China’s countermeasures and measures to deal with climate change part 2

5. Low-carbon development pilot

Shanghai Chongming Island Dongtan Eco-city is the world’s first sustainable urban plan for zero-carbon development. In January 2008, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched the low-carbon city development project in China, and Shanghai and Baoding were selected as the first batch of pilot cities. The Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, Tangshan Caofeidian International Eco-city, Shenzhen Guangming New District, Beichuan New County, Changsha Dahexi, Turpan New District, Zhuzhou Yunlong Eco-city, etc. have carried out pilot projects for the construction of low-carbon ecological new cities. The Shanghai World Expo Park, Beijing Olympic Forest Park, Beijing Changxindian Low-Carbon Community, Shandong Libei Binhai Economic Park and Dongguan Ecological Park have carried out low-carbon ecological park pilots, and Beijing, Hebei Huailai, Chongqing, Dezhou China Sun City and Sun Valley have carried out low-carbon urban planning. In 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission launched the low-carbon economy pilot demonstration project, among which Guangdong, Liaoning, Hubei, Shaanxi and Yunnan, and eight cities of Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Guiyang and Baoding were selected as the first batch of low-carbon economy demonstration sites to achieve low-carbon-led economic and social development through local planning. In 2010, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development signed agreements with Shenzhen and Wuxi successively, whereby the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the urban people’s government will jointly build a national low-carbon ecological demonstration city (district). However, after some cities have formulated low-carbon eco-city plans, they have not actually implemented them. One of the important reasons is that the relationship between low-carbon eco-city planning and the current planning system is not defined the low-carbon eco-city planning lacks an overall perspective, and the goals and contents of low-carbon eco-city construction are not integrated into the current or upcoming special planning, resulting in a disconnect between planning formulation and implementation.

6. Actively participate in the negotiation of the UN Climate Change Convention

There is a process of understanding climate change and its impacts in the international community, as do the Chinese government and people. More recently, global climate change has become a weapon of environmental politics and environmental “cosmopolitanism”. By constructing a scientific link between global warming and the destruction of all human beings, and then constructing the scientific relationship between human activities and climate warming, the European Union places climate warming caused by carbon dioxide emissions above the intermediary link between human activities and human destruction (Qiang Shigong, 2009). This creates certain obstacles to the development of late-mover advantaged countries. China is such a rapidly developing country. Rapid economic development and urbanization will inevitably lead to an increase in energy consumption and total CO2 emissions. Because of this, China’s CO2 emissions and rapid development have suddenly fallen into a difficult situation of “can’t have both.”

The use of fossil fuels in developed countries accounts for about 58.0% of the world’s CO2 emissions, and the per capita emissions are 6.03 times that of developing countries. From the perspective of regional distribution, the CO2 emissions mainly come from EU countries and North America (Figure 1). By region, it is mainly concentrated in OECD countries. However, the focus of the current world climate negotiations is the issue of “fairness”, which mainly lies in: on the one hand, developed countries oppress developing countries to undertake emission reduction obligations; Take practical actions and provide financial assistance and green technology transfer to developing countries. The issue of “substantial emission reduction” is reflected in the use of “carbon sinks”. The United States, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand strongly insist on using carbon sinks and their calculation methods that are beneficial to them to reduce their emission reduction obligations. On the other hand, the EU and the “G77+China”, based on the scientific uncertainty of “carbon sinks”, advocated strict restrictions and emphasized that developed countries must take substantial emission reduction measures. The essence of the debate and disagreement is the contradiction between national development and competitiveness enhancement and emission reduction and climate protection. The carbon emission issue is not only an environmental issue, but also a global political and economic game issue!

China's countermeasures and measures to deal with climate change part 2
Figure 1 – Cumulative CO2 emissions by world subregion

On September 22, 2009, Chinese President Hu Jintao attended the opening ceremony of the United Nations Climate Change Summit and delivered a speech, emphasizing that China will further incorporate climate change into its economic and social development plans and continue to take strong measures. These measures include: ①Strengthening energy conservation and improving energy efficiency, and strive to achieve a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions per unit of China’s GDP by 2020 compared with 2005. ② Vigorously develop renewable energy and nuclear energy, and strive for non-fossil energy to account for about 15% of primary energy consumption by 2020. ③ Vigorously increase the forest carbon sink, and strive to increase the forest area by 40 million hm2 compared with 2005, and the forest stock volume by 1.3 billion m3 compared with 2005. ④ Vigorously develop green economy, actively develop low-carbon economy and circular economy, and develop and promote climate-friendly technologies. At the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009, China announced that it would strive to reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions by 40% to 45% on the basis of 2005 by 2020.

On June 5, 2011, “World Environment Day”, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council presided over a meeting of the National Leading Group on Climate Change and Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction in Zhongnanhai, Beijing, and delivered a speech. The meeting believed that the UN Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen will make a decision on the issue of climate change, which is related to the survival and development of human beings, and is an important opportunity for the international community to work together to meet the challenge. China will actively participate in the negotiation, play a constructive role, and make every effort to push the Copenhagen Conference to achieve positive results. In December 2011, the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 7th Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol were held in Durban, South Africa. As a member of the “Group of 77 + China”, the Chinese delegation fully, actively and deeply participated in the negotiations and consultations on various topics of the Durban Conference, worked extensively at different levels, communicated and coordinated with other developing countries in a positive, pragmatic and open manner, and conducted dialogues and consultations with developed countries, fully supported the work done by the host country to promote the success of the Durban Conference, made maximum efforts and played a constructive role in achieving positive results of the Conference.

7. Explore international cooperation on low-carbon economic models

In January 2009, The Climate Group released the research report “Low Carbon Leadership in China: Cities”. Through 12 case studies of urban development with different population sizes, it demonstrates China’s efforts in exploring a low-carbon economy model, and proposes a low-carbon economy city leadership system for the first time. Including policy incentives and institutional arrangements, technological innovation and application, investment and financing mechanisms and multi-party cooperation. In February 2009, the Asia Society Center for U.S.-China Relations and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change jointly issued the “ARoadmap for US-CHINA Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change”, put forward a continuous high-level bilateral engagement and specific proposals for grass-roots project implementation, mainly involving low-emission carbon media technology, energy saving and efficiency measures, advanced power grid development, promotion of renewable energy, low-carbon financing, etc.

However, in general, China’s research on global climate change has been carried out earlier, the research on low-carbon economy has been carried out, the research on low-carbon city has just started and the research on low-carbon technology is the main research, and the research on low-carbon-oriented urban planning is still in the process of gestation.