Thermal power generation based on coal-fired power plants has the advantages of stability and controllability and has been the largest source of electricity supply in China. Coal-fired power plants, however, are also accompanied by high carbon emissions and the release of harmful substances (mainly including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and smoke dust), and are even regarded as the “chief criminal” in terms of air pollution. However, thermal power is also a pioneering industry involved in several environmental regulations and cleaner production techniques before other industries. Evidence of this is China’s ultra-low emissions (ULE) policy on coal-fired power plants, implemented in 2015. To verify this policy’s effect, this study treats ULE as an exogenous impact variable, examining its emissions reduction effect on SO2, NOx, and smoke dust in Eastern and Central China using the difference-in-difference method (DID). The results show that the total emissions of the three pollutants were abated by 0.133%, 0.057% and 0.036% in Eastern, and by 0.120%, 0.035% and 0.043% in Central China at every 1% rise of thermal power generated after ULE. In addition, several other factors can also argue for the promotion of thermal power. Other industries, such as steel or chemical, have proven that they can contribute significant SO2 and NOx emissions. Based on these results, we provide suggestions on synergistic emissions reduction among multiple industries, as well as a discussion on the necessity of implementing ULE in Western China.
|Number of pages||19|
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Nov 2020|