Paying for Blue Skies
Flickr photo by Luo Shaiyang.

Flickr photo by Luo Shaiyang.

Previously, the Beijing skyline took the international spotlight during the Olympics as air pollution threatened athletes and cast a gray haze over the city. Now the Beijing government is designing a policy that would reward driver’s for purchasing cleaner cars. The “cash for clunkers” plan is part of a multi-pronged strategy to reduce over a quarter of a million high polluting cars from Beijing roads in 2009 and support China’s other efforts to reduce air pollution from transport.

This new initiative would address about 10% of the city’s cars which are thought to account for up to 50% of the air pollution for cars. Drivers of the targeted vehicles could be given up to $3600 to trade in their old polluters for cleaner cars in addition to low- rate loans to finance newer, cleaner vehicles.

In 2008, auto sales rose 7.4%, meaning that close to 6.5 million passenger cars came onto Chinese roads last year. “Cash for clunkers” programs have been implemented in many countries to help reduce air pollution through helping private users upgrade to cleaner solutions and they often inspire auto-makers to manufacturer cleaner. However, no matter how clean cars are; only so many will fit onto limited highway space. Thus such programs don’t address the broad spectrum of sustainable transport issues but they do serve to get committed car users into cleaner vehicles.For more information about the mixed reviews of “cash for clunkers” programs please consult:

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