The Environmental Sustainable Urbanization project of the World Resources Institute (WRI) became a spotlight of the China Pavilion of UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw. Since 2011, the Caterpillar Foundation has been supporting WRI to advance its research in environmental, sustainable and livable cities in China, India and Brazil. Through this ESU program, WRI have been partnering with Chengdu and Qingdao on effective and practical strategies to increase energy efficiency, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality, urban mobility and land use.
Some interim results of the project were introduced and discussed at the Warsaw conference at a side event co-hosted by WRI and the Department of Climate Change at China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Themed “Low Carbon City Drives New Urban Living,” the side event focused on four aspects: urban planning, construction, low-carbon urban lifestyles and sustainable urban ecological environments. Su Wei, director general of the Department of Climate Change at NDRC offered a remark to kick off the session.
In China, the urban structure has been undergoing historic changes over the years. At the end of 2012, China’s urbanization rate went beyond 52 percent, indicating that more than half the country’s population now lives in cities. This rapid shift to cities brings serious challenges, but also new opportunities for China. Since urban populations typically consume more resources and produce more greenhouse gas emissions, cities carry both risks and opportunities when it comes to climate change.
“With the rapid expansion of new urban centers, China can set a new model for sustainable urban development. It is vital to look across sectors to understand how energy efficiency, water quality, transportation and land use can all work together to drive successful low-carbon urban development,” said Dr. Andrew Steer, WRI president and CEO. “WRI is working with its partners, such as the Caterpillar Foundation and government officials, particularly in Qingdao and Chengdu, to identify new and innovative approaches to sustainable urbanization.”