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Seizing China’s Urban Opportunity

Part of the publication Seizing the Urban Opportunity

Seizing China’s Urban Opportunity




In China and around the world, national leaders face a triple challenge right now: ensuring a successful recovery from the devastation of COVID-19, pushing forward on their longer-term vision for development, and addressing the enormous threats posed by climate change. The pandemic has wrought havoc on the global economy, with particularly severe impacts on the poor. It has also highlighted the urgency of building resilience to a wide range of shocks, especially the growing impacts of climate change.

Cities are at the centre of that triple challenge. As population hubs and economic engines, they will play a crucial role in the recovery and in countries’ long-term economic vitality. Many have also been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, however. So now, more than ever, national leadership is crucial to ensure cities can “bounce back” and fully realise their potential as engines of sustainable, inclusive growth. As outlined in the Coalition’s 2019 flagship report, Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity, only national governments can mobilise resources at the scale needed, and they control or drive key policy realms: from energy, to transport, to social programmes.

Recognising that developing and emerging economies face particularly complex challenges, the Coalition is focusing on six key countries in the lead-up to COP26 in Glasgow: China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Together, they produce about a third of global GDP and 41% of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use. They are also home to 42% of the world’s urban population. The extent to which these six major emerging economies can unleash the power of cities to catalyse sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth is therefore critical not only for their future trajectory, but for the whole planet.

This paper presents the results of policy analysis and modelling on China, delving deeper into findings summarised in the Coalition’s new Seizing the Urban Opportunity report.

Investing in zero-carbon and resilient cities in China

Recording of a webinar from 31st March 2021. This video has been edited to remove contributions from participants who did not wish to be recorded.