On June 7-8, the Paulson Institute participated in the second annual U.S.-China Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit in Beijing, co-organized by the two countries to promote the implementation of the U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change made by President Obama and President Xi in 2014, as well as the Paris agreement made in 2015. The inaugural Summit took place last September in Los Angeles. Attending the event were mayors of Chinese and American cities, including Boston and Zhenjiang, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China State Councilor Yang Jiechi gave keynote addresses.
Paulson Institute Managing Director Dr. Kevin Mo spoke on four panels throughout the two days, about the need for green finance to push forward low-carbon buildings in China, recommendations for Tongzhou – China’s new “second capital” – to be a near-zero carbon emissions zone, and the role that natural infrastructure plays in building climate resilience.
Green Finance for Low-Carbon Cities, a new research report series authored by the Paulson Institute, Energy Foundation China and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, was also launched at the event.
“The government has made a strong commitment to promote building efficiency through improved building codes and public subsidies, and we have seen mounting interest from the private sector to provide capital investment to these projects as well,” explained Dr. Mo, author of the series’ buildings-focused report, speaking on a panel at the Summit. “We are working on innovative green financing mechanisms, and a government guarantee program for green buildings backed up by a third-party rating system would deliver enormous potential for economic growth in this area of sustainable buildings.”
In his keynote address, Secretary Kerry emphasized the importance of cities to fighting climate change, and the importance of the U.S-China relationship: “Cities are on the front lines of devising ways to save energy and cut emissions. And cities and those who represent them played an indispensable role in encouraging federal officials to set a meaningful national target and approve the Paris agreement. But that agreement is actually not – it’s obviously not the end of the story. It’s the beginning of the story. It’s the first chapter. And we need your continued focus, especially from the mayors of the United States and China, if we are going to bring about the low-carbon global future that we need to bring about.”
Secretary Kerry announced that the 2017 Summit will be held in his hometown of Boston.