新京报/The Beijing News’ Wu Di reports that the Beijing Environment Protection Bureau will delay the enforcement of Euro V emissions standards, but is considering the introduction of emissions fees for vehicles:

黄标车拟征排污费

Plans to levy an emission fee on yellow-plate vehicles

市环保局称北京暂不执行欧五排放标准

Municipal environmental protection bureau says it will delay implementation of Euro V emissions standards

Note: In China trucks, buses and similar vehicles have yellow licence plates, hence the “yellow-plate vehicles”.

昨天,北京市环保局相关负责人做客首都之窗时透露,出于技术等问题的考虑,目前北京暂不执行欧五排放标准,但是黄标车排污费事宜将提上日程。

Yesterday, while a guest of  Window on the Capital, the relevant leader of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau revealed that, due to consideration of technical problems, Beijing will delay the implementation of Euro V emissions standards, but a schedule for the arrangements for an emissions fee for yellow-plate vehicles will be put forward.

市环保局机动车排放管理处处长冯雨桥介绍,老旧黄标车排放量非常大,造成的污染十分严重。北京市很有可能将对黄标车收取排污费。

Assistant head of the Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau Motor Vehicle Emissions Management Office Feng Yuqiao said emission levels from old yellow-plate vehicles were extraordinarily large, creating an extremely serious pollution problem. Beijing City very well may collect emissions fees from yellow-plate vehicles.

“国外 对机动车的排放采用的方式多种多样,车要排放,所以交排污费也是正常的。”冯雨桥透露,五年前国家环保总局在郑州、吉林、杭州对机动车排污进行试点收费, 实施了好几年。运用经济杠杆的作用,治理或限制北京现有的30万至40万辆黄标车排污问题将会被政府有关部门考虑。因此冯雨桥表示,黄标车收取排污费,“ 早晚会实施的”。

Overseas many methods [fir management] of motor vehicle exhaust are used. Vehicles will emit, so paying an emission fee is very normal.” Feng Yuqiao revealed, five years ago the State Environmental Protection Agency carried out motor vehicle emissions fee trials in Zhengzhou, Jilin, and Hangzhou, which ran for several years. The use of economic levers to control or restrict the problem of emissions from Beijing’s current 300- to 400 thousand yellow-plate vehicles will be considered by the relevant government departments. For this reason, Feng Yuqiao said that the collection of emissions fees from yellow-plate vehicles “will be carried out sooner or later.”

冯雨桥介绍,目前北京执行的欧四排放标准,仅限于公交、环卫、邮政车辆,其他车暂时没有执行,主要是因为排放控制技术问题。“哪种控制技术更适合北京?”冯雨桥表示,要研究后再推广执行,因此暂不会考虑执行欧五标准。

Feng Yuqiao said that currently Beijing only enforces Euro IV emissions standards on public transport, sanitation, and postal vehicles, the standards have temporarily not been enforced on other vehicles, mainly because of technical problems with emission control. “Which control technology is most suited to Beijing?” Feng Yuqiao said that after research enforcement would be made more widespread, and so consideration of enforcing Euro V standards would be delayed.

Well, I like the idea of a polluter-pays principle if that provides a strong economic incentive to get old, dirty vehicles off the streets and keep new, cleaner vehicles maintained so as to keep emissions down. After all, last I heard vehicle exhaust was the largest contributor to air pollution in Beijing. I suspect that on its own it won’t be enough to get old vehicles off the road, though, and perhaps a couple of other carrots (subsidies of some kind to upgrade to Euro V even if Euro V isn’t yet being enforced?) and Big Sticks (confiscation of vehicles that consistently don’t meet standards? Three strikes and your truck is recycled?). I’m not so happy with the delay to Euro V, though. But then again, I have absolutely no expertise in any of the issues- economic, engineering, environmental, whatever- at play here, so I can’t really judge.

All I can say is that so long as they’re taking concrete steps to improve the environment, good. And this, even with a delay to Euro V, looks like progress to me.

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