• Mária Vavrová
The importance of climate change action has grown in recent years and the international community has turned its attention towards the steps necessary to mitigate its effects. The Paris Agreement signifies the latest global effort and a commitment by countries around the world to the cause of climate engagement. Both, European countries and China currently represent leaders in the sphere of climate change abatement and were, therefore, chosen as the research subjects for the paper.
One of the main environmental problems the world is facing at the present time is the reduction of greenhouse gasses and the cities are responsible for 70% of these emissions. Urban areas also serve as centers of business, industry and residential spaces for more than half of the world’s population, which makes them crucial in the efforts of lowering the amounts of global greenhouse gasses. Limiting the emissions in the urban areas and creating eco-cities, green cities, and low-carbon cities has thus become a focal point for urban planners and developers, as well as governments around the globe. The paper focuses on low-carbon cities in Europe and in China, different approaches and initiatives they pursue and the overall state of sustainable development in both regions. Furthermore, their joint efforts and projects are reviewed and the reasons for their cooperation assessed against the backdrop of the current situation in the combat against climate change.
The analysis is conducted in two parts; firstly, the differences in the sustainable development projects are examined by utilizing the theoretical concept of 10 principles of low-carbon development. Measures with decarbonization prospects taken by the cities are sorted and subsequently analyzed in the categories of low-carbon urban form, energy efficiency, and inclusive urban governance. The results indicate that the low-carbon development is currently still at higher level in European cities than in their Chinese counterparts. Nevertheless, the urban areas in the PRC show significant progress on the path to sustainability and if they are able to
solve certain problems they are currently encountering, they can fully utilize their potential to become inspiration to other cities in the world.
Secondly, the analysis reviews different forms of cooperation between China and Europe by applying the International Relations’ theory of liberalism. Despite the fact that partnerships are established on multiple levels, the actual implementation of their common agreements and is not always apparent and the assessment of their efficiency remains problematic as well. However, the collaboration brings benefits to both parties as China can gain and utilize know-how and experience of the European cities in the area of sustainable development and Europe, on the other hand, can expand its market with green technologies, innovations and renewable energy through its cooperation with China and create many valuable partnerships between the cities in both regions.
Overall, it is important that strong actors, such as China or the European countries, and cities in particular, join their forces in the mitigation of climate change as it is not only in their own interest, but also in the interest of global community. By striving for becoming leaders and role models for other urban areas, they can come a step closer to a sustainable and carbon-free future.
SpecialisationChina and International Relations
Publication date15 May 2019
Number of pages77
ID: 303618247