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International Programs

Cooperative Activites in China

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been collaborating with its counterpart, China's Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), now Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), on environmental issues for over two decades. EPA has collaborated or is collaborating with China to:

New! On May 9, 2011, EPA participated in the third annual Strategic & Economic Dialogue (S&ED) in Washington, D.C. Begun in 2009, the S&ED is the broadest and highest level exchange between the U.S. and Chinese governments.

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Save Energy and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

EPA’s work with China includes projects that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including energy efficiency; the capture and use of methane; expansion of wind power; and reductions of perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissions from the primary aluminum sector.

EPA’s energy efficiency work with China has focused on energy efficient buildings and voluntary labeling.

  • Voluntary Energy Efficiency Labeling. EPA assisted China with voluntary labeling in 10 product categories, including computers, monitors, and televisions. The voluntary labels of these products could reduce GHG emissions by 70 million tons of CO2 over 10 years, cumulatively. Cooperation also focused on the harmonization of test procedures, performance levels, and labels between EPA’s ENERGY STAR and China.
  • Energy Efficient Buildings. EPA partnered with China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to help China determine definitions and relevant comparisons for energy efficient buildings in China,” using lessons from EPA’s ENERGY STAR Buildings benchmarking program.
  • Existing building performance is the foundation for green building certification in both new and existing buildings. Through the eeBuildings program, EPA implemented training and capacity building programs to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings, using no-cost or low-cost methods. These lessons reached hundreds of Chinese property managers, property owners and property management companies.
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2007 Methane to Markets Partnership Expo, held in Beijing, China. Featured in Methane International Newsletter, Special Expo Edition

EPA’s Methane to Markets Partnership (M2M) is an international initiative that advances the recovery and use of methane as a clean energy source. EPA has worked with China to capture and use methane from agriculture, coal mining, and landfills.

  • China became a charter M2M partner in November 2004, and is an active participant in the steering committee and three subcommittees (Agriculture, Coal and Landfill).
  • China has made significant contributions to the Partnership over the years, highlighted by their hosting (along with EPA) of the M2M Partnership Expo in Beijing, China in Oct 2007. Over 750 attendees from more than 30 countries participated in the Expo. NDRC Vice Minister Xie was a plenary speaker at this event.

To expand the capacity of grid-connected wind power in China, the Wind Technology Partnership developed a comprehensive market expansion strategy for grid-connected Wind Power in China.

  • The strategy provided input into China’s first national renewable energy law, which was promulgated in 2005.
  • In its final year (2007), the WTP completed a pilot program in Zhangbei, one of the highest wind potential regions of China.

China is the largest producer of primary aluminum in the world. Under the Aluminum Task Force of the Asia Pacific Partnership, EPA is the project manager for efforts for the reduction of perfluorocarbon (PFC) emissions from the primary aluminum sector.

  • PFCs are extremely potent and persistent greenhouse gases that are inadvertent production by-products from the smelting process.
  • Emissions can be reduced primarily through improved process management, and with some limited opportunities for technology upgrades.
  • EPA is collaborating with the Chinese Nonferrous Metals Industry Association (CNIA), as well as with APP Partners from industry and government in the United States and Australia, to complete a series of training and PFC inventory and measurement activities for Chinese smelters operators.
  • Project activities in 2008 included a PFC Management Study Tour in Australia, completion of a PFC Management Demonstration Projects at two Chinese smelters, signing an MOU with CNIA, and completing PFC measurements at five smelters in China.

acid deposition map

Acid Rain Deposition Map, 2004. Acid deposition caused by SO2 emissions is prevalent, and high levels of SO2 result in acid rain deposition on ~ 30% of China’s arable land.

Reduce Threats to Health Caused by Pollution

To reduce threats to health caused by pollution, EPA and China are partnering on projects to develop a sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions trading program; improve the efficiency and reduce emissions from cement kilns; reduce exposure to indoor air pollution and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from cooking and heating with traditional fuels; and reduce emissions from the transportation sector.

In one collaborative project, EPA is working to address sulfur dioxide emissions through:

  • Development of a new sulfur dioxide emissions trading program, following the completion of the China-US Joint Economic Study (JES) on energy conservation and emission reduction in the power sector.
  • Efforts are underway to design and implement the trading program for China's coal-burning power plants, as well as to build the institutions and infrastructure for cap and trade programs concerning other pollutants.


EPA is working with agencies and non-profit organizations in China to demonstrate effective approaches to reduce exposure to indoor air pollution from cooking and heating with traditional fuels, by promoting alternative energy and introducing cleaner, more efficient and affordable cooking and heating stoves.

  • Efforts in 2003 - 2008 resulted in 2.4 million households adopting cleaner cooking practices, improving the lives of 18.4 million people.
  • In addition, each improved stove reduces an estimated two to four tons of carbon dioxide, as well as black carbon.

To reduce emissions from the transportation sector, EPA and MEP pursue an integrated set of projects promoting clean fuels and vehicles in China. EPA is undertaking these efforts in part through participation in the WSSD-launched Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) Exit EPA disclaimer, which MEP formally joined in 2007. Activities include:

  • Diesel retrofit demonstration project in Beijing;
  • Assistance with compliance and management to ensure that fuels and vehicles meet respective standards;
  • Voluntary measures to reduce diesel emissions from ships and other port sources in Shanghai, one of the world’s busiest ports; and
  • Advancement of low sulfur fuel policy in China.
cement kiln

Vertical shaft cement kiln in China. Note particulate emissions (red), which were accompanied by high levels of dioxins/furans and carbon monoxide. Subsequently installed EPA-recommended retrofits reduced emissions to meet international standards.

Efforts leading toward the more efficient production of cement, and to allow for more comprehensive management of dioxins and furans from cement kilns.

  • China produces nearly half of the world’s cement.
  • In accord with the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants Exit EPA disclaimer, EPA assisted MEP to inventory POPs from the cement sector, and to develop and pilot test Best Available Techniques/Best Environmental Practices (BAT/BEP) to reduce POPs emissions by improving kiln combustion efficiency.
  • These tests demonstrated over 90% reduction in POPs, accompanied by fuel savings and reduced CO2 emissions.
  • In July 2009, MEP launched regional workshops to promote the findings of the project and the BAT/BEP to cement plants nationwide.
  • Additionally, a bilateral coalition of US and Chinese organizations is developing a comprehensive national program to improve energy efficiency, increase the use of alternative fuels and raw materials, and reduce emissions from China’s cement sector.

Create the Foundation for Long-Term Environmental Sustainability

China and the United States are collaborating on projects which will create the foundation for long-term environmental sustainability, including developing procedures for better management of air quality; improving China’s national GHG inventory; developing Integrated Environmental Strategies to implement co-benefits policies; and the development, implementation and enforcement of strong and effective environmental laws.

Since 2005, MEP and EPA have been co-sponsoring an annual Regional Air Quality Management (RAQM) Conference, to educate national, regional, and local environmental authorities, as well as key officials from the private sector, in:

  • the development and use of an emissions inventory,
  • the design and use of an ambient monitoring network,
  • local and regional air quality modeling,
  • development of multipollutant control strategies,
  • development of regulations, and
  • public participation and outreach at the national and local levels.

Previous RAQM conferences have focused on sulfur oxides, particulate matter, regional haze and multipollutant control strategies. The fifth RAQM conference is planned for October 26-27, 2009 in Beijing.

China has made considerable progress in preparing GHG inventories that are consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines. However, to improve the quality of their national GHG inventories, gaps in institutional capacity and data quality still need to be addressed. EPA’s key activities with China include:

  • improving national inventory management systems and training Chinese experts on developing a national GHG inventory system;
  • improving inventory management and data inputs in key sectors such as land-use and agriculture; and
  • China-specific training on Agriculture and Land Use through a series of in-country training workshops.

EPA's Integrated Environmental Strategies (IES) program is working with China to evaluate the public health, economic, and environmental benefits of integrated planning, to address both global greenhouse gas emissions and local environmental concerns.

  • The IES program works to quantify GHG co-benefits of alternative pollution reduction policies and build capacity to develop, analyze, promote and implement policies that reduce GHGs, improve air quality and protect public health.
  • IES Assessments, conducted with local technical institutions in conjunction with MEP, have been completed for Shanghai and Beijing.
  • Two of EPA’s Models -- 3/Community Multi-scale Air Quality model (CMAQ) and Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program (BenMAP) -- were used jointly for the first time in EPA's IES National Assessment in China.
  • EPA, MEP’s Policy Research Center for Environment and Economics (PRCEE), and China’s Development Research Council (DRC), have modeled the cost effectiveness of policies and programs to reduce energy intensity and sulfur dioxide emissions, while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions.
  • EPA is currently cooperating with NDRC on an analysis related to China’s national climate change strategy.
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EPA and MEP representatives discuss legal provisions for prevention and control of water pollution.

China now has a broad range of environmental laws and environmental standards. However, there are still significant gaps, including implementation and enforcement.

  • EPA is cooperating with China to improve its environmental laws, institutions, implementation, and enforcement.
  • EPA’s assistance in ensuring enforceable requirements at all levels of government, in the form of both regulations and permits, will complement efforts to address climate change, as well as other environmental challenges.

Learn more:

U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED)
History of EPA's Collaboration with China


Back to: EPA's Programs in Asia


For additional information on EPA's work in Asia, contact:

Mark Kasman
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2670R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
E-mail: kasman.mark@epa.gov
(202) 564-2024

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