German and Chinese cities partner on climate leadership

More than half of the global population is already living in cities. This share will rise to around two-thirds by 2050. This figure underscores that sustainable urbanization will play a key role in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. The building sector and energy demand for electricity, heating and transport are key when it comes to mitigating emissions.

German and Chinese cities are showing leadership in setting targets and implementing plans to cut their greenhouse gas emissions at the city level. With the 100 Percent Climate Protection initiative supported by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), cities and communities are preparing concepts to reduce their emissions by 95 percent and to cut their energy consumption by 50 percent by 2050. Similarly, the 13th Five-Year Plan in China sets mitigation measures in various sectors and calls for low-carbon urbanization, to include energy efficiency in buildings, increased renewable energy use in cities and enhanced resource efficiency.

Sino-German cooperation is built on the exchange of knowledge and experience on sustainable and climate-friendly urbanization. On 13 November 2017, the Sino-German Climate Partnership and the Sino-German Urbanization Partnership - bilateral cooperation between the German and Chinese government since 2013 - jointly organized an event to further this relationship. The event examined the challenges and enablers of climate protection on local level in Chinese and German cities.

The event focused on best practices and experiences gained through climate and energy concepts in cities as well as necessary framework conditions set by the national governments. Although the event focuses on China and Germany and Sino-German cooperation, the implications and results are relevant globally.

Keynote remarks were given by Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister, Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Germany and Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative on Climate Change Affairs, National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China (NDRC). Their remarks preceded a panel discussion moderated by Zhu She, Director of ICLEI East Asia, between:

  • Yin Jianqing, Deputy Director-General, Development and Reform Commission, Jiangsu Province
  • Eckart Würzner, Mayor of Heidelberg
  • Chen Pengfei, Deputy Secretary General, Zhenjiang Municipal Government ​
  • Felicitas KUBALA, Environmental Mayor of Mannheim
  • HE Xiangjian, Deputy Director, Xuzhou Municipal Development and Reform Commission
  • Simone Rasob, Environmental Mayor of Essen 

The session showcased existing and emerging city partnerships - for instance between the City of Mannheim and City of Zhenjiang, sister cities for 20 years. Their relationship start off as a sports and cultural exchange and has now moved to mutual learning on climate topics. Jiangsu Province also has a partnership with North Rhine-Westphalia and visited the region with a delegation prior to COP23 for a pre-conference exchange.

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