The United States is going to help China implement tougher vehicle emission standards to help the Asian country tackle widespread air pollution, the White House announced following the conclusion of Vice President Joe Biden's visit to China. Under the new agreement, the US pledged to provide China technical assistance to implement a new round of vehicle emissions standards, dubbed as China VI that would require cars to have filters capturing particulate matter that adds to heavy smog.
"These standards, when implemented, will have significant air quality and climate benefits and reduce vehicle fuel use," according to a White House fact sheet. Addressing climate change internationally via both multilateral and bilateral relationships is part of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, a strategy unveiled in June 2013 to tackle greenhouse gases. China and the US are the largest and second-largest emitters of greenhouse gases.
The joint action between the two countries are seen by experts as the biggest hope for tackling global climate change. According to China's Ministry of Public Security, passenger car ownership in the country reached 120 million by the end of 2012. Riding on the current growth rate, the figure could exceed 200 million by 2020.
With air pollution in the country mostly caused by vehicle emissions, some of China's major cities placed new restrictions on vehicle sales. The country is currently implementing its fourth-stage emissions standards, or China IV diesel standards, which should limit the allowed sulfur content at 50 ppm in 2014, from current levels of 350 ppm. China V standards for diesel and refined gasoline will be implemented in 2017, when the sulfur content is limited to 10 parts per million.