China is experiencing severe air pollution and huge greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a result of its booming economy over the last 30 years. To cope with current international climate change problems, GHG emissions reduction should therefore be considered alongside air pollution control. The past 30 years have shown that total emissions reduction of a single pollutant does not proportionally improve urban ambient air quality. This study shows the difference between a single-pollutant control strategy (SPC), an air pollution control strategy that sets pollutant reduction targets one by one, and multiple-pollutant control (MPC), which sets multiple pollutant reduction targets at the same time, focusing on the coal-fired electricity sector. The results showed that end-of-pipe technology schemes for coal-fired power plants under MPC were more cost-effective than SPC. Reductions in GHG emissions through MPC cost CNY 8 billion per year less than SPC. If coal washing were to be added to 20% of the sector’s installed capacity, then reductions through MPC would cost CNY 6 billion a year less than SPC.
Economic Analysis of Multi-pollutant Control in Coal-fired Electricity Plants in China