Role of export industries on ozone pollution and its precursors in China

J. Ou, Zhijiong Huang, Zbigniew Klimont, Guanglin Jia, Shaohui Zhang, Cheng Li, Jing Meng, Zhifu Mi, Heran Zheng, Yuli Shan, Peter Louie, Junyu Zheng, Dabo Guan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study seeks to estimate how global supply chain relocates emissions of tropospheric ozone precursors and its impacts in shaping ozone formation. Here we show that goods produced in China for foreign markets lead to an increase of domestic non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) emissions by 3.5 million tons in 2013; about 13% of the national total or, equivalent to half of emissions from European Union. Production for export increases concentration of NMVOCs (including some carcinogenic species) and peak ozone levels by 20–30% and 6–15% respectively, in the coastal areas. It contributes to an estimated 16,889 (3,839–30,663, 95% CI) premature deaths annually combining the effects of NMVOCs and ozone, but could be reduced by nearly 40% by closing the technology gap between China and EU. Export demand also alters the emission ratios between NMVOCs and nitrogen oxides and hence the ozone chemistry in the east and south coast.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5492
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020


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