China’s carbon emission trends and changes in traditional urban development models

China’s carbon emission trends

On September 30, 2008, Ross Garnaut of Georgia published the Garnaut Climate Change Review (Garnaut Climate Change Review), stating: since 2000, with the booming economies of developing countries, including China, global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel sources have grown at an annual rate of 3% (Grnaut, 2008). The proportion of China’s urban GDP in the national GDP will increase from 75% in 2010 to about 90% in 2020; by 2020, China’s CO2 emissions will increase by more than 60% compared with 2005, CO2 emissions will account for about 72% of the national total, and the top 100 economic cities will account for about 51% of the country’s total emissions. China’s carbon dioxide emissions will peak between 2035 and 2045. According to 2006 data, Shanghai has become the world’s largest CO2 emitting city.

China's Carbon Dioxide Emissions Exceeds US and EU Combined
China’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions Exceeds US and EU Combined

The inevitability of changing the traditional urban development model

Obviously, we need to change the traditional urban development model to meet the challenge of global warming. Specifically, we need to pursue an ideal “low-carbon” city model to resolve the disaster risk brought to human society by the 200 years of “high-carbon” cities since the Industrial Revolution. Low-carbon city and low-carbon economy refer to the urban development model in which economic growth is decoupled from CO2 emission areas. It has two goals: one is to maintain economic growth; the other is to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The development of low-carbon cities includes not only energy system and carbon emission issues, but also development issues, including the comprehensive development of economy, social culture and urban space environment, the production process of material flow at the micro level and the decoupling development at the macro level. To develop an ideal low-carbon city, low-carbon city planning theories and methods are inevitable key technologies. That is to say, the technical means of energy saving and emission reduction are not enough to solve the problem of reducing CO2 emissions. It is also necessary to measure urban planning and construction with more diverse standards, seek the low-carbon direction of urban development through low-carbon urban planning, and explore sustainable low-carbon urban development models. Low-carbon urban planning will become a key technology for carbon emission reduction.