June 4th, 2015 – This event is part of the China Low Carbon Leadership Network (LCLN) event series, jointly organised by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and China Carbon Forum (CCF). 61 representatives of government, NGOs, business and media joined GIZ and CCF to discuss municipal energy policies and concepts from both German and Chinese perspective. The event offered an interactive platform which facilitates the communication among leading experts and key stakeholders in the international climate change sector in China.
The panel included distinguished experts from the fields of energy and eco-city planning, those working on EU-China projects and Sino-German projects focusing on energy concepts. The participants presented mix perspectives and in-depth analysis during their presentations. After which a lively discussion emerged during the comprehensive Q&A sessions.
– Welcome by Dr. Christoph Beier, Vice Chair of Management Board and Chief Operating Officer, GIZ
– Ms. Anja Hajduk, Member of the German Bundestag
– Mr. Li Hailong, Deputy Director, Centre for Eco-City Planning and Construction, Chinese Society for Urban Studies
– Mr. Frédéric Asseline, Team Leader, Europe-China Eco-Cities Link
– Ms. Hu Runqing, Associate Professor, China National Renewable Energy Centre
– Moderated by Ms. Sandra Retzer, Head of Energy Sector from GIZ China
The following is an edited synthesis of the discussion. As per convention, individual’s comments are not attributed.
As the very core of industry, population, transport, and infrastructure, today’s cities are commonly associated with high energy demands and high greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, cities and municipalities are often regarded as a contributor of both environmental and climate problems. However, during the event, the panel presented that an increasing number of city governments are actually attempting to counter the effects of climate change by de-carbonizing their local energy systems by adopting renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes.
It was further argued that no matter how sophisticated national policies regarding energy and climate concepts may be, the success of such policies greatly depends on their implementation at a local level. In order to make this point, the panel referred to the Federal Government of Germany’s “Energiewende” (energy transition). In 2010, Germany introduced an ambitious long-term energy strategy, which would focus on developing renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable economic development, whilst phasing out the usage of nuclear energy and coal.
In order to further explore the issue of low-carbon urban development, the panel discussed the concept of ‘smart cities.’ In particular, the panelists highlighted Wilhemsburg Central, Europe’s largest river island, as a key example of how a single neighbourhood could successfully achieve energy efficiency and transition to a renewable energy system. Projects included the ‘BIQ’ presented the world’s first building with a bioreactor façade and the Integrated Energy Network Wilhelmsburg Central. The success factors behind such programs were underlined as a strong cooperation between experts from various fields such as economics and environmental sciences, as well as reliable cooperation between the private and public sector. Gaining the involvement of local people to get involved, as well as their feedback plays also a crucial role.
It was acknowledged that concepts such as energy efficiency and low-carbon urban development were still fairly new in China. Nonetheless, the panel put forth that China is working with European countries in order to improve its urban energy strategy.
The panel also discussed the EU-China Eco-City Link (EC-LINK), a bilateral project between the European Union and China’s central government The EC-LINK is supported by both Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development in China as well as the European Commission Directorate General for Development Cooperation, whilst being implemented by GIZ. The EC-LINK program, which was launched in March 2015, seeks to work with the relevant local governments to strengthen the low-carbon concepts in ten pilot cities by supporting the development of projects in various areas.
The panel also discussed how the policy-making process differs between Europe and China. The example of Hamburg was pointed to, where a combined ministry covering buildings, traffic and environment made it much easier to implement comprehensive policies. In this regard awareness plays a crucial role. The panel also commented that there is room for an expanded role for NGOs to play a part of this process in China.
61 representatives of government, NGOs, business and media joined GIZ and CCF to discuss municipal energy policies and concepts and share German and Chinese Experiences.