China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs Xie Zhenhua on Thursday reaffirmed the Chinese central government’s commitment to supporting the local governments in developing the green economy and reducing carbon emissions.
Speaking at the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit that opened in San Francisco Thursday, Xie said China appreciates the efforts of California and its Governor Jerry Brown in advancing the cooperation between the US and China to jointly address the climate change challenges.
Xie spoke highly of the contributions of local governments, enterprises, research institutions and public organizations to the fight against climate change.
He called for support for the initiative of Global Action on Climate Change sponsored by Chinese non-profit organizations.
Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angles, one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, echoed Xie’s remarks at a panel discussion on cooperation between US and Chinese local governments and cities in promoting low carbon economy.
Delivering a keynote speech at the event, which is part of the three-day China Pavilion held on the sidelines of the 2018 GCAS, Garcetti said Los Angles has always been looking to China as a partner in building green and sustainable economy.
Los Angeles hosted the first US-China Climate Leaders Summit in 2015, when US and Chinese big cities came together to work for emission reduction.
“It was there Beijing and Guangzhou set their cap emissions by 2020 instead of 2030,” Garcetti said.
Kate Meis, executive director of California’s Local Government Commission, a non-profit organization founded in 1980, said the leadership of mass campaigns often starts at the local level.
“Many of California’s ambitious state goals started in cities first. The city of Los Angeles went 100 percent renewables, smaller cities like Lancaster and Santa Monica went renewable before the state,” she said.
“Often we see that cities will be really innovative and at the forefront that gives political backing to the state and the state can pass legislation and executive order. That will take the leadership to scale,” she said.
She noted that the important role local governments can play is to run the pilots and innovate them.
A representative from Shenzhen, a pioneer city in southern China, shared the city’s experience in developing its low carbon economy. The city has more than 30,000 energy-efficient cars and 16,000 electric buses in public transportation, making it a world leader in terms of electric vehicles.
The panel discussions on Thursday, attended by officials from both US and Chinese cities and social organizations, were devoted to the theme of Chinese Provinces and Cities in action: pathways to low-carbon development.
The US and China have focused their collaboration on vehicles and buildings that could be globally transformative, which enable cleaner air and lower greenhouse gas emissions in both countries. They are also working on cutting the cost of zero-emissions technologies for lower-income countries.