Beijing, China: To deepen the cooperation between Chinese and American cities in addressing climate change, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), led by China National Development and Reform Commission, co-organized a sub-session on air quality improvement and low-carbon development during the 2nd US-China Climate Leaders Summit held in Beijing, China on 8 June 2016 with partners including Energy Foundation China (EFC), Clean Air Alliance of China (CAAC) and NDRC Energy Research Institute (ERI).
Zhaoli Jiang, Deputy Director of NDRC Department of Climate Change, Deputy Director of Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau Xiaohua Li, Vice Mayor of Guangzhou Chaolin Cai, Vice Mayor of Suining City Bing Zhu, Vice Mayor of Yan’an City Hongyu Ma, Senior Consultant of California State Ken Alex, Chief Sustainability Officer of Los Angeles City Matt Peterson, and Mayor of Evanston Elizabeth Tisdahl participated in the sub-forum and presented their experience and best practices in tackling air pollution and implementing low-carbon development. They also shared their future goals and strategies to achieve those targets.
In addition to keynote speech and city presentations, experts, researches and business leaders from Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning, Tsinghua University, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and Power Flame Incorporated also presented their research results, policy solutions, technologies, methodologies and relevant programs in helping cities to enhance urban air quality. They all agreed that improving air quality is closely connected to low-carbon development, through policies on green transport, industrial restructuring and transformation of energy system, cities cannot only reduce emissions but also bring synergy effects to advance urban sustainability.
Organized by the NDRC and the City Government of Beijing, the 2016 US-China Climate Leaders Summit was second of its kind since the first summit was held last September in Los Angeles. In the 2015 summit, ICLEI East Asia Secretariat and ICLEI USA Office launched the California-China Urban Climate Collaborative (CCUCC). Supported by Jerry Brown, Governor of California State in San Francisco, the Energy Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency of California, CCUCC is a dynamic long-term exchange program between cities from China and California to find practical solutions to reduce carbon emission and air pollution, and advancing the clean energy economy.
Besides the CCUCC, ICLEI is also working on a new initiative ‘East Asia Clean Air Cities (EACAC)’ to respond particularly on air quality improvement in the East Asia region. The socioeconomic cost of air pollution is enormous, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization, indoor and outdoor air pollution are leading to 4.3 million and 3.7 million deaths respectively. In view of the transboundary nature of air pollution, and the close connection between air quality and cities’ resilience, liveability and inclusiveness, there is an urgent need for cities in the region to work hand in hand to tackle this shared challenge through exchange of knowledge and technology, as well as city-to-city collaboration. Nine cities and provinces including Beijing, Guiyang, Jinan, Shenzhen, Sichuan province (China), Kitakyushu, Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (Korea), Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) have committed to EACAC. ICLEI is now working with these participating cities and partners to identify the priorities and urgent needs of cities, as well as the tested policy and technological solutions in the field.