China taking pollution fight to local level

Updated: 2016-02-19 12:32

By Hua Shengdun in Washington(China Daily USA)

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Citywide joint programs between China and the US to reduce carbon emissions and advance energy efficiency policies are in full swing, according to experts.

"Leadership in local governments is showing an eagerness and determination to eliminate water and air pollution," said Debra Knopman, a researcher at the Rand Corporation.

Knopman made the point in a panel discussion focusing on bottom-up innovation and partnerships to address climate and pollution in Chinese cities at the Wilson Center in Washington on Thursday.

"There is more engagement for municipal governments to cooperate with us to conduct research and carry out policies because of its smaller scope," she said.

Knopman is currently working on the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region to offer advice to cities and collect data.

Her team's objective is to provide research and analysis to policymakers, build an indicator system to examine and monitor quality of life in the region and provide an analytical foundation to guide policy choices to better serve residents and attract new employers and employees, according to Zhimin Mao, an assistant policy analyst at Rand.

"Energy efficiency reform on buildings can make cities more sustainable and successful," said Mark Ginsberg, principal of Ginsberg Green Strategies, which works to advance green buildings and Eco-Cities,

Nearly 54 percent of the population on the planet is in cities, and collectively, cities account for more than 70 percent of global gas emissions and two thirds of the world's energy use, according to Shelly Poticha, of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

There is still a gap of understanding that moving in the direction of environmental energy sustainability is also part of economic long-term viability, Knopman said.

"If leadership is committed and attention sustained, our indicator system can increase accountability and transparency," she added.

Zhimin Mao summarized the research and analysis they have conducted in the PDR region: "Implementation appears to be underway; the indicator system provides an opportunity to build a culture of evidence-based policymaking throughout the PRD."

She also pointed out that "training of policy analysts and commitment to increasing the level of government performance will determine whether proposed approach will be effective and reliable."

Pan Jialiang contributed to this story.