Bai et al, EST 2012 - CIDEA – Citizen Driven Environmental Action

Rapid and Low Carbon Urbanization in
Professor Xuemei Bai
Fenner School of Environment and Society
University of Copenhagen, Oct 21, 2014
This Talk
1. Determinants of GHG emission from cities:
some recent evidence
2. Urbanization in China under the carbon lens?
3. Urban experiments and transition
Carbon Emission from Cities
• Cities responsible for “75% of global
energy consumption and 80% per cent of
greenhouse gas emissions” - (UN, 2007)
Cities at COP19:
From periphery to center stage?
• Inaugural Cities Day of UNFCCC, a
Ministerial-Mayors Dialogue (Nov. 21)
• Cities Climate Registry 2013 Report
– 414 cities registered over 4,000 climate
actions either completed or in progress until
– 63% of the reduction commitments are above
1% per year, exceeding the value of even the
most ambitious national governments under
the Kyoto Protocol.
Cities Say…
• “National governments alone cannot
tackle all corners of climate action, that’s
why cities offer their ambitions, capacities
and achievements as governmental
stakeholders which should be tapped in
the new climate regime.
• We can guarantee to deliver concrete
actions as part of the global deal in Paris
• ICLEI Secretary General Gino Van Begin.
“City Planning will determine pace of global
- (UN, 2007)
Figure S1. Declining per capita fuel consumption with increasing urban
density in
FIGURE 3. GHG emissions from ground transportation fuels are
inversely related to population density. (Kennedy et al 2009)
Global Protocol For Community-Scale
are we
Gas Emissions
Electricity, Steam, Heating/Cooling
Solid Wastes,
Goods &
Solid Waste Services
Goods & Fuels not in
Services Scopes 1 or 2
ADP2.3 – Workshop on urbanization and role of governments
(Source: Yunus Arikan, 2013)
• Up to 70% of household GHG emissions
are from regional and national activities
that support household consumption
including the supply of energy and building
• 17% are from urban level basic services
and supplies such as sewage treatment
and solid waste management
• 13% are direct emissions from household
(Source: Lin et al 2013)
• The impact of high or low density living remains
limited; instead, carbon footprints can be
comparatively high or low across density gradients
depending on the location-specific sociodemographic, infrastructural and geographic
characteristics of the area under consideration.
• Carbon footprint of cities and other human
settlements in the UK is mainly determined by
socio-economic rather than geographic and
infrastructural drivers at the spatial aggregation of
our analysis.
• It increases with growing income, education and
car ownership as well as decreasing household
size. (Minx et al 2013)
Urbanization: China
(Source: Bai, X., P. Shi, Y. Liu. Nature 509, 2014.)
Figure 3 Rapid urban
expansion of Shenzhen
City from 2000 to 2007
based on remote
sensing image
interpretation. Red
color for urban land,
yellow for bare land,
green for land with
vegetation, blue for
water body.
ETM+ image on Nov. 1st 2000, TM
image on Sep. 15th 2000, ETM+
SLC-off composite data on Dec.
7th and Nov. 30th 2007 are used
for this comparison.
(Bai et al, Environ. Sci &Tec, 2012)
Drivers and Impacts of Urban Growth
Primary driver:
- Job opportunity and aspiration for better life
Policy factor:
- Concurrence of urbanization, industrialization and economic
- Significant urban contribution to national economy
- High income countries often have higher urbanization level
 National policy to promote urbanization for economic growth
(Source: Deng and Bai, Environment, 2014)
Does urbanization bring about wealth?
Urbanization and income level across countries
(Bloom et al, Science, 2008)
Figure 2 Spatial distribution of Chinese cities included in analysis.
Panel U1 (1990-1998) consists of 174 cities.
Panel U2 (1997-2006) consists of 135 cities.
Panel U3 (1990-2006) consists of 121 cities that appear in both U1 and U2 panel.
(Source: Bai et al, EST, 2012)
Figure 4 Average annual growth of GDP per capita, built-up area,
and population of 135 Chinese cities during 1997-2006.
(Source: Bai et al, EST 2012)
Positive Feedback
• 1) Larger cities tend to gain more income and richer
cities tends to expand more
• 2) There is a long-term bi-directional causality between
urban built-up area expansion and GDP per capita at
both city and provincial level, and a short-term bidirectional causality at provincial level.
• 3) A positive feedback between landscape urbanization
and urban and regional economic growth in China.
– (Bai et al, Environmental Science&Technology, 2012)
Policy Implications
1) Urbanization, if measured by a landscape indicator,
does have causal effect on economic growth in China,
both within the city and with spillover effect to the
2) Under its current economic growth model, it might be
difficult for China to control urban expansion without
sacrificing economic growth.
3) China’s policy to stop the loss of agricultural land, for
food security, might be challenged by its policy to
promote economic growth through urbanization.
- (Bai et al, Environmental Science &Technology, 2012)
China’s urbanization model
– Landscape urbanization, and lowering density
fueled by over reliance to land based revenue
– Concurrent with industrialization
– Steep rise in consumption level and consumer
3. Processes and Dynamics
Urban Environmental Evolution (1)
• Cities are complex systems subject to
constant change, the process of which can be
viewed as a dynamic evolutionary process
• Urban environmental profiles of cities are
diverse, but there are certain commonalities
in the evolutionary trajectories among
different cities
(Source: Bai 2003)
3. Processes and Dynamics
Urban Environmental Evolution (2)
• However, the environmental evolution of
cities exhibit a strong non-linearity in their
trajectories, instead of following a fixed,
stylized pattern;
• Each trajectory is shaped by a unique
combination of endogenous and exogenous
forces, reflecting both pressures from outside
the system and the responses from within the
(Source: Bai 2003)
Urban Experiments and Sustainability
• If cities are evolving systems, is it possible to
intervene and alter the future trajectory towards
sustainable end?
4. Experiments and Transition
Solar energy use in Rizhao, China
(Bai 2007, In: State of the World 2007)
4. Experiments and Transition
Sustainability Experiment
• Sustainability experiments are planned initiatives
that embody a highly novel socio-technical
configuration likely to lead to substantial
(environmental) sustainability gains.
– Small initiatives in which the earliest stages of a process of
socio-technical learning takes place.
– Typically bring together new networks of actors with knowledge,
capabilities and resources, cooperating in a process of learning
– (Berkhout et al, 2010)
Main pilot programs on low-carbon cities
in China
Pilot Programs
Feb., 2013, issued Interim measures on
low-carbon product cer fica on
First batch (2010):8 ci es
and 5 provinces
Second batch(2012):29
ci es and provinces
Low-carbon pilot ci es
and provinces
Pilot program on
Low-carbon products
Nov., 2011, 7 ci es and provinces
launched ETS pilot programs
Pilot program
on ETS
First batch (2011):10 ci es
Second batch(2012):16 ci es
Pilot industrial
parks on Lowcarbon
Pilot ci es on
Low-carbon transporta on
May, 2014, 55 Pilot industrial parks were
publicly announced for the first batch
China’s low carbon city experiments
• Rizhao (Solar city model)
• Baoding (Low carbon industry model)
• Shenyang (Ground source heat pump
• Shanghai (Energy conservation building)
• Hangzhou (Public transport model)
• Chongqing (Forest City)
From single case learning to
transferable knowledge?
• Single case learning often treated as too context
specific or anecdotal in academic debate
• Lack of systematic, comprehensive analysis
attempting to identify commonalities across large
number of individual cases
• The need for understanding key characteristics
and emerging common patterns, and extracting
transferable knowledge across cases
4. Experiments and Transition
Research Questions
• What contributes to the success of a “good”
• Are there commonalities and emerging patterns
across cases?
• What are the determining factors and mechanisms
shaping these patterns?
• What are the sound analytical approaches for
identifying them?
- Bai et al (2010)
4. Experiments and Transition
Conceptual Framework
Pathway of
Analyzing innovative practices in urban sustainability:
Conceptual framework
(Source: Based on Bai et al, Environmental Science and Policy,
4. Experiments and Transition
(Source: Bai et al, 2010)
Fig. 1 – Distribution of primary triggers, actors, linkages and barriers according to different pathways.
(Note: Prefix T, A, L, and B refers to Triggers, Actors, Linkages, and Barriers, respectively. For triggers, PCh, PCo, CC, PV, PH, O, EM,
public health issue, others, employment, global concern, media exposure, and natural disaster, respectively. For actors, LG, ID, SG, LC
government, international development assistance agencies, state/national government, local community, local activists, private sector,
others, respectively. For linkages, CI, CB, LS, PP, IG, NP and O, represents cross/inter-agency involvement (horizontal integrated), com
governments (vertically integrated), public–private sector partnership PPP, international/global linkages, networks of program activities/e
respectively. For Barriers, P, Ca, E, I, N, T, S, Cu, O, and H, represents political, capacity, economical/financial, institutional, natural/phy
acceptance, cultural factors, others, and historical limits, respectively.)
(Source: Bai et al, 2010)
4. Experiments and Transition
Findings from 30 Urban Sustainability
Practices in Asia
• About half of all cases either multiplied or up-scaled to
change system of practice
• Political aspect prominent for both success and failure,
e.g. policy change as trigger, local government role as
main actor, state government support, institutional
aspect as major barrier
• Technology or cultural aspect seldom identified as major
• Many international donor funded projects tend to stay as
individual experiment, some times multiplied but seldom
up-scaled to change system of practice
(Bai et al 2010)
(Bai, X., P. Shi, Y. Liu 2014. Realizing China’s urban dream. Nature 509, 158-160.)
Bai, X., P. Shi, Y. Liu. 2014. Realizing China’s urban dream. Nature 509, pp158-160.
Deng, X. X. Bai. 2014. Sustainable urbanization in Western China. Environment: Science and
Policy for Sustainable Development, vol. 56, no. 3, pages 12–24.
Trencher, G., X. Bai, J. Evans, K McCormick, M. Yarime. 2014. University partnerships for codesigning and co-producing urban sustainability. Global Environmental Change 28:153-165.
Lin, T., Y. YU, X.M. Bai, L. Feng, J. Wang. 2013. Carbon emission accounting of urban
residential consumption: a household survey based approach. PLoS ONE 8(2): e55642.
Bai, X.M., J. Chen, P.J. Shi. 2012. Landscape urbanization and economic growth: Positive
feedbacks and sustainability dilemmas. Environmental Science & Technology 46(1): 132–139.
Li, G.L., X.M, Bai, S. Yu, H. Zhang, Y.G. Zhu. 2011. Urban phosphorus metabolism through
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Thank You!
Questions and comments are welcome:
[email protected]