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2022 CIFCC Round Table Meeting--Green Industry and Low-Carbon City Construction

On the afternoon of October 30, 2022, 2022 CIFCC round-table meeting, entitled Green Industry and Low-Carbon City Construction, was successfully held, and Edward Clarence-Smith, representative of UNIDO in China and Northeast Asia, hosted the meeting.

The meeting is focused on “policy and trend, city and project”, which included three topics like green industry system featured by low-carbon emission, emerging strategic industry development and low-carbon city construction, objective and strategy of green low-carbon city construction and development. The guests from EU, UN-HABITAT, WB, CASS, World Resource Institute, International Finance Corporation, attended the meeting.

Mr. Clarence pointed out: industry is virtually an embodiment of urban development. The construction of low carbon cities means urban development rather than resource utilization, and it is unavailable without low-carbon industry.

Zou Ji, vice president of School of Environment and Natural Resources, China Remin University, China country director of World Resource Institute, delegate of China for UN Climate Talks, member of Expert Group of Technology Transfer (EGTT) under UNFCCC, pointed out: most Chinese cities still considered industry as a main pillar for urban economy, and their industrial output value accounted for more than half of cities as a whole; As we all know, cities in developed countries have already accomplished industrialization, while Chinese cities is in the course of industrialization, and their electric power, steel, cement, building material, chemical, petrochemical, building and communication are still key emission sources. He also pointed out: in order to address climate change, develop low-carbon cities, Chinese cities shall focus on three tasks: 2. carbon accounting, infrastructure establishment; 2. energy emission promotion; 3. carbon trading mechanism.

Carter J.Brandon, sustainable development director of WB in China and Mongolia, indicated: policy is of utmost importance to low-carbon development. In comparison with developed countries, the degree of China's urbanization remains low; in order to develop low-carbon cities, we firstly shall consider the policy on space development, and others on industrial energy efficiency, communication, building and waste treatment and so on; besides, urban and land utilization ratio also play an important part in this regard.

Zhang Zhenshan, representative of UN-HABITAT, pointed out: in the process of urbanization, not only urban habitants grows, but also construction area expands. Over the past 3 decades, urban habitants have grown at the rate of 2%, which will remain stable in the next few years. As we all know, cities paid 75%-80% contributions to economic development, at the same time, they also consumes substantive energy, and the emission of greenhouse gas therein reached up to 80%. During the period, communication and construction keep up swift growth, energy consumption and GHG emission also remain high. Some challenges have emerged: severe environmental pollution, water resource safety problem, infrastructure development problem, extreme weather, rising disaster, ecosystem destruction, citizen health problem; as a result, we shall advocate the concept of low carbon, ensure cities may obtain sustainable development.

Peter Cook, senior investment officer of International Finance Corporation, pointed out: As for carbon matters, we firstly need a sound mechanism and infrastructure, then a sound carbon trading market. At present, EU has formed relatively mature carbon trading market, which has entered into second-phase operation, and accumulated some experience and lessons; However, due to sluggish European economy, the trading volume is shrinking; besides, the withdrawal of incentive measures caused large market fluctuation; now, Europe is making efforts to improve relevant mechanisms and policies. He also advised: we should establish carbon-based central bank, purchase and trade carbon with the help of market; as for new energy investment, individual companies should combine them with whole supply chain, and integrate all resource, mobilize all relevant persons, with a view to reaching optimum effect, at the same time, policy maker shall offer support in this respect. For example, in order to reduce CO2 emission, promote green development, electric car battery manufacturers shall establish cooperation or partnership with car manufacturers, car traders and car recharging companies, and such cooperation shall pass through the whole supply chain.

Jean Pasternak, carbon strategy & alliance director for Schneider Electric, pointed out: we should establish assessment measures for all carbon emission policies, at the same time, in order to understand institutional effect, actions of private sectors are very important. As we all know, supply chain has amplification effect, which may generate synergic effect on upstream and downstream industries, and a significant assessment on investment.

Yao Jun, vice president of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Beijing University of Science and Technology, insisted that: China now lies in the phase of fast development, and such building materials as steels and cement were in high demand, but energy consumption of steel products is maximum. As a result, China needs to establish technology cooperation to solve the problems of carbon dioxide emission.

Question: What are the principal barriers Chinese cities are facing during their transformation towards low-carbon cities? How to clear off such barriers? 

Zou Ji: First, the barriers lied in our consciousness and understanding. If there is no definite concept, we may go in a wrong direction. The concept of low-carbon city is a brand new thing for whether governments, enterprises or academia. Therefore, we shall make it clear to the concept or notion; second, such barriers also existed in planning problem, which is involved in feasibility, seriousness, and legal function. Our action will be uncoordinated or in a mess without sound planning, which is also a challenge; third, we are also facing other challenges from technology, project examination and approval, capital, land and so on. There is one thing to be mentioned, when our cities even national economy make transition towards low-carbon development, we shall make it clear to our concept, notion and strategy, then implement them accordingly.

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