Tenth CSEP Senior Policy Advisory Council (PAC) Meeting and International Mayors' Forum on Sustainable Urban Development

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published Jan 30, 2008 12:00 AM, last modified Feb 25, 2014 02:04 PM

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On November 15-16, both PAC and DP members attended this year's conference, which was held in Tianjin.  The events included an International Mayors Forum on Sustainable Urban Development and our annual PAC meeting.

a.  International Mayors' Forum on Sustainable Urban Development

November 15-16, 2007

 

For the tenth year running, we held our Forum event in China from November 15-16.  This year's meeting was held in Tianjin's Economic and Development Area (TEDA), in collaboration with the Tianjin Municipal Government and the Ministry of Construction.  The Forum was a platform for CSEP to launch our new China Sustainable Cities Initiative, to build support within MOC for sustainable urban development, to gain a better understanding of the field both internationally and in China, and to gather ideas for the development of the program.  We convened three breakout sessions on Thursday afternoon to generate focused discussion on citiesimplementation experiences in the areas of urban planning, buildings, and transportation.

 

On the morning of Friday, November 16th, representatives from Chongqing, Curitiba, London, Mexico City, Shanghai, Taiyuan, and Vancouver presented their experiences in sustainable urban development at the roundtable meeting of international mayors.

 

International mayors and experts presented a wide spectrum of experiences and lessons learned, which were much appreciated by Chinese participants. Chinese mayors and experts also shared their experience in implementing these best practices in China. The exchange both in formal sessions, during breaks, and in side meetings, helped to foster a collaborative exploration of best models that can be used in guiding China's urbanization and a network of best practice experts that CSEP could draw on to assist interested cities for local pilots. For example, during an evening informal session, it became clear that one of the best way to initiate a city pilot is to team up with one of the leading urban planning university as they are regularly engaged by municipal governments to develop plans for various cities across China. 

 

As a result of discussion in the buildings breakout session, participants emphasized that green buildings are an inevitable choice for Chinese development.  Creating more efficient buildings is the only solution to China's problem of scarce resources. Policy recommendations for the buildings sector include the following:

 

1. Government agencies should develop incentive policies to allow the market to promote green buildings.                                                 

2. Incentive mechanisms should be created to strengthen research and development of green building technologies.

3. A comprehensive list of new technologies should be created to assist the development of green buildings that accommodate China's situation.

 

In addition to the issues of technology, convenience, and financing, attendees in the transportation session spoke of the challenge of changing consumer behavior in favor of public and non-motorized modes (NMM) of transit.  Given that private cars are a status symbol in China, public perception needs to change so that public and NMM transit are not seen as low- class modes.  Attendees also spoke of the need for political will to put public transit where the real demand exists. Policy recommendations for the transportation sector include the following:

 

1. Restrict the use of private cars.  Mechanisms include implementing congestion charges and improving the service of public transit. 

 

2. Standardize BRT planning procedures to ensure that the system retains the characteristics of being fast, clean, and attractive to consumers.

 

For urban planning, participants recommended that planning needs to be guided by Transit- Oriented-Development (TOD) principle, with (a) integrated decision-making between urban planning and transportation agencies, (b) improved lines of responsibility, (c) higher density, (d) mixed-use development, (e) protection of cultural and historical resources, (f) increased consciousness of NMM as a sign of the future, not a backward mode of transportation, and (g) pursuit of creative public-private partnerships.

 

CSEP has since engaged several Chinese grantees to help MOC draft whitepapers on urban planning and green buildings that incorporate the best practice policies around the world to serve as guidelines for urban development across China.

 

b. Senior Policy Advisory Council (PAC) Meeting -  November 16, 2007

 

This year's PAC Meeting, chaired by Cole Wilbur (PAC Chairman and Packard trustee), continues to focus on improving implementation of China's goal to reduce energy intensity by 20 percent in the 11th Five-year Plan period (2005-2010).  Since establishing the national goal, China has thus far failed to meet the annual sub-targets; this has been attributed to rapid growth of heavy industry, insufficient incentives for energy efficiency, and lack of management and technical capacity at local level to implement the energy efficiency target.

 

However, notable progress has been made on several fronts. At the national level, NDRC and MOF have substantially increased funding to support the 20% targets and various energy efficiency programs, with a total funding of RMB 45 billion (US $6 billion) for energy conservation and pollution reduction. A portion of the funding is specifically reserved for capacity-building.  Many provincial governments have set up matching funds as well.

 

Vice Governor Wang Junmin of Shandong Province (the largest energy consumer among provinces in China) shared with the PAC members new measures that Shandong is undertaking to implement its provincial energy efficiency target. These include: strengthening management capacity for energy conservation at various level of governments and performance evaluation, limiting new investment in energy intensive and highly polluting industries, structure adjustment to encourage the development of innovation and environmentally-friendly industries, shutting down the least efficient production facilities (including 1,000 MW of small coal power plants), focused attention on the largest 100 industrial facilities, promoting energy efficient technologies and recycling. As a result, while Shandong's energy intensity declined by 3.46% in 2006, in the first half of 2007, it declined by 4.7% -- on track to meet the provincial energy efficiency target. He also expressed strong interest to continue to work with CSEP in the years to come.

 

Dai Yande of NDRC's Energy Research Institute (ERI) presented on the progress of the Top-1000 Program. By the end of August 2007, 967 enterprises have submitted energy audit reports, and 836 have completed energy conservation action plans. The national government has allocated RMB 7 billion and provincial governments have added another RMB 3 billion as financial incentives for the top-1000 enterprises. As of the first quarter of 2007, the top-1000 enterprises are on track to meet or exceed the annual energy saving target of 100 million tons of coal equivalent (240 million tons of CO2) by 2010. ERI is also helping these enterprises to conduct benchmarking exercise and improving data collection at plants.

 

However, meeting the 20% national energy efficiency target still faces many challenges. Dr. Feng Fei of DRC spoke about the challenges posed by China's soaring economy: GDP growth rate has been much higher than expected. The faster the growth, the more energy needs to be saved. Without new integrated policies, it would be difficult to meet the national 20% target. Raising energy prices, limiting new investment in energy intensive sector, eliminating outdated capacity, and increasing investment in energy conservation retrofits are principal approaches to achieve efficiency gains. 

 

Speakers also briefed PAC members on recent legislative activities on the drafting of China's Energy Law (Expert Team for Drafting the Energy Law); enforcement of the amended Energy Conservation Law (Economic Affairs Office, Finance and Economics Committee, National PeoplesCongress); and amendment of the Electricity Law (China Electricity Council).  

 

Dr. Fuqiang Yang presented on the progress and growth of CSEP programs in the past year and near future. Cole Wilbur introduced new PAC member, Wang Junmin, Vice Governor of Shandong Province, and Eric Heitz introduced CSEP's new director, Dr. Jiang Lin.

 

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A theme expressed by attendees was that achieving China's 20 percent target requires carefully crafted administrative and economic measures to mobilize the government resources at national, provincial, and local levels, to optimize the use of market mechanisms, to increase the investment in energy efficient technologies, to build local implementation capacity, and to strengthen data collection and monitoring effort.

 

Pilot projects are critical for demonstrating specific policy options and their outcomes, and participants voiced support for increasing local implementation support in provinces. In addition to support grantees in Shandong and Jiangsu Provinces, CSEP will further expand our support to Shanxi and Hebei provinces this year.

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