Second U.S.-China Climate-Smart / Low-Carbon Cities Summit
The annual U.S.-China Climate-Smart / Low-Carbon Cities Summit convened for the second time in Beijing on June 7-8, 2016. The summit advanced U.S.-China bilateral cooperation on climate change, highlighting and strengthening the critical role of cities, states, civil society, and the private sector in building a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. The summit – the first bilateral convening of sub-national leaders since last December’s historic Paris Agreement – focused on the innovative local solutions needed to ensure the effective implementation of the Agreement over the coming years, and highlighted how cities are leading the way in developing and implementing climate solutions.
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry delivered a keynote address at the summit, as did China’s State Councilor Yang Jiechi. Both leaders highlighted the importance of climate change cooperation as a key pillar of the U.S.-China bilateral relationship and recognized the vital role of the United States and China in achieving the successful adoption of the Paris Agreement at COP-21 in Paris.
Highlights of the summit included:
- The summit was attended by over 1,000 people, including leaders from 49 Chinese cities and provinces and 17 U.S. cities, states, and counties.
- Leaders from 66 municipalities from both countries endorsed the U.S.-China Climate Leaders Declaration, increasing the total number of endorsers to 77. Those who endorsed the Declaration, which was launched at last year’s inaugural summit in Los Angeles, declared their intention to take four actions: establish ambitious climate targets, regularly report on greenhouse gas emissions, establish climate action plans, and expand bilateral cooperation.
- Endorsers of the Declaration committed to various climate targets and actions as detailed in an appendix. Complementing an array of near-term targets and actions, many U.S. cities, states, and counties have established long-term GHG reduction goals, including goals to be carbon neutral by mid-century (Fort Collins, CO; Santa Fe, NM; Seattle, WA) and to reduce GHG emissions at least 80% by 2050 (California; Connecticut; Atlanta, GA; Berkeley, CA; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; King County, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Miami Dade County, FL; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; Sonoma County, CA; and Washington, DC).
- Eleven of the Chinese cities endorsing the Declaration joined China’s “Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities” (APPC) – cities committing to peak their carbon dioxide emissions earlier than China’s national goal to peak around 2030. This doubles the number of cities in the APPC, bringing the total number of cities making this early peaking pledge to 22. New APPC cities include the megacities of Chengdu and Jinan, both with populations well above 10 million, as well as the cities of Lanzhou, Suzhou, Nanchang, Urumqi, and others.
- The event included 17 breakout sessions at which participants discussed priority low-carbon and climate-resilient development topics. The sessions, which were organized by leading local government, civil society and research institutes from both countries, fostered discussion among practitioners about how to build high-level political momentum for strong climate action, enhance capacity at the local level, and mobilize private sector engagement.
- For the first time, this year's Summit included a structured networking session for local officials and private sector experts to meet one-on-one for in-depth discussions. Over 120 fifteen-minute matchmaking meetings took place between 20 Chinese cities and 21 companies. Taking place towards the end of the summit, this opportunity allowed participants to build on relationships formed during breakout discussions.
Highlighting the importance of bilateral and public-private partnerships in achieving climate goals, the summit featured the signings of 27 MOUs and arrangements between sub-national governments, NGOs, research institutions, and private sector companies. Signings included:
- A partnership between the Compact of Mayors, the world’s largest coalition of city leaders addressing climate change, and China’s Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities (APPC) to jointly take enhanced actions to mitigate carbon emissions, increase climate resilience, and strengthen cooperation.
- An arrangement between the cities of Los Angeles and Lanzhou to carry out exchanges and enhance cooperation in areas including clean energy, low-carbon transport, and climate-smart buildings.
- A partnership between the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform and the California Governor’s Office to share best practices in areas including clean energy, carbon emissions trading, low-carbon transportation, and smart grid technologies.
- An arrangement between the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to renew and strengthen cooperation in the areas of air quality management, water management and services, solid waste management and recycling, and capacity building and public education.
- An arrangement by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group and WRI China to support the cities of Wuhan and Shenzhen in developing citywide greenhouse gas emission inventories following the UN-recognized and globally-applied GPC standard, as well as identifying potential peak emissions pathways.
- An arrangement by the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) and the Development and Reform Commission of Hunan Province to collaborate on the development of a low-carbon action plan for the city cluster of Changsha, Zhuzhou, and Xiangtan, as well as an arrangement between ISC, the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, and the Development and Reform Commission of Qingdao to provide capacity building assistance to the city in support of its climate mitigation and adaptation goals.
- Two memorandums of understanding between the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Chinese research institutes. The first, with the Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, is in the fields of low carbon cities and smart grids, and the second, with the Energy Research Institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, is in the fields of energy efficiency and low-carbon development.
- An over $300 million investment by General Electric and Huadian Power International Co. in two distributed power projects in Shunde and Sanhui cities.
- An agreement by PowerFlame and the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to undertake a feasibility study and pilot project, supported by the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, to evaluate and demonstrate U.S. burner technologies to reduce nitrogen oxides at several different gas-fired boiler pilot sites in Beijing.
- An agreement by OSIsoft to conduct a pilot project and provide technical assistance on smart grid substation communication architecture to the China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI), a subsidiary research institute of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), under a grant from the U.S. Trade & Development Agency.
- An arrangement by Caterpillar and the Shanghai Lingang Economic Development Co. to collaborate on research related to the development of the remanufacturing industry and its contribution to the circular economy.
- An arrangement by the U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program to undertake new low-carbon development projects in Haidong and Zhenjiang, as well as establish a new partnership focused on low-carbon, sustainable infrastructure with the National New Zone for Green Development Alliance and the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME).
- An arrangement between Eaton Corporation and Guangzhou Power Supply Co. Ltd. to undertake a new micro grid project in the city of Nansha.
- A memorandum of understanding by the Energy Foundation to assist the city of Guangzhou in achieving its 2020 peaking goal through cooperation in areas such as medium- and long-term roadmapping, sustainable and intelligent transportation, renewable energy supply, and smart grid.
- An announcement by the World Resources Institute to work with the city of Chengdu in areas such as greenhouse gas emissions accounting, development of an emissions peaking roadmap, and identification of emission reduction projects.
- A partnership between the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Lanzhou Environment Energy Exchange to work on sustainable urban development issues including city peaking plan implementation, energy-efficient industry, and low-carbon construction.
- An announcement by the Natural Resources Defense Council to provide expert, technical, and financial assistance to the city of Wuhan in support of its low-carbon development goals.
- New partnerships between the City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, and Greater Waukegan Development Coalition with the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) to expand green business and trade opportunities in the U.S. and China.
- A partnership between the Utah Sustainability Commission and the China Minsheng New Energy Corporation to promote business opportunities in areas including micro grid and solar technology development.
The annual U.S.-China Climate-Smart / Low-Carbon Cities Summit is an initiative of the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group, the premier framework for U.S.-China bilateral cooperation on climate change. The Cities initiative was launched by President Obama and President Xi in their November 2014 U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change. The goal of the initiative is to respond to growing urbanization and increasingly significant greenhouse gas emissions from cities, and to build climate resilience of cities, states, and provinces in the United States and China. Strong climate action by cities, states, and provinces is critical for accelerating the long-term transition to a low-carbon and livable society, and for supporting the implementation of national actions and targets. The first U.S.-China Climate-Smart / Low-Carbon Cities Summit was held in Los Angeles in September 2015.
The U.S. Secretariat for the CCWG’s Climate-Smart / Low-Carbon Cities Initiative is the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who attended the summit in Beijing, announced that the City of Boston plans to host the next U.S.-China Climate-Smart / Low-Carbon Cities Summit in the summer of 2017. Boston is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (baseline is 2005), and is ranked as the #1 most energy efficient city in the United States.