China resolves to promote low carbon urban development
China has been striving to take a new road of urbanization featured by intensive land use, smart city, and green and low carbon development, China's top climate negotiator said in Lima, Peru, on Wednesday.
"As our country enters into the middle and later stage of industrialization, urbanization will become the main areas of future growth of carbon emissions and energy resources," said Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), who heads the Chinese delegation at the China Pavilion during the UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, capital of Peru.
At a side event of UN climate talks, Xie emphasized the importance of Chinese cities to meet the country's national goal of peaking emissions around 2030.
The Chinese official said it is "quite realistic" for China to set a goal around 2030. China has 36 low carbon pilot cities and 55 pilot industrial parks, which aim to explore how sustainable design can be better for people and the economy.
Acknowledging that previous economic growth had come at the expense of environmental destruction, Xie said China was aiming for more efficient and high quality development.
"We have more to come," Xie promised, referring to the national plan each country is expected to produce in the first half of next year, adding that "acting on climate change is not something imposed by others; it is something we want to do ourselves."
But he called for international cooperation "to achieve the win- win result for low carbon development" and also encouraged Chinese enterprises to join this process to push forward green and low carbon development in urban areas.
Xie was joined by Al Gore, former US vice president and now chairman of the Climate Reality Project, who spoke highly of China 's efforts.
"The historic handshake between China and the US has had an electrifying impact on the world's efforts to find a deal on climate change," said Gore.
In describing his hopes, Gore quoted three poets from China, Spain and the US respectively. He cited words of Chinese poet Lu Xun that "hope is a path on the mountainside. At first there is no path. But then there are people passing that way. And there is a path."
Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, urged the US and China to help bridge the gulf between rich and poor countries in the talks.
Andrew Steer, president of World Resources Institute, said there are 275,000 people a day moving to cities worldwide. Developing these cities' sustainability has big gains for quality of life and economic growth as well as keeping emissions down, he said.
The activities in China Pavilion, which kicked off on Dec 5, will present 17 events including forums and press conferences featuring China's efforts and achievements in addressing the climate change.