China’s government announced it is scaling back its pollution control campaign this fall and winter, in an effort to offset the negative impact of U.S. tariffs on the economy.
According to ChemLinked, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment, with a number of other State Council branches, including the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and some local provincial governments, jointly issued a notice on the work plan of air pollution control in the autumn and winter between 2018 and 2019 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area. According to the work plan, the Chinese government will ease up on the pollution control campaign and decrease pressure on local governments and industries to counteract the trade dispute’s strain on economic growth.
The South China Morning Post reported that targets for overall emissions cuts have also been revised down. In the next six months, 28 cities in northern China are required to cut levels of PM2.5 – the tiny airborne particles that are most harmful to human health – by about 3% from a year ago. That is less than the 5% cut proposed in the initial plan, the paper said.
Meanwhile, the new plan stipulates that the number of days of severe air pollution should be reduced by about 3%, also revised down from 5% in last month’s draft, the paper said.
The plan released jointly by central government agencies and six provincial-level regions will turn implementation over to local authorities, who have been told “to avoid the ‘one-size-fits-all’ method when it comes to curtailing the output of polluting industries,” the official Xinhua news agency said.
Last week, the government reported that China’s growth of gross domestic product fell to 6.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier, down from second-quarter growth of 6.7% — the lowest quarterly growth in nearly a decade.