A delegation of representative from the city of Ordos, located in Inner-Mongolia, China, attended the Fifth Sino-Finnish Innovativeness Forum on the 27th of September, 2011. The delegation’s visit to Finland was motivated by the city’s strong commitment to low-carbon development. As such, the Forum provided these representatives with an opportunity to engage with a community of likeminded individuals from the worlds of academia, commerce and government. The City of Ordos was represented at the Forum by Ms. NA Renhua, the Director of the International Economics Collaboration Bureau.

The region of Ordos, in which the city is located, is an incredibly rich source of several natural resources, such as; coal, wool and natural gases. While the region’s ample supply of coal continues to provide Ordos’ economy with a reliable foundation, the City has chosen to direct future development in a more sustainable direction. This commitment to low-carbon development is reflected in the naming of the city as the National Energy and Chemical Engineering Base. This distinction complements the city’s plans to provide significant support to the emerging solar and wind energy as well as cloud computing industries while also striving to upgrade production practices in its coal industry.

The City’s 12th Five-Year Plan serves as a detailed roadmap of its low-carbon and sustainability themed future goals. The plan sets reduction targets for energy consumption and CO2 emissions, which are in line with provincial targets, as well as specific targets for the future development of the city’s energy structure, expanding natural gas and methane consumption to 15% as well as increasing the percentage of energy derived from renewable sources by 10%. The Five-Year Plan also addresses the structure of the city’s economy, aiming to increase the proportion of tertiary industries to 42% of GDP as well as increasing the proportion of added value derived from non-coal and non-gas industries. These practical energy and industrial targets are supported by the City’s commitment to increasing low-carbon technology investment to 0.2% of GDP by the year 2015.

This increased investment in low-carbon technologies will serve to support the City’s goal of strengthening its low-carbon industry while also ensuring that the City’s administrative departments implement low-carbon solutions in: building, transportation and social education. During their visit to Finland, members of the Ordos delegation also took the opportunity to visit Valmet Automotive’s production facilities, home to industry leading electric vehicle technologies and experts. The reduction targets set out in the City of Ordos’ Five-Year Plan together with the practical steps being undertaken provide an interesting glimpse of a very promising, low-carbon city of the future. The strong commitment to low-carbon development and great ambition of cities such as Ordos serve as promising signs for future generations that together we can yet reverse the tide of environmental collapse.