 departments.

Debbi Seligsohn over at WRI has posted some good initial questions about the practical role of the new NEC. How will its authority and responsibility be balanced with those of the multiple other government institutions with some influence over energy and climate policy?

I am specifically interested in the institutional relationships of these multiple government and government-affiliated energy and climate change groups. As I was updating the Chinese Government Map for National Energy and Environmental Policy to include the NEC, I realized that China’s institutional structure for energy and climate change is now even more confusing.

According to the State Council, the National Energy Agency will undertake the specific work of the NEC (“国家能源委员会,具体工作由国家能源局承担“), while the NEA is managed by the NDRC (“国家能源局由国家发展和改革委员会管理“). Meanwhile, the NDRC maintains its own Energy Research Institute and Department of Climate Change, and undertakes the work of the National Leading Working Group on Addressing Climate Change, Energy Saving, and Emission Reduction (国家应对气候变化及节能减排工作领导小组,具体工作由国家发展和改革委员会承担“).

This is how I’ve mapped it. It’s circular and messy, but it’s all I can come up with. (Click on the image to go to the full map). Comments?

energy structure

introducing the chinese government map for national energy and environmental policy

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Anyone who researches or follows Chinese energy and environmental policy knows that the Chinese government is filled with a large number of overlapping ministries, administrations, institutes, think tanks, research groups, etc.  Just keeping the acronyms straight can be a nightmare, not to mention understanding organizationally how they are all related to each other.

Several months ago, I launched a personal project to map out the organizational relationship between all Chinese government and government-affiliated institutions with influence over national energy and environmental policy. I showed a first draft, tailored for fuel quality policy creation, at a presentation I gave in April (slide 16). It received such a positive response that I set out to expand and release something publicly via this blog.

I’m very happy now to introduce version 1.0 of the Chinese Government Map for National Energy and Environmental Policy. Here’s a partial screen capture; click to go to the map itself:


Version 1.0 is functionally static (with the exception of pop-up names), although I intend to update it regularly. Accordingly, I need your feedback, particularly on identifying which institutions are missing. To make a suggestion, please either leave a comment below or e-mail me at livefrombeijing at gmail dot com. When suggesting an organization, please provide as much information as possible, including acronym, Chinese and English names, website, and evidence that it is an influential national government or government-affiliated institution. I would also appreciate it if you would pass along any related research reports or diagrams.

I look forward to hearing your feedback, and hope that you find the map to be a useful tool.

SAC website shows new diesel standard

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

The Standardization Administration of China is now listing a new automobile diesel fuel standard on its website. The standard, GB 19147-2009, is shown with an Issuance Date of 6/12/2009 and an Execute (Implementation) Date of 1/1/2010:

new diesel standard

In May of this year, the State Council announced that a new diesel fuel quality standard would be mandated by 2010, but no date was given. This SAC notice may be our first indication that China intends to implement China III quality diesel fuel (350ppm sulfur content) nationwide on January 1st.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find a full version of the standard; it seems unusual that the text of a (theoretically) issued standard is not available. Let’s not celebrate until we read the full text, but if China does in fact mandate nationwide 350ppm sulfur diesel fuel at the beginning of next year, this is a huge win for air quality and the introduction of more advanced diesel emission control technologies.

state council announces new diesel fuel quality standards

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Yesterday, China’s State Council announced the “Petrochemical Industry Restructuring and Revitalization Plan” (Chinese only) which mandates nationwide China III quality gasoline fuel by 2009 and nationwide China III diesel fuel by 2010 (2009年车用汽油全部达到国Ⅲ标准,2010年车用柴油全部达到国Ⅲ标准). The announcement also says that any fuels not meeting these standards may not be sold into the marketplace (严格执行油品质量标准,严禁达不到国家规定标准的油品进入市场) after the implementation dates.

As far as I can tell, for gasoline fuels, this announcement merely confirms existing standards and implementation dates. However, for diesel fuel, this is a big deal, due to implications on the timeline for improving diesel fuel quality.

The specific issue I’m referencing here is fuel sulfur content. Lowering fuel sulfur content is critical for reducing vehicle emissions and allowing implementation of advanced vehicle emission control technologies. (Sorry I don’t have time to write more on this right now; some background in this post.)

The China III fuel quality targets for sulfur content are 150ppm for gasoline and 350ppm for diesel. Although the timeline for reducing gasoline sulfur content to 150ppm has been fixed for some time (by GB17930-2006), there was, until now, no confirmation of the timeline for reducing nationwide diesel sulfur content to 350ppm. As such, this represents a concrete and important step towards the desulfurization of China’s motor fuel.

More analysis / commentary to come, and a link to the final standard when it is formally released (as opposed to just being announced by the State Council). For those of you who want to keep track at home, I’ve recently discovered that you can search planned and upcoming standards on SAC’s home page, by clicking on the 国家标准计划查询 link. In this case, searching for 车用柴油 will show you standard plan 20075424-T-469, which is in the 报批阶段, or final draft for approval, stage.

Lastly, here’s a table, as far as I understand the current situation, showing nationwide fuel sulfur content in China:

sulfur content

subsidies for energy-saving and new energy vehicles

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Earlier this year, China announced new subsidies for energy-saving and new energy vehicles, including hybrids, EVs, and fuel cell vehicles. The announcement was covered widely in the media / blogosphere, for example Xinhua, Reuters, and China Car Times. I didn’t get a chance to post about this last month; although I’m late now, I still think it’s worth providing some commentary and more information.

First of all, since I like to reference original sources whenever possible, I was able to find relevant info posted both on the MOF website as well as MOST’s. The MOF notice is only a brief summary, but the MOST page seems to be the complete announcement.

The lead of the Reuters story is an accurate and concise summary of the program:

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s central government will subsidize purchases of clean-energy vehicles for public fleets in 13 cities to help the automobile industry develop green technology, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The trial scheme will promote the use of electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles by public transport operators, taxi firms and postal and sanitary services in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai…

A key point here is that the subsidies are for public fleets only. As far as I can tell, Chinese consumers are not eligible to receive these subsidies, although both the Xinhua and China Car Times stories describe them as such. Unless I am misreading the MOST announcement or there is another subsidy program that I am not aware of?

In any case, some technical details of the program are as follows:

– For small passenger cars (乘用车) and light-duty commercial vehicles (轻型商务车), the subsidies start for new energy vehicles which have at least a 5% fuel economy improvement as compared with traditional vehicles.
– For buses (客车), the subsides start at 10% improvement.
– The actual amounts of the subsidies (per vehicle) are given in Appendix Tables 1 and 2, which I have translated here:

appendix 1

appendix 2

One huge question I still don’t know the answer to: how much is the total program worth? (No total is given in the MOST document.) The Xinhua story includes this paragraph:

China is keen to encourage the use and manufacture of new energy vehicles as its fast growing vehicle population is putting high pressure on environment protection and energy-saving targets. The central government pledged to provide 10 billion yuan (1.46 billion U.S. dollars) in the next three years to auto makers to help upgrade their technology and develop alternative energy vehicles.

But this is confusing – is this 10 billion RMB for this program? Or another program (I’m thinking the 863 program)? More details as I learn them.

list of chinese energy and environmental standards for vehicles

Thursday, February 19th, 2009


The content of this post has been moved to a permanent page on this blog. Please update your links!

new vehicle restriction policy in beijing

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008


I know, I’m a little late to the party on writing about this, so apologies for that.

As of yesterday, a new policy is in effect in Beijing to keep 800,000 cars off the roads every day. Though not nearly as far-reaching as the odd/even car ban implemented during the Olympics, the basic concept is the same: forbid certain cars from driving inside Beijing’s fifth ring road depending on the last digit of their license plates. According to this policy, vehicles whose license plate numbers end in 1 and 6 may not drive on Mondays, 2 and 7 on Tuesdays, 3 and 8 on Wednesdays, 4 and 9 on Thursdays, and 5 and 0 on Fridays (though supposedly the prohibited driving days will change each month). There are no restrictions on the weekends. Additionally, the government has supposedly eliminated 30% of government cars, though the details on how are a bit hazy.

I’m curious to see what the results of this policy will be, both from a pollution perspective and a congestion perspective. My initial reaction on the former is that it won’t have a huge effect, largely because cars are not the largest source of pollution in Beijing anyway. I wonder, then, if the ban is somewhat symbolic, a response to the loud public calls for the government to do something to signify a clear commitment not to let the pollution return to pre-Olympic levels.

Or maybe we are just seeing one step in a broad, coordinated series of policies designed to ween car-addicted Beijingers back to transit, bikes, and walking…

More info: