Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Clearing the air in China

Coal power generation in China is among the major causes of the country’s heavily polluted air. Researchers now use comprehensive emissions monitoring data to show that many plants report compliance with new ultra-low emissions standards earlier than required, substantially reducing the pollution they emit.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Daily distributions of stack concentrations at Chinese power plant stacks 2014–2017.


  1. 1.

    Tang, L. et al Nat. Energy (2019).

  2. 2.

    Karplus, V. J., Zhang, S. & Almond, D. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 115, 7004–7009 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    The Ministry of Ecology and Environment notification on the inspection and sampling of self-monitoring quality of waste water discharge units in the Yangtze River Delta region. Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China (2019).

  4. 4.

    Greenstone, M. & Lee, K. Star rating program: improving pollution monitoring and enforcement in Odisha. Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (2019).

  5. 5.

    Zhai, S. et al. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 19, 11031–11041 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Valerie J. Karplus.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Karplus, V.J. Clearing the air in China. Nat Energy 4, 904–905 (2019).

Download citation


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing