Sunday, May 31, 2009

reports repository

One of the nice things about having a blog is that it becomes a reference for yourself - a repository of information and links that previously were scattered about in a disorganized series of e-mails, files, folders, draft documents, etc.

To help with organization, I'm creating this post as a repository of reports that fall into one of the following categories: a) I often reference it; b) I often want to send the link to someone else; c) it's on my list / pile to be read. Whichever the category, I think maintaining an occasionally-updated post (in the spirit of my previous post, "List of Chinese Energy and Environmental Standards for Vehicles") will be useful to me, and I hope to you as well. Please feel free to suggest links to add here!

The reports will be divided loosely by category. Most, but not all, are related directly to China and/or transportation.

Climate Change
6/2009: March 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference synthesis report (h/t RealClimate)

5/2009: Greenpeace - America's Share of the Climate Crisis

3/2009: Sweden - A Balancing Act: China’s Role in Climate Change

1/2009: MIT - Probabilistic Forecast for 21st Century Climate Based on Uncertainties in Emissions (without Policy) and Climate Parameters

1/2009: Asia Society - Common Challenge, Collaborative Response: A Roadmap for US-China Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change

1/2009: Brookings - Overcoming Obstacles to U.S.-China Cooperation on Climate Change

6/2008: McKinsey - The carbon productivity challenge: Curbing climate change and sustaining economic growth

12/2007: IPCC - Fourth Assessment Report

Fuel Economy
3/2009: Harvard ETIP: China's Fuel Economy Standards for Passenger Vehicles

2/2008: CATARC - Analysis of Implementation Results of the Standard "Limits of Fuel Consumption for Passenger Cars"

7/2007: The ICCT - Passenger Vehicle Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Economy Standards: A Global Update; also updated data here

Vehicle Population and Emissions Projections
12/2006: Wang et al - Projection of Chinese Motor Vehicle Growth, Oil Demand, and CO2 Emissions Through 2050 (full text not available online)

12/2005: Schipper and Ng - Growing in the Greenhouse Chapter 4 - China Motorization Trends: Policy Options in a World of Transport Challenges

8/2005: He et al - Oil consumption and CO2 emissions in China's road transport: current status, future trends, and policy implications (full text not available online)

Air Quality
5/2009: Steven Q. Andrews - Seeing Through the Smog: Understanding the Limits of Chinese Air Pollution Reporting

9/2008: Steven Q. Andrews - Inconsistencies in air quality metrics: 'Blue Sky' days and PM10 concentrations in Beijing

2007: Streets et al - Air quality during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Life Cycle Analysis and Electric Cars / Bikes
12/2008: McKinsey - China Charges Up: The Electric Vehicle Opportunity

11/2008: MDB - The Green Car Report: Investment Analysis of the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Industry - Outlook for 2009-2012

7/2008: MIT - On the Road in 2035: Reducing Transportation's Petroleum Consumption and GHG Emissions

2007: California's Low Carbon Fuel Standards supporting reports.

General Transportation
5/2008: IFEU - Transport in China: Energy Consumption and Emissions of Different Transport Modes

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

state council announces new diesel fuel quality standards

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:

Friday, May 15, 2009

all blogger blogs blocked in china

Update 5/18/09: After hearing two positive recommendations from individuals I trust, I've invested $40 for a year of Witopia private VPN. So I'm now able to read and post to my blog like normal, as well as access all sorts of other sensitive content (including news and video) during a time in which, apparently, China will consistently ratchet up its internet censorship.

Of course, me having access is nice for me, but does nothing to address the greater issue of working towards greater information and media transparency here within China (including the issue of how to make the content of this blog available to people without VPNs or proxies). But this is a topic for another time.

All blogger-based blogs (e.g. everything that ends in are currently blocked in China. This includes this blog. I'm posting this using the Tor proxy.

Also, Youtube has been blocked for perhaps a month or more.

My guess is - assuming they are lifted at all - that these blocks will not be lifted until after a certain sensitive date early next month.

Until then, I will post as I can and try to stay connected. I need to upgrade my circumvention methodology...I've been using Tor off and on for a couple of years but it seems to get slower and slower. Even now I have very limited functionality because the entire page isn't loading. In any case, if anyone has any advice on reliable and preferably free ways to get around the GFW, I'd appreciate it if you would contact me.

China can be a very frustrating place. To any of you out there who are reading this in a country that doesn't unpredictably and deliberately stifle the free flow of ideas because of a constitutionally-guaranteed (and court-supported) right to free speech, I invite you to pause for a moment to appreciate that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

april 2009 was beijing's cleanest april in 10 years

I'm a couple of weeks late on this (still playing catch up), but I thought this recent story was worth noting.

On May 2nd, China Daily reported that "Beijing has 'cleanest month' in 9 years," writing, "the city experienced its best month of air quality since 2000 with 23 blue-sky days in April."

The excellent blog Daily Dose of Air Pollution highlighted that this claim is dubious, noting at least three other months (August and September, 2008, and August 2006) in which Beijing had higher numbers of Blue Sky Days and lower average APIs than April 2009.

I think I've identified the source of confusion. The official Beijing EPB announcement (Chinese), titled 4月本市空气质量创2000年以来同期最好水平, states specifically that April 2009 was the best April since 2000, not the best month overall. It seems the China Daily (or the Beijing EPB spokesperson during the press conference) misrepresented the real announcement.

Two follow up points:

1) While acknowledging progress, we should also simultaneously not get too excited over the "clean" air. The Beijing EPB claims that the average PM concentration during this month was 120 ug/m3 (主要污染物可吸入颗粒物月均浓度为每立方米0.12 毫克), which is still well above China's national air quality target (100 ug/m3) and six times higher than the WHO recommended guideline (20 ug/m3). (Comparison of international standards in this post.) Although it is critically important in China to note progress, we must not wrap ourselves so much in cheers of success that we become blinded to the significant challenges and work still ahead.

2) The China Daily article describes in more detail than I have ever seen how the economic slowdown may have contributed to improved air quality, writing:
Besides strict environmental protection measures, experts think the global economic slowdown might be playing a positive role in environmental protection.

Zhu Tong, an environment professor with Peking University, told China Daily on Friday that heavy industry has decreased production in many polluting factories, which benefits the air.

"Most companies in heavy industry are seeing fewer orders. The output of the Shougang Group this year so far equals the same period during the Olympics," said Wang Dawei, head of the air quality control division of the Beijing municipal environmental protection bureau.

In the first season this year, the added value for ferrous metal and chemistry manufacturing in the capital was 3.36 billion yuan ($490 million) and 1.85 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 18.1 percent and 17.9 percent respectively.

If the improved air quality is indeed due to the slowdown, then this means there is even less cause for celebration.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

a few electric vehicle reports and links

Electric vehicles are quickly taking the spotlight here in China, with the recently announced subsidies for new energy vehicles and government plans for electric vehicle industry development, followed by the Shanghai auto show, prompting a flurry of media articles from both within China and abroad.

I'll be posting more in the next days and weeks what I think of these developments, but to start with I want to link to some relevant analyses that may be of interest to other researchers out there.

First of all, here is the McKinsey report that is referenced by both recent NYTimes and Guardian pieces:

McKinsey - China Charges Up: The Electric Vehicle Opportunity

For non-China-specific life cycle impacts analysis of different vehicle energy technologies, nothing beats this MIT report:

MIT - On the Road in 2035: Reducing Transportation's Petroleum Consumption and GHG Emissions

California also has similar, relevant reports on their Low Carbon Fuel Standards page.

Lastly, I haven't read it all yet, but someone recently forwarded me this seemingly quite comprehensive Green Car market analysis report from consulting firm MDB:

MDB - The Green Car Report: Investment Analysis of the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Industry - Outlook for 2009-2012

I will be making follow up posts with key conclusions and take-away messages from these reports, but for now I just wanted to get them out there.


new recommended blog - china car times green

Greetings! I'm finally back and settled in Beijing after traveling for much of the past month (hence the lack of posting). I was in the States for two weeks of conferences / meetings and then spent a week on vacation in Taiwan with my visiting parents.

I am slowly catching up on news and blogging. To start with, I want to pass along an excellent new blog from the folks at China Car Times:

The blog features frequent, excellent posts on China's alternative energy vehicle industry developments.