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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fighting coal — Effectiveness of coal-replacement programs for residential heating in China: Empirical findings from a household survey


Household fuel substitution has been a crucial step for controlling air pollution in China, but the performance evaluation of household fuel substitution policies is overlooked. This study capitalized on the opportunity to use data collected during the household coal-replacement program in North China to evaluate the effect of a mandatory policy on fuel substitution at the micro-level. The results indicate that there is a significant effect of the coal-replacement program on fuel substitution, as we expected. The coal-to-electricity policy is effective in achieving the goal of a clean winter but not a warm winter due to the decline of delivered energy, while the high-quality coal replacement policy results in better performance in delivered energy but no improvement in indoor air quality. It is recommended to prioritize supporting measures on both the supply and demand sides before implementation, along with undertaking differential measures during the implementation phase to better address energy inequality.

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