At the same time, the China VI standard will result in substantial climate co-benefits. The near-term warming impacts of diesel black carbon are up to 3,200 times greater than CO2. Since black carbon particles are short-lived, meaning they remain in the atmosphere only a few weeks, reducing black carbon emissions could have an immediate benefit by slowing the rate of climate change. According to the ICCT, the China VI standard will achieve an accumulated black carbon mitigation of 993,000 metric tons over the period 2020 to 2050.
84% of the world’s heavy-duty vehicle fleet could be soot-free by 2040 if other countries follow China's example and implement a China/Euro VI-equivalent emission standard for new heavy-duty vehicles no later than 2025. These potential efforts could avoid warming in 2050 equivalent to 15.4% of the 0.5°C achievable by reducing short-lived climate pollutants identified in a 2011 UNEP-WMO assessment.
The benefits of soot-free transport—both for human health and climate change mitigation—present a strong rationale for further action. Earlier this year, the ICCT launched the Soot-Free Transport initiative, a communications campaign to increase public awareness of the strategies available to accelerate the transition to soot-free fleets in cities and countries around the globe. The adoption of China VI is surely a huge milestone, but it’s absolutely not the end. More efforts need to be made to adopt soot-free emission standards for the remaining one-third of new heavy-duty vehicles globally, and to accelerate the deployment of zero emission vehicle technologies. In addition, the nonroad sector also needs to be seriously addressed. China’s nonroad sector emits huge amounts of NOX, black carbon and particle emissions annually, but is years behind heavy-duty vehicles in terms of regulation and deployment of emission control strategies.
Inspiringly, major manufacturers have committed to making it easier for cities to purchase vehicles with soot-free transport technologies. Many cities are leading the world in the transition to zero emission vehicles. For example, Shenzhen electrified its entire bus fleet of over 16,000 buses in 2017, achieving zero tailpipe emissions. Meanwhile, more stringent nonroad emission standards are already on the way. For example, China is expected to advance to the China IV nonroad emission standard by 2020. The Euro V nonroad emission standard, which is even more advanced and will take effect next year, is expected to be the one to finally force the deployment of DPFs for new non-road equipment.
This article was written by Hongyang Cui & Ray Minjares at the ICCT it first appeared here.
Links to a detailed English language policy update and a Cost Benefit Analysis by the ICCT will appear here once they have been published.