Revealing the True Picture of Chinese Industrial Air Pollution with Real Monitoring Data

The Chinese Industrial Emissions Database (CIED) is the first nationwide database of industrial particulate matter (PM), SO2 and NOX emissions, using the real smokestack concentrations from China’s continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) network.
Published in Research Data
Revealing the True Picture of Chinese Industrial Air Pollution with Real Monitoring Data

China is the world's largest industrial producer and has long struggled with high levels of air pollution caused by industrial emissions, including PM, SO2, and NOX. To better understand and control these emissions, accurate and up-to-date data on industrial pollution sources is critical. However, previous emission datasets have relied on assumptions and proxies due to a lack of actual monitoring data, leading to high uncertainty.

In our latest paper published in Scientific Data, we have created a new nationwide database of industrial emissions called the CIED database, which is based on real monitoring data from the newly built Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) in China. This dataset includes hourly, source-level PM, SO2, and NOX concentrations from Chinese industrial sources from 2015 to 2018, providing accurate and detailed information on industrial emissions across the country. We also estimate nationwide, source-level, and dynamic emission factors and absolute emissions for PM, SO2, and NOX by region and sector.

The creation of the CIED dataset was a lengthy process that took over two years to complete. We put a significant amount of effort into preprocessing the CEMS data, meticulously reviewing observations through data visualization and analyzing any missing, zero, or abnormal values to uncover any underlying causes and addressing them according to relevant rules. Additionally, we conducted systematic uncertainty analyses and independent verification to ensure the accuracy and reliability of our estimates.

Our CIED database provides insights into the overall, detailed, and dynamic characteristics of industrial emissions in China and can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of clean air policies on industrial emissions. We have conducted an ex-post analysis of reductions in air pollution related to China's tightening emission standards as well as an ex-ante assessment of future abatement if more ambitious ultra-low emissions (ULE) standards are implemented. We have also detailed the technologies and mechanisms used to meet the ULE standards and the determinants of compliance, providing insights into future policymaking. Please see our CIED-based papers about power sector published in Nature Energy, ironmaking and steelmaking sector published in Nature Sustainability, and cement sector published in One Earth

Our dataset can also be used to support a comprehensive analysis of the efficacy of climate change policies and clean air policies for Chinese industrial emissions. While the CEMS network does not yet cover all industrial emission sources, we plan to extend the CIED database in the near future to include measurements of greenhouse gases and water pollutants.
Overall, our CIED database is a valuable resource for policymakers and researchers looking to control industrial emissions in China and beyond. It is publicly available and freely accessible, providing accurate and reliable data for future analysis and policy development.

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