China to develop low-carbon cities

15:56, October 12, 2009      

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Low-carbon industry, low-carbon museums, green economy… From 2008, the launch of low-carbon city pilots, an energy-saving and emission-reducing project was initiated in China's major cities.

Only one year later many cities have put forward the concept of building low-carbon cities, creating the new layout of coordinated development between energy consumption and economic growth.

Competing to create "low carbon" cards

At the beginning of 2008, Shanghai and Baoding became the first cities joining a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiative to explore ways for low carbon development in China's urban areas.

According to WWF, a low-carbon city means, in the context of a city's rapid economic development, energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions kept at low levels.

Nowadays, "low-carbon cities" are favorable across China. Many cities, such as Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Guiyang, Jilin, Nanchang, Guangyuan, Ganzhou, Wuxi, have put forward the concept of low-carbon cities.

Low-carbon city fever marks that the new concept of urban development has been widely accepted, and it also shows it is the inevitable choice for future sustainable development in urban areas, said Li Yujun, professor of the Center for Environment and Development at the Chinese Academy of Social Science.

In Ganzhou city eastern China's Jiangxi province, Qiandong Rare Earth Groups and another 17 energy-hungry enterprises have signed letters of responsibility for energy-saving targets. In 2008, these enterprises saved 110,000 tons of standard coal. They not only reduced carbon dioxide emission but also greatly cut costs of doing business.

Under the joint efforts of governments and enterprises, China is speeding up the construction of low-carbon cities.

Zhuhai and Jilin have applied for setting up low-carbon economy pilots. Hangzhou has put forward to develop low-carbon industry and a low-carbon city and plans to build a low-carbon museum.

Win-win of low-carbon cities

Low-carbon cities have realized coordinate development of environment and economy, said Li Yujun.

With the goal of setting up low-carbon cities and through establishment and implementation of policies promoting low-carbon economy, governments are guiding enterprises to develop green industries, improve resource and energy efficiency to achieve win-win situation of environmental protection and economic growth, while reducing resource consumption and pollutant emissions, said Li.

According to statistics on economic development issued by Hebei province in 2008, the growth rate of industrial increase value and finance revenue in Baoding climbed to first place in Hebei province. And the growth rate of low-carbon industry amounted to 40 percent.

In 2008, Baoding's China Power Valley construction project sold 500 MW of solar products and 5089 MW of wind power products, the equivalent of 10.64 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

"Urban Blue Book: China's Urban Development Report (No.2)", published by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, also suggested that construction of low-carbon cities is an important carrier for energy emissions and developing low-carbon economy. It will lead the future of the new trend of urban construction.

It also pointed out that low-carbon development is the inevitable choice during the process of urbanization in China for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and effective use of low-carbon energy is the core of urban construction.

Low-carbon city, a long way to go

Low-carbon city, a new thing, has continued the momentum of rapid development. But a large number of "low-carbon economic zones" or "renewable energy economy zones" under construction has also contributed to excess capacity of photovoltaic, silicon and other industries. Low-carbon city is not easy, and it needs a long-term, continuous process of change, said Li Yujun.

Li Yujun proposed that building low-carbon cities should be based on their existing characteristics. The construction planning should be put forward on the bases of full argument and analysis and implemented step by step.

Low-carbon industry, low-carbon technology and low-carbon consumption are the three pillars needed to build low-carbon cities. In China, construction of low-carbon cities faces huge challenges in the three areas.

By People's Daily Online
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