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Chinese and U.S. Cities Collaborate to Advance Climate-Smart Low-Carbon City Development

BEIJING, June 7, 2016 – Today, local climate leaders from the Chinese province of Hunan and the city of Qingdao and their U.S. peers agreed to advance low-carbon city development under a memorandum of understanding signed at the U.S-China Climate Leaders Summit in Beijing

Under this collaboration, made possible by a new Climate-Smart, Low-Carbon Cities (CSLCC) project implemented by the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) in China, Hunan and Qingdao became CSLCC’s first two local Chinese government partners.

In response to increasing greenhouse gas emissions from cities and recognizing the potential for local leaders to initiate climate action, the United States and China established this new bilateral Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities initiative under the U.S.–China Joint Agreement on Climate Change. The project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and builds on USAID’s work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing Asia.

CSLCC is implemented by ISC under the oversight of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and coordinates with the China National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC). CSLCC focuses on connecting and supporting local city leaders from China and the United States who are committed to advancing climate-smart low-carbon development and achieving lasting greenhouse gas reductions in both countries.

ISC and NCSC will select four Chinese provinces or cities, although all implementation will be focused at the city scale. Cities were considered for their interest in low-carbon development, development targets, capacity, ability to replicate their work and assistance needed from CSLCC. In Hunan province, CSLCC will cooperate with the provincial Development and Reform Committee to develop a city cluster low-carbon development plan to support the Hunan Provincial Low Carbon Development Five-Year Action Plan (2016-2020). In Qingdao, the CSLCC team will work with the city to develop a roadmap for City-Level Greenhouse Gas Emission Peaking by the end of 2020.

China announced its progressive greenhouse gas reduction targets two years ago through the U.S-China Joint Presidential Announcement on Climate Change, and has since initiated several low-carbon cities pilot plans.

To support these local climate leaders, after the selection of four city partners, the CSLCC project team will work with local practitioners to assess key objectives and capacity needs of each city in relation to their low-carbon plans. The CLSCC project will provide an international exchange platform to connect local leaders with their international peers with similar low-carbon agendas and experiences. Over the next 18 months, the CSLCC project will provide technical assistance and peer-to-peer learning support on greenhouse gas inventory development, low-carbon action plan development, low-carbon transportation system development and sustainable energy management for the local climate leaders in accordance with their needs.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. USAID is an independent government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world. USAID builds private sector partnerships to foster in-country sustainability and ownership, with a focus on issues such as health, urban water and sanitation, food security, climate change, early grade reading, and women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue.

NCSC is an institution directly affiliated with NDRC, and is a focal point for national strategy study and international cooperation on climate change. NCSC provides policy and technical support for decision-making of the Government of China on addressing climate change, and climate-related international negotiation and cooperation. 

ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build better communities. ICMA identifies leading practices to address the needs of local governments and professionals serving communities globally.

An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 25 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. ISC’s programs are designed to facilitate peer learning and engagement among local leaders charged with the work of making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led 103 projects in 30 countries, and currently works in China, India, Bangladesh and the United States.