Climate Change Research ›› 2021, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (3): 255-267.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2020.285

• Pollutants and GHGs reduction synergy to enhance efficiency • Previous Articles     Next Articles

From concept to action: a review of research on co-benefits and co-control of greenhouse gases and local air pollutants reductions

MAO Xian-Qiang1(), ZENG An2, XING You-Kai1, GAO Yu-Bing1,3, HE Feng1,3   

  1. 1 School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
    2 Institute of Science and Development, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100190, China
    3 Asia-Pacific Consulting Center for Environment and Development, Beijing 100191, China
  • Received:2020-12-09 Revised:2021-02-18 Online:2021-05-30 Published:2021-06-01


Since the IPCC put forward the concept of co-benefits in the 1990s, a number of studies have fully confirmed that greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission reduction policies and measures can produce considerable local environmental quality and health benefits. Correspondingly, existing studies have also confirmed that local air pollutants reduction policies and measures also have synergistic benefits for GHGs reduction. Soon after China completed its industrialization, the pressure of local air pollution reached its peak, and at the same time, it faced the tide of international community calling for climate change mitigation, and thus faced the dual pressure of reducing both GHGs and local air pollutants. Therefore, domestic researchers not only paid attention to the one-way co-beneifts evaluation of “from carbon reduction to local pollutants reduction” or “from local air pollutants reduction to carbon reduction”, but also put emphasis on integrated emission reductions. At the beginning of the 21st century, the concept of “co-control” proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency was introduced into China and warmly embraced. Chinese scholars first defined the connotation of co-control, and believed that co-control was the way to maximize co-benefits. This progress has raised people’s awareness of co-benefits to a new level of “global vision and local action”, and promoted people from passively accepting “co-benefits” to actively seeking “co-control” of both global and local pollutants. It provides an all-round support from epistemology, methodology to practice, for the carbon and local air pollutants co-reduction. On the basis of researches on co-benefits and co-control at home and abroad, Chinese scholars have proposed methods for evaluating co-control effectiveness and planning co-control paths, and verified the scientificity and feasibility of the methods through case studies in multiple industries, cities, and regions. Co-control has become an important national strategy for mitigating climate change and continuously improving the quality of the atmospheric environment. In the process of China’s promotion of the construction of a beautiful China and the realization of its carbon peak goals and carbon neutrality vision, the concept, measures and policies of co-control will play an increasingly important role. In the near future, the co-control objectives will expand from only the atmosphere to the broader eco-environmental system, and the establishment of a co-control governance system will become the key to realize coordination of climate change and ecological environment governance at the macro level.

Key words: Greenhouse gases, Local air pollutants, Co-benefits, Co-control, Evaluation and planning, Co-governance

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