Policies, Practices and Positioning
Edited by Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner
Chapter 17: Climate change politics and Hangzhou's 'green city making'
China's sustainability is under pressure, the country is suffering from a severe biocapacity deficit, and its ecological footprint, i.e., its demand for renewable resources, has far exceeded its ability to regenerate these resources. Its per capita ecological footprint is now 2.5 times more than its per capita biocapacity. The fastest growing individual component of this footprint is its carbon footprint, due to the excessive use of fossil fuels. Like elsewhere, this situation has been caused by rapid industrialization, an expanding transport sector and, not least, urbanization (China Ecological, 2012, pp. 7-25). Across the globe, cities are responsible for 70-80 per cent of CO2 emissions (ADB, 2008, p. 44; Baeumler et al., 2012, p. xxxix), and China's major cities now have per capita carbon footprints that are larger than those of many comparable cities in OECD countries (Baeumler et al., 2012, p. xlii). The seriousness of climate change as a component of China's environmental crisis has prompted China's central and local political leaders to work at a frantic pace to formulate policies and programmes to address climate change (Delman, 2011). China's leadership acknowledges that the process of urbanization is one of the main causes of the problem and, at the same time, the key to successful solutions. Therefore, China's efforts at addressing climate change primarily focus on the city.
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