Sustainable Urban Strategies & Climate Change

Exploring "Sustainable Urban Strategies in the Context of Climate Change", the first Energy, Climate and Environment Roundtable was successfully held in Beijing

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On the afternoon of 18 July 2022, the first event of “Energy, Climate and Environment Roundtable Series”,supported by the US-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP), was successfully held in Beijing with the topic of "Sustainable Urban Strategies in the Context of Climate Change". The event was hosted by the Center for Environmental Education and Communications of Ministry of Ecology and Environment (CEEC) and organized by the Council for Sustainable Development and Low Carbon Innovation of the World Environment.

During the event, Tian Chengchuan, director of CEEC, was invited as the moderator; Liu Yanhua, the former Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology and Honorary Director of the National Expert Committee on Climate Change delivered remarks. William Yu Feng, the President of Honeywell China, and Yuan Xin, the Vice Chairman of China Association of City Planning and President of Tsinhua Tongheng Research Institute, attended this event and delivered keynote speeches. More than 30 representatives from Honeywell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BakerHughes, Intel, BV, Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical Company, China Forestry Group, and WWF participated as well.

Dir. Tian Chengchuan pointed out that the issue of climate change is a very serious and urgent challenge facing mankind today, especially in recent years when global climate anomalies and extreme weather occur frequently. There is no time to lose in addressing the climate crisis. He mentioned that cities are the main carriers of human industrial civilization, the essential form of modern human aggregation, the centers of energy consumption and carbon emissions, and the focus areas for climate change impacts. It is believed that cities are the significant part for climate change mitigation and adaptation. In the context of climate change, exploring sustainable urban strategies is a vital topic.

Mr. Liu Yanhua said that roughly 55% of the world's population lives in cities, with the proportion in developed countries reaching more than 75%, and the number of urban populations worldwide will increase in the future. China's urban population reached 64% in 2021 and is expected to reach 70-75% by 2030. Currently China is a major emitter of greenhouse gases, of which carbon dioxide emissions are mainly concentrated in cities, which are also places where air pollution is relatively severe, making cities a key area in the context of climate change. Under the “30-60” dual carbon goals, the hallmarks of a low carbon city include standards such as being a leader in new energy innovation and construction, being energy independent, and investing in green infrastructure.

Mr. William Yu Feng emphasized that in sustainable urban development, it is important to think about how cities can truly integrate with nature, achieve harmony with nature, and ensure that cities can sustainably develop to cure their own "urban diseases". In supporting cities sustainable development, enterprises should play a role of continuous innovation and deepening cooperation.

Mr. Yuanxin in his speech shared how to promote sustainable urban development strategy in the background of climate change. He summarized the planning strategies of sustainable cities from seven aspects, including people-centered new urbanization, industrial transformation and circular economy, regional energy structure transformation, building energy conservation and low-carbon city, green and low-carbon transportation system construction, optimization of urban structure and functional layout, land space and ecological protection, and shared cases.

During the exchange session, representatives of entrepreneurs from various industries engaged in a lively discussion on the role of enterprises in promoting sustainable urban development in the context of the “dual carbon” goals.

The ECP City Initiative has been a signature program and an important area of previous bilateral cooperation in climate change and energy sector. Sustainable urban development is also a long-standing focus area for ECP to participate and support. ECP has been actively involved in the promotion of eco-low carbon cooperation and international exchange in Chinese cities for more than a decade. Ms. Sue Wang, the ECP City Initiative Chair, also shared her view for future ECP city initiative.  ECP will continue to play its role as a platform for government and enterprises to help cities achieve low-carbon sustainable and high-quality development and explore effective plans to address climate change with all relevant key parties; ECP will find ways to achieve sustainable urban development and promote more practical, sustainable, and replicable green and low-carbon demonstration projects to achieve multi-wins for cities and enterprises. ECP will also continue to support and participate in the cross-sector “Energy, Climate and Environment” series, and focus on energy and climate issues.