Chinese traffic cuts reduce air pollution

May 03, 2007

Restrictions on Beijing motorists during a three-day period last November significantly reduced smog and airborne pollutants.

Chinese officials, in what was viewed as a rehearsal for the 2008 Summer Olympics, imposed restrictions that resulted in approximately 800,000 of Beijing's 2.8 million vehicles being taken off the road. The result, according to a U.S. study, was a 30 percent reduction in the city's traffic volume and a resulting 40 percent decrease in nitrous oxide emissions.

Harvard University researchers Michael McElroy, Yuxuan Wang and K. Folkert Boersma used data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Aura satellite to assess the drop in emissions.

"I don't think a proper analysis has ever been made before of such a remarkable shift of environmental policy in such a short period of time," said McElroy, a professor of environmental studies.

China's restrictions on Beijing drivers coincided with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, held in Beijing Nov. 4-6.

Wang, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow, said, "We expected a drop in nitrogen emissions, but not to this extent, and after only a short period of time."

The scientists detail their research in the current issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China air quality dire but improving: Greenpeace

Jan 22, 2015

The skies of China's notoriously smog-filled cities saw a marginal amelioration last year, according to figures released by Greenpeace Thursday, but pollution remained far above national and international ...

Pollution soars in Chinese capital amid winter smog

Jan 15, 2015

Pollution levels soared in Beijing on Thursday to readings more than 20 times WHO recommended limits, as an annual bout of intense smog returned to haunt the Chinese capital despite government vows to address the plague.

US-China climate deal aims to prod others to act

Nov 13, 2014

A groundbreaking agreement struck by the United States and China is putting the world's two worst polluters on a faster track to curbing the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. With the clock ticking ...

Kerry urges US-China cooperation on climate change

Nov 04, 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday the U.S. and China must work together to stave off a global catastrophe from climate change. He appealed for greater cooperation between the two world powers despite strains between ...

Recommended for you

Lights out in Australia as Earth Hour kicks off

22 hours ago

The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the sails on the nearby Opera House went dark Saturday, as lights on landmarks around Australia were switched off for the global climate change awareness campaign Earth Hour.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.