Qian Yu, Xiaodong Ge, Haotian Zheng, Jia Xing, Lei Duan, Dongwei Lv, Dian Ding, Zhaoxin Dong, Yisheng Sun, Posch Maximilian, Danni Xie, Yu Zhao, Bin Zhao, Shuxiao Wang, Jan Mulder, Thorjørn Larssen, Jiming Hao

A probe into acid deposition mitigation path in China over the last four decades and beyond

  • Multidisciplinary

Abstract China currently has the globally highest acid deposition, yet research on its status, impacts, causes, and controls is lacking. Here, we compiled data and calculated critical loads regarding acid deposition. The results showed that the abatement measures in China have achieved a sharp decline in the emissions of acidifying pollutants and a continuous recovery of precipitation pH, despite the drastic growth of the economy and energy consumption. However, the risk of ecological acidification and eutrophication showed no significant decrease. With similar emission reductions, the decline in areas at risk of acidification in China (7.0%) lags behind Europe (20%) or the USA (15%). This was because, unlike Europe and the USA, China's abatement strategies primarily target air quality improvement rather than mitigating ecological impacts. Given that the area with the risk of eutrophication induced by nitrogen deposition remained at 13% of the country even under the scenario of achieving the dual targets of air quality and carbon dioxide mitigation in 2035, we explored an enhanced ammonia abatement pathway. With a further 27% reduction in ammonia by 2035, China could largely eliminate the impacts of acid deposition. This research serves as a valuable reference for China's future acid deposition control and for other nations facing similar challenge.

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