New report on 50 “climate solutions” in cities throughout China

Adam Fishman from the SDG Knowledge Hub at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) explains about an interesting new report from the Asian Development Bank on climate solutions in Chinese cities.


ADB Highlights 50 Climate Solutions in China’s Cities

A report launched by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) outlines 50 “climate solutions” in a range of cities throughout China. The solutions – each described in the report by a short case study – span areas of energy, land use and resilience, waste, climate action and mobility.

Titled, ‘50 Climate Solutions from Cities in the People’s Republic of China: Best Practices from Cities Taking Action on Climate Change,’ the report demonstrates where and how cities can make progress. The examples and lessons are intended to be shared, so that other cities can learn from China’s experiences.

Amy Leung, ADB, notes in the report’s foreword that the unprecedented “wave of urban growth” is being seen most visibly in Asia, whose cities are expected to contribute to two-thirds of urban population growth by 2020. However, Ayumi Konoshi, ADB, flags that air and water pollution negatively impact urban dwellers’ lives, and estimates that “the cost of pollution damage in China is estimated to be close to 10% of gross domestic product” (GDP).

The case studies and solutions, some of which are projects sponsored by the ADB, show how cities can simultaneously have a positive impact on citizens’ health and quality of life, the environment and economic prosperity. Each case study notes the main challenge to be addressed, co-benefits realized across the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainable development, and the city in question’s characteristics, such as population, GDP per capita and geographic area covered.

For example, the city of Wuzhong (population 1,380,000) has taken steps to decarbonize its energy supply, and reduced its annual carbon emissions by 148,000 tons through the installation of 16 village-level solar energy systems. These decentralized systems have allowed residents to concurrently generate their own electricity and income, whilst moving the city away from its historic reliance on fossil fuels.

On waste, the city of Wuhai (population 558,000) has saved over 27,000 liters of fuel through optimizing sanitation vehicles’ routes via a centralized, cloud-based intelligence system. Waste itself is being used as construction material in the city of Weihai (population 2,819,000), where a local company is turning industrial solid waste into a cement replacement. In 2016, the company’s factory took in about 80,000 tons of solid waste, replacing cement and sandstone to produce building boards that total 3.76 million square meters. At present, steel and cement production contribute nearly 20% of China’s carbon emissions.

The report compiled the case studies through a multi-step process with the ADB, Sustainia, and local experts from China. Cases were assessed and selected based on their expected carbon reductions, co-benefits, the extent to which methods or solutions were considered innovative, and governance, or how well the project has collaborated with other entities and actors.

The report is available here.

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