On 17 September 2015 during the US-China Climate Leaders Summit held in Los Angeles, ICLEI USA and ICLEI East Asia Secretariat hosted a California-China Urban Climate Collaborative (CCUCC) side event where the program was officially launched.
The CCUCC is a partnership between ICLEI, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, the Bay Area Council, and the Asia Society to create a new long-term exchange between cities in California and China seeking to reduce carbon and air pollution and advance the clean energy economy.
The program was conceived in close coordination with the State of California led by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Energy Commission, and the office of Governor Jerry Brown as a strategy to implement a series of MOUs between California, provincial leaders, and China’s National Development and Reform Commission.
The CCUCC aims to advance the goals of the US–China climate accord, struck November 2014 by President Obama and President Xi. Through the accord, the U.S. will reduce GHG emissions by 26-28%, while China pledged to peak total emissions by 2030 and generate 20% of the country’s total energy consumption from clean energy sources.
The side event was attended by high-level representatives from California State and local governments, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, City of Shenzhen (one of CCUCC's target cities), industries, and non-profit organizations such as the World Resource Institute, Environmental Defense Fund, and the WWF.
As part of ICLEI’s side event, the group toured Los Angeles’ Cleantech Business Incubator (LACI), which is designed to accelerate cleantech innovation by offering flexible office space, coaching and mentoring, and access to a growing network of experts and capital. The tour was closely in line with the new initiative’s goal to connect cleantech industries with cities.
Michael Schmitz, Executive Director of ICLEI USA
Schmitz highlighted the irreplaceable role cities play in effective low-carbon and sustainable developments, and welcomed cities to join force and together be more powerful and efficient. “Cities, as the hubs of human activities, are the main sources of our collective carbon emissions, but more importantly the concentration of people and resources in cities provides fantastic opportunities for low-carbon development breakthroughs and technological innovations,” he said.
Zhaoli Jiang, Deputy Director General of Department of Climate Change, NDRC
Jiang delivered keynote remarks at the event. He emphasized the importance of acting now and acting together in combating climate change. “We can no longer afford to ignore the changing climate. Let’s use the first US-China Climate Leaders Summit as a starting line, leverage the network and technical know-how of global organizations like ICLEI, and engage in long-term and action-oriented collaboration,” he said.
He congratulated CCUCC program team for the successful and timely launch of the initiative, and encouraged side event participants to continue to work together toward tangible outcomes and attend the 2016 U.S. China Climate Leaders Summit to be held in Beijing.
Jie Tang, Former Deputy Mayor of Shenzhen City
Tang expressed his city’s interest in the new initiative, and welcomed opportunities to engage in long-term and implementation-focused urban climate collaboration with Californian cities and clean energy industries through CCUCC. As the city strives to peak its emissions by 2022, eight years ahead of the national target, he acknowledged, but welcomed the challenges as opportunities to collaborate and to innovate.
Brian Peck, Deputy Director of International Affairs and Business Development, Governor Brown’s office of Business and Economic Development
Peck highlighted California’s achievements in energy conservation and emissions reduction through its comprehensive energy efficiency program, Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, Clean Energy Development, and Cap-and-Trade program. He emphasized the importance of bi- and multilateral collaboration in general, and amongst cities from both sides of the pacific in particular.
ICLEI and program partners will engage in one-on-one low-carbon development dialogue with the initial cohort of California cities – Oakland, Los Angeles County, Long Beach, Sonoma County, Riverside, Palo Alto, Fresno, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco.
We will match and facilitate urban climate collaboration between participating city from China and the partner Californian cities to share low-carbon development priorities, such as low-carbon transportation, municipal waste management, and clean energy technologies.
The team will also convene subject matter experts around these key topic areas to help set cities on a path towards long-term and action-oriented urban climate collaboration.