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Supporting Chinese Cities to an early Peaking of Carbon Emissions — 22 Non-Profit Organizations Release the Ten Key Principles of Low Carbon Urbanization

The Chinese government has recognized the importance of comprehensively improving the quality of urbanization, committing to a path for green and low-carbon new urbanization. In recent years, many cities have been actively responding to the central government’s call by exploring and implementing low-carbon development plans and have thus provided important experiences for low carbon urbanization. This report outlines ten crucial principles for low-carbon urban development in the three dimensions of urban form, resource efficiency and urban governance.

It concludes: that raising land use efficiency is the key to achieving low carbon urban form; that it is essential to integrate non-motorized transport (walking and biking) to the public transport network; that measures such as mixed land use, raising the operational efficiency and service level of public transport, and strengthening parking demand management can reduce motor vehicle use, thereby reducing urban carbon emissions; that when developing low-carbon industry and commerce, cities should not only pay attention to the upgrading of technological equipment, but also emphasize the process management of energy and resource utilization efficiency; and that cities should focus on public participation, low carbon community development and multi-stakeholder governance. These principles were concluded from domestic and international experiences to serve as policy guidance for Chinese urban managers and program implementers.

Key Principles was drafted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in alliance with other members of the China Urban Sustainability Coalition, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Energy Foundation China (EFC), Institute of Sustainable Communities (ISC), World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The organizations that jointly recommend these key principles include the U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP), the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), the United Nations Development Programme China (UNDP China), the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO), the China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD) and the Eco Forum Global (EFG).

These organizations actively working towards sustainable development believe that cities are the main battlefields for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and realizing China’s emission reduction ambition. At the Sino-US Climate Leaders Summit in September this year, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Sichuan province etc., jointly launched the “City Alliance for Early Peaking” initiative, supporting China’s commitment to peak its carbon emissions by around 2030. Some Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Guangzhou, even committed to peaking their emissions 10 years earlier, a heartening effort. The ten key principles and secondary level measures that we proposed involve the main carbon emission areas of land use, transport, building and industry, providing a valuable reference for local governments in formulating specific work plans towards a green and low-carbon development model.


Appendices: the 22 Non-Profit Organizations(in alphabetical order)

Architecture 2030
China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO)
China Business Council for Sustainable Development (CBCSD)
US-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP)
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
Energy Foundation (EFC)
Eco Forum Global (EFG)
Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation (iCET)
International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
International City/County Management Association (ICMA) China Center
Innovative Green Development Program (iGDP)
Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC)
Institute for Transportation & Development Policy (ITDP)
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Oak Foundation
Paulson Institute (PI)
The Eco Sequestration Trust (TEST)
United Nations Development Programme China (UNDP China)
Urban Land Institute (ULI)
World Resources Institute (WRI)
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)



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