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Climate protection and motor vehicle regulations: Evaluation of motor vehicle regulations in China in the context of greenhouse gas management


Mingde Cao is at the China University of Political Science and Law, Department of Civil Commercial and Economic Law School, Beijing. Email:

Yixiang Xu is at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, Department of Economy Law School, Chongqing. Email:


Climate change requires a re-evaluation of the regulations pertaining to motor vehicles from the perspective of greenhouse gas (GHG) management. This article evaluates the regulations of motor vehicles in China from that perspective. Technology-based regulations on motor vehicles play an important role in reducing GHG emissions. However, technology-based regulations are not likely to be sufficient to achieve effective GHG management. Non-technology-based regulations can influence the behaviour of citizens and promote climate-friendly transport modes. They can contribute significantly to the mitigation of GHG. In China, both the regulations on automobile ownership and those on automobile utilization should be adopted in order for the country to avoid being locked into an unsustainable transportation system. Regulations to promote public transport and non-motorized transport modes should be introduced as early as possible.