Report | 2019

Near-Zero Carbon Zones in China

Policy Roadmap and Casestudy

By Iain CampbellKoben CalhounYihan HaoTing LiShutong (Lucy) LuJames MandelMeng Wang
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After the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, China committed to peak emissions around 2030. Cities are identified as one of the most effective levers to achieve such a reduction goal, as they account for 60% of CO2 emissions in China. To support cities to peak carbon emissions, the central government of China established a national program that calls for 50 near-zero carbon zones by 2050. Cities and regions are looking for technical supports to design and implement near-zero carbon zones that can meet the carbon reduction goal while supporting economic growth.

RMI has been working with Ningbo, a leading city in China, to develop a near-zero emission zone at a 333 square kilometer scale. The plan enables Ningbo to maintain carbon emissions just below the 2017 level, while achieving four times the growth in gross domestic product by 2030. Using the Ningbo experience, along with examination of other leading near- and net-zero carbon zones globally, RMI summarized seven practices to ensure success of near-zero carbon zones. This analysis aims to support continuous emissions reduction in China, as well as other countries.