Four Chinese cities pledge to slash emissions from buildings

Senior officials from Beijing, Fuzhou, Qingdao and Shanghai have announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in their cities.

The initiative, led by C40 Cities, will develop a range of innovative policies for these four cities to rapidly reduce emissions from existing buildings, ensure new buildings meet ultra-low energy consumption levels, and promote the use of building as a source of low-carbon energy by 2020.

China continues to experience rapid urbanization, building an average of two billion square metres of new buildings every year. The building sector already accounts for some 20 per cent of China’s total primary energy consumption and 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Without further action, these figures will skyrocket in the next 20 years when Chinese cities are expected to add a further 280 million citizens.

“Buildings define our cities, where we as urban citizens spend 90 per cent of our time, both at work and leisure. Yet through the energy we consume in them, buildings are also major contributors to the emissions responsible for climate change. In the rapidly growing cities of China, there is a huge opportunity to avoid the lock-in of future high energy use and emissions through rapidly adopting low-carbon design and retrofitting of buildings,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities.

Chinese cities already account for over 85 per cent of China’s overall carbon emissions and are at the frontline of efforts to deliver on the Chinese government’s commitment to peak carbon emissions by 2030.

This new initiative, which was launched last week at the Beijing Design Week Sustainable Cities Conference, also aims to share knowledge with cities across China and internationally and “inspire mayors around the world to step up their ambition and help deliver on the Paris Climate Agreement,” Watts added.

Image credit: Lei Han via Flickr

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