, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 254–265 | Cite as

China’s air pollution reduction efforts may result in an increase in surface ozone levels in highly polluted areas

  • Annela AngerEmail author
  • Olivier Dessens
  • Fengming Xi
  • Terry Barker
  • Rui Wu


China, as a fast growing fossil-fuel-based economy, experiences increasing levels of air pollution. To tackle air pollution, China has taken the first steps by setting emission–reduction targets for nitrogen oxides (NO x ) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the 11th and 12th Five Year Plans. This paper uses two models—the Energy–Environment–Economy Model at the Global level (E3MG) and the global Chemistry Transport Model pTOMCAT—to test the effects of these policies. If the policy targets are met, then the maximum values of 32 % and 45 % reductions below ‘business as usual’ in the monthly mean NO x and SO2 concentrations, respectively, will be achieved in 2015. However, a decrease in NO x concentrations in some highly polluted areas of East, North-East and South-East China can lead to up to a 10% increase in the monthly mean concentrations in surface ozone in 2015. Our study demonstrates an urgent need for the more detailed analysis of the impacts and designs of air pollution reduction guidelines for China.


Surface ozone China Atmospheric pollution Five Year Plan 



The authors acknowledge the use of the UCL Legion High Performance Computing Facility (Legion@UCL), and associated support services, in the completion of this work. The authors are grateful to Professor, Corinne Le Quéré, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, the late Professor, Laurence Mee of the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), and Mr. Mike Purday for their valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annela Anger
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Olivier Dessens
    • 4
  • Fengming Xi
    • 5
  • Terry Barker
    • 1
    • 6
  • Rui Wu
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Environmental Sciences and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  2. 2.Emmanuel CollegeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Downing CollegeCambridgeUK
  4. 4.Energy InstituteUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Institute of Applied EcologyChinese Academy of SciencesShenyangChina
  6. 6.Department of Land EconomyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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