News - Low Carbon City

The government of Beijing has announced plans to introduce a series of incentives and other supportive measures intended to lower transportation emissions levels. These measures aim to accomplish this by, not only, encouraging consumers to purchase lower emissions rated vehicles, including both electric vehicles as well as hybrid vehicles but also through an increased reliance on more sustainable forms of transportation in the city’s public transit infrastructure.

The soon to be announced measures are set to include financial aid incentives which will match those offered by the central government, raising the total subsidy to nearly €15,000, as well as convenience incentives such as allowing EV owners to avoid having to buy a license plate, otherwise required of all vehicle owners. The city’s efforts to improve the sustainability of its public transit system include increasing the number of EVs in its fleet of buses, taxis, and street cleaners by as many as 2,000 units, bringing the total to 5,000.

These efforts, while impressive given their concentrated timespan of a few months, are only the first phase of a long process of overhauling the highly environmentally harmful urban transportation system, which, in a city with a population of over 20 million and an ever increasing number of cars on its roads, places in stark contrast the challenges facing European and American cities today.

Source: Bloomberg report on the planned incentives

 

The UN Green Climate Fund, first launched at the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa convened for its first session  in Geneva on the 23rd of August, 2012 for a three day series of talks .The fund’s 24 member Board gathered in Geneva to establish the basic operations and processes of the fund following a lengthy delay in the wake of its founding in the winter of 2011. This period saw several accusations of developed nations dragging their feet and showing strong signs of reluctance to commit further resources at a time when their economies are very unsure. The fund, initially founded to serve as a means to manage the flow of international climate aid, currently around $10 billion annually but developed nations committed in 2009 to raising this to a targeted $100 billion a year by 2020 providing and initial $20 billion to support the fund’s operations through 2014.

At the conclusion of its three day session, the Green Climate Fund’s board selected six potential candidate countries willing to host the Green Climate Fund. The Board is set to announce who among the six candidates (Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, Republic of Korea, and Switzerland) will host the fund at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar this winter (November 26th – December 7th).

Decisions regarding the practical management of the fund’s planned $100 billion in aid were left unaddressed at the meeting as expected. The fund’s board is expected to begin discussion regarding the facilitating and direction of the aid funds at successive meetings, the next of which is scheduled to be held in Songdo, South Korea, from October 18th to the 20th, 2012.

Source: Press Advisory from the Green Climate Fund (pdf)

Read more: Full archive of all documents presented at and concerning the first meeting are available at the GCFs’ website

Speculation regarding the meeting’s possible agenda at Reuters

Further advance reporting at Retuers

A report on the meeting’s decisions at Trust.org

The Manilla Times on the Fund’s first meeting

The Danish city of Copenhagen, home to over 1.7 million residents, serves as an excellent example of a thriving modern, European urban environment which balances the needs of its residents with those of the environment.  The city, long a leader in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is now paving the way for a truly low-carbon future by joining a group of 21 other Danish cities in inaugurating a “cycle superhighway”. The superhighway, which was opened in April, will ultimately include 26 routes connecting these 21 cities and allowing residents within the cities to take care of their daily travel needs by cycle, instead of by car.

In addition to its innovative approach to lowering transit sector emissions levels, traditionally the source of a majority of daily CO2 emissions in urban environments, the superhighway is also an excellent example of a public institution’s eagerness to participate in breaking a path towards a low-carbon future. The political body governing much of the city’s public sector operations the Capital Region of Denmark devoted a total of €1.3 million to fund the project. Officials were convinced of the project’s value not only by Danish statistics which state that increasing cycling by 30% would cut CO2 emissions by 7,000 tons/year and but were equally motivated by findings which stated that this would also reduce healthcare spending by €40 million per year.

Source: Cycling Embassy of Denmark

Read more: See an interactive map and videos from the cycle superhighway

An article in the NY Times

The British government appointed the chair and deputy chair of a newly launched investment bank intended to drive funding for green enterprises and social causes. The bank, the UK Green Investment Bank plc, has been formed as a public company and will be launched upon approval of EU State Aid for the bank and the passage of new legislation which is part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. The UK GIB aims to secure investment in the de-carbonization of Britain’s energy supply. The UK government’s early preparations for the launching of the bank illustrate what the bank’s role in the field of green technology will become. These actions have included the formation of two funds focused on the waste sector, committing £80 million to its funding, and the launch of a search for fund managers to manage a £100 million fund dedicated to non-domestic energy efficiency projects.

Source: Business Green article on bank launch

Read more on the bank at business Green

Green Investment Bank to focus on wind, waste and Green Deal

Updated: Edinburgh to host Green Investment Bank - with a little help from London

Green Investment Bank becomes PLC

In an announcement on May 6th, 2012, the Chinese Ministries of Finance and Housing and Urban-Rural Development set the country’s first official goal for the development of energy-efficient buildings. The government’s goal would see energy-efficient buildings occupying 30% of all new construction projects by 2020.

The government will seek to advance this goal by increasing policy incentives and improving industry standards, as well as promoting technological progress and the development of related industries. In a document detailing the policy change the government outlined a range of subsidies for new buildings which will increase according to their score on a grading system specified in an evaluation standard introduced by the Chinese government in 2006. Builders of first-tier buildings will be eligible for a subsidy of 80 yuan ($US12) per square meter, while second-tier buildings will yield a 45 yuan per square meter payment.

Another key area relates to public welfare and low-income housing projects funded by the government itself. Green construction standards will apply to all such projects by 2014. By 2015, the government aims to have built more than 1 billion square meters of energy-efficient floor space in these areas.

The ministers also announced a goal of bringing China's building energy consumption ratio closer to that of developed countries by 2020.

The 2nd Low Carbon City Development World Forum, held this coming Monday (May 14th) and Tuesday (May 15th) will feature two Chinese experts in the field, Professors Yin Zhi and Li Xiaofeng from the Beijing Tsinghua Urban Planning & Design Research Institute, China who will deliver addresses on urban planning and green building.

Source: China Daily (USA) article

Read more: Details regarding the policy at Construction Source

The 2nd Low Carbon City Development World Forum

All News Posts (World Alliance For Low Carbon Cities)