Chinese cities gather in Wuhan to explore ways to lower GHG emissions and set peaking targets
C40, World Resources Institute (WRI) and China Quality Certification Centre (CQC) recently hosted a workshop in Wuhan, where 11 Chinese cities gathered to strategize and share best practices for developing greenhouse gas emission inventories and the roadmap to peak emissions.
The workshop attracted over 50 senior officials and technical experts from nine C40 member cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Nanjing, Dalian, Chengdu and Qingdao – as well as Hangzhou and Zhenjiang, which are in the process of applying to become C40 members. Experts from the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC) and the Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities of China (APPC) also attended the workshop.
China ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, pledging to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions and lower the carbon intensity of its GDP by 60-65% below 2005 levels by 2030. This pledge will be realised in tandem with China’s 13th Five-Year Plan for 2016-2020, which acknowledges the critical role that cities play in climate action. The Plan encourages all Chinese cities to set emission peak targets, and encourages cities already participating in the ongoing national Low-Carbon Pilot City Initiative and those in more developed areas to set their peaks early. All C40 cities in China have joined the Initiative, with many now striving to peak their emissions as early as 2020. To facilitate these actions, C40 offers a Climate Action Planning Technical Assistance Programme to Chinese cities.
Workshop participants agreed that developing GHG emissions inventories and future scenarios are vital for effective climate action planning; many cities at the table have already compiled inventories from the last decade in order to inform emission peak targets and roadmaps. Wuhan and Shenzhen, for example, are in the process of adapting their current inventories to meet the requirements of the Global Protocol for Community-Scale GHG Emission Inventories (GPC), an international best practice framework developed by C40, WRI and ICLEI, to enable more meaningful comparisons with other cities in the world. Integrating data collection into business-as-usual practices saves time and simultaneously improves data quality over time. Establishing and maintaining an inventory management team and procedure was hailed by many as a good practice – achieving this requires ongoing support from senior management.
The workshop also identified and discussed common challenges faced by cities. Data quality, for example, directly impacts the functionality of emission inventories. Experts from Shanghai, WRI and APPC recommended that cities prioritise the measurement and abatement of major emission sources. Emissions from the transportation sector were considered more difficult to measure, especially those associated with private cars, freight, cargo and aviation due to their transboundary nature. Economic growth also presents a challenge to planning emissions peaking targets. Follow-up discussions are expected to specifically address these issues.
This workshop’s success in Wuhan represents a unique opportunity to continue engaging Chinese cities who play an increasingly important role in tackling climate change. The C40 Technical Assistance Programme will continue to support Chinese cities on this course.
“Many hands make light work. The experiences from every city exploring low carbon development future paths are extremely valuable, so it is great that C40 is offering a platform for us to meet and share our lessons learned with each other. It is my hope that from today onwards we continue to communicate and collaborate as much as possible, to fulfil our own share of responsibilities to the national and global agenda of tackling climate change.”
– Madam Tian Yan, Division Chief of the Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection Division, Wuhan Development and Reform Commission