Following Beijing's announcement that it plans to implement harsher emissions standards for vehicles, China's environment minister said that emissions of four major pollutants fell last year and should fall by similar levels this year. However, he admitted that the country faced difficulties ending chronic pollution. Despite the winter's severe pollution, emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, chemical oxygen, and ammonia nitrogen all recorded decreases of two percent in 2012 and are likely to drop an additional two percent in 2013. "To cope with an air quality crisis, contingency measures will be adopted, such as suspending or limiting the production of certain vehicles and limiting emissions and car usage," said an official. "The ministry will also ban the operation of vehicles registered before 2005 under exhaust emissions requirements." In the nation's capital, city officials announced plans to implement emergency vehicle emissions cutting measures beginning next month. As the number of private vehicles approaches 6 million in Beijing, the city will implement a standard similar to the Euro V in Europe. The new rule will apply to vehicles not already in use and will halt sales of cars that fail to meet stricter standards. For the story on China's emission levels, see For the story on Beijing's vehicle emissions measures, see