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On Track to Become a Low Carbon Future City? - First Findings from the Pilot City of Wuxi
Published: 17 October 2012 by MDPI in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Urban Development
Abstract: Increasing urbanisation and climate change belong to the greatest challenges of the 21st century. A high share of global greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to originate in urban areas (40 % to 78 % according to UN Habitat 2010). Therefore, low carbon city strategies and concepts implicate large greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potentials. At the same time, with high population and infrastructure densities as well as concentrated economic activities, cities are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and need to adapt. Scarce natural resources further constrain the leeway for long-term, sustainable urban development. The Low Carbon Future Cities (LCFC) project aims at tapping this three-dimensional challenge and will develop an integrated strategy / roadmap, balancing low carbon development, gains in resource efficiency and adaptation to climate change. The study focuses on two pilot regions - one in China (Wuxi) and one in Germany (Düsseldorf+) - and is conducted by a German-Chinese research team supported by the German Stiftung Mercator. The paper gives an overview of first outcomes of the analysis of the status quo and assessment of the most likely developments regarding GHG emissions, climate impacts and resource use in Wuxi. The project developed an emission inventory for Wuxi to identify key sectors for further analysis and low carbon scenarios. The future development of energy demand and related CO2 emissions in 2030 were simulated in the current policy scenario (CPS), using five different sub-models. Selected aspects of Wuxi\'s current material and water flows were analysed and modelled for energy transformation and the building sector. Current and future climate impacts and vulnerability were investigated. Recent climatic changes and resulting damages were analysed, expected changes in temperature and precipitation in the coming four decades were projected using ensembles of three General Circulation Models. Although Wuxi\'s government started a path to implement a low carbon plan, the first results show that more ambitious efforts are needed to overcome the challenges faced.
Keywords: Low Carbon Future Cities; low carbon city strategies; China; Wuxi; low carbon scenario; circular economy; adaptation; mitigation