US, Chinese cities and regions to pledge faster, deeper GHG cuts

Published 15:26 on September 15, 2015  /  Last updated at 09:52 on September 16, 2015  /  Americas, Asia Pacific, China, Climate Talks, International, US

Major cities, states and provinces in the US and China will pledge to enact faster and deeper cuts in their GHG emissions, the White House announced on Tuesday, building on a climate agreement inked between the two countries late last year.

Major cities, states and provinces in the US and China will pledge to enact faster and deeper cuts in their GHG emissions, the White House announced on Tuesday, building on a climate agreement inked between the two countries late last year.

The new initiative, dubbed the US-China Climate Leaders Declaration, will involve all signatories establishing ambitious GHG reduction targets, regularly reporting their emissions data, developing climate action plans, and enhancing bilateral partnerships and cooperation with other parties.

“Cities and local governments … are already leading the way with ambitious actions to combat climate change through promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, low-carbon transportation, sustainable growth patterns, and other sustainable and low-carbon city policies,” the White House said in a statement.

The Declaration is being unveiled during a Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities Summit this week in Los Angeles, a week before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington DC.

It expands on a deal agreed last November between Xi and President Obama that will see the US set a 2025 GHG target and China cap its emissions by 2030 at the latest.

At least 18 US cities, states and municipalities and 11 Chinese cities and provinces are set to sign up to the Declaration, each pledging to take different steps to rein in their GHG output.


The Chinese cities and provinces will form an ‘Alliance of Peaking Pioneer Cities’, promising to peak their emissions well before China’s 2030 national goal.

Those covered under the agreement are home to some 190 million people – roughly the combined population of Germany, Spain and the UK – and are estimated to account for a quarter of China’s total urban emissions.

“Notably, Beijing and Guangzhou have committed to peak their CO2 emissions by the end of or around 2020 – ten years earlier than the national target – and the Chinese cities and provinces making commitments represent approximately 1.2 gigatons of annual CO2 emissions, about 25% of China’s urban total and roughly the same level of CO2 emissions as Japan or Brazil,” the White House said.

However, emissions in Beijing and Guangzhou are likely to peak well before 2020 regardless as they are moving factories and coal plants out of urban areas.


In addition to the sub-national government pledges, a number of other collaborations by the private sector are to be announced during this week’s summit, including a partnership between the China Beijing Environment Exchange and the Beijing-based the Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation, and the California-headquartered Climate Registry and Climate Action Reserve.

It will seek to design and implement carbon market training programmes in China, and to introduce California’s zero-emission vehicle credit trading mechanism in Beijing.

“This initiative aims to equip professionals with the experience and understanding needed to create functioning carbon markets, which are critical to encouraging the deployment of clean and renewable energy sources,” The White House said.

A 2013 MOU between California and China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which includes cooperation around the implementation of emissions trading systems, expansion of electric vehicles, and other low-carbon development activities, will also be renewed this week.

“The renewal of this innovative partnership creates new opportunities for expanding the use of market mechanisms to reduce emissions.”

The measures add to a groundswell of new efforts to tackle climate change that are being announced by companies and governments at every level ahead of this winter’s UN summit in Paris.

Below is a summary of the targets and actions to be taken by the municipalities, counties and regions in the US and China under their Climate Leaders Declaration.




  • By 2020, California will reduce GHG emissions by 17% to 1990 levels to 431mt of CO2e; Generate at least 33% of its electricity from renewable sources.
  • Reduce GHG emissions by 40% below 1990 emission levels by 2030, and 80% by 2050.

New Actions By 2030:

  • Increase electricity derived from renewable resources to 50%.
  • Reduce petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50%.
  • Double energy efficiency achieved in existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner.
  • Reduce the release of short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane and black carbon.
  • Increase carbon sequestration on farms and rangelands and in forests and wetlands.



  • Committed to 10% GHG reduction by 2020 (1990 baseline).
  • Committed to 80% GHG reduction by 2050 (2001 baseline).
  • Earlier this year, Governor Malloy issued an executive order establishing the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3). Comprised of 15 members from state agencies, non-profits, and the business community, the Council is responsible for establishing interim goals that, if met, will ensure the state achieves that 2050 target. The Council will also recommend policies, regulations and legislative actions to meet these targets.


Atlanta, Georgia

  • 20% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 80% by 2040 (2009 Baseline).
  • All commitments are reflected in the Compact of Mayors and recent milestone of 100 million square feet of commercial building space committed to the DoE Better Buildings Challenge. All participants in the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge commit to reducing energy and water consumption 20% by 2020.


Boston, Massachusetts

  • Committed to reducing GHG emissions 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 (baseline is 2005).
  • Continues to lead in energy efficiency, ranked as the #1 most energy efficient city in the U.S. by the ACEEE and was the first in the nation to adopt Green Buildings Zoning.


Los Angeles, California

  • Los Angeles is committed to a 45% reduction in GHGes by 2025, 60% by 2030, and 80% by 2050 (1990 baseline).
  • By 2017 we will expand the Better Buildings Challenge (BBC) to over 60 million square feet, and avoid 1250 GWh of energy use due to efficiency programs.
  • By 2025, Los Angeles will eliminate its use of coal-fired electricity.
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti recently announced a commitment to lease 160 pure battery EV vehicles, a move that will give Los Angeles the largest city-owned pure EV fleet in America. The program commits city departments to the leasing of pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to replace aging city vehicles – including those with conventional internal combustion engines.
  • Los Angeles will release its Draft Climate Action Plan by December 2015


Washington D.C.

  • Committed to 50% reduction by 2032, 80% by 2050 (2006 baseline).
  • Mayor recently signed a power purchase agreement for 46MW of wind power that will provide 35% of the District Government’s electricity, avoiding 100,000 tons of carbon emissions every year.


Seattle, Washington

  • Target to be carbon neutral by 2050.
  • Interim target of 58% Reduction in GHG by 2030.


Portland, Oregon

  • 80% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.
  • 40% reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.
  • Double installed solar on City of Portland facilities by 2020.
  • Meet 100% of City electricity needs from renewable power.


Houston, Texas

  • Committed to 42% reduction by 2016; 80% reduction by 2050 (2007 baseline).
  • Mayor Parker is committed to continuing Houston’s leadership as the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy in the nation, with 50% of the City’s energy coming from renewable sources and a 30 MW solar project soon to be approved.


Salt Lake City, Utah

  • 2015 Target: Reduce GHG emissions from community by 10%, to 4.7 million tons annually, through transportation and energy strategies.
  • Achieve 15% GHG Reduction from Municipal Operations by 2015 (83,536 tons) – 2008 baseline.
  • In 2008, Mayor Becker and the Salt Lake City Council signed a joint resolution committing that the City will work to reduce its municipal carbon footprint 20% below the 2005 level by 2020; 50% below the 2005 level by 2040; and, 80% below the 2005 level by 2050.
  • By 2020, 50% of all energy used for municipal operations will come from renewable resources.


Lancaster, California

  • The City of Lancaster’s committed goal is to become one of the world’s first Net-Zero cities, meaning Lancaster will procure and produce more energy via renewable sources than the total amount of energy consumed by the entire city.
  • BYD’s Bus and Coach plant, as well as its battery factory established in Lancaster, bringing the only Chinese manufacturing facility to North America. Since opening, BYD has developed California’s first long-range electric bus, the “Lancaster.”
  • Instituted the Nation’s first City-mandated Residential Solar Ordinance, requiring all new residential construction projects to include 1 kilowatt per new home built.


New York City, New York

  • Reduce GHG emissions 80% by 2050 (2005 baseline), 40% reduction by 2030 (1990 baseline).
  • Targeting a 30% reduction from buildings by 2025.
  • Issued RFI to procure 100% of City electricity from renewable sources.
  • All City government buildings to be retrofitted for energy efficiency by 2025.


Oakland, California

  • GHG reduction targets from 2005 baseline are the following: 36% by 2020, 83% by 2050.
  • Retrofitted 100% of trucks and installed shore power at 11 berths at the Port of Oakland, part of a documented success in eliminating more than 165 tons of particulate matter from environmentally sensitive areas since 2005.
  • Beginning in 2015, the City’s new Zero Waste franchise agreements and expanded services are resulting in emissions reductions of more than 450,000 metric tonnes per year.


Carmel, Indiana

  • 40% reduction by 2040.
  • Plan to convert at least 30 more traffic signals to roundabouts – each conversion averaging a savings of 26,000 gallons of fuel per year. With nearly 100 roundabouts open now, Carmel continues to lead the nation as the city with the most roundabouts.


Des Moines, Iowa

  • Committed to 25% by 2015 (2012 baseline).


Miami Dade County, Florida

  • In 2008 Miami-Dade County committed to the U.S. Cool Counties goals and objectives, to reduce GHG emissions from 2008 levels by 80% by 2050.
  • As part of the 2016 update of Miami-Dade County’s community-wide sustainability plan, GreenPrint, the County is setting an interim GHG emissions reduction goal of 20% relative to 2008 levels by 2020.
  • Miami International Airport launched The Sustainability Project at MIA, one of the largest energy saving programs ever in the state of Florida and in the eastern U.S. The project focuses on installing $32 million worth of energy-efficient lighting, water conservation retrofits, air conditioning and ventilation upgrades and other measures that will save more than $40 million in utility costs over the next 14 years.


Phoenix, Arizona

  • Reduce GHG emissions by 80% by 2050 (2005 baseline).
  • Reduce GHG emissions for city operations by 15% by 2015 (2009 baseline).
  • Reduce GHG emissions for city-owned buildings by 20% by 2020 (2009 baseline).
  • Supply 15% of its energy use in city-owned building operations from renewable energy by 2025.
  • Created the largest municipal fleet of alternative fuel vehicles in the nation, saving 60 million gallons of petroleum throughout the Phoenix region.
  • Half of the city’s public works buildings use solar power.


San Francisco, California

  • 25% reduction by 2017; 40% by 2025; 80% by 2050 (1990 baselines).
  • The City’s energy supply is already over 40% GHG-free. Developing a new CleanPowerSF program to decrease GHG emissions from residential and business customers through sourcing more energy from renewable sources.
  • Announced the City’s diesel fleet will phase out petroleum diesel and replace it with renewable diesel to reduce GHG emissions and improve air quality.




  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2020.
  • To increase urban sustainable development level by promoting regional cooperation; to optimize and upgrade economic restructure; to improve the market emission reduction mechanism; to develop and apply advanced low-carbon technologies and products.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions before 2030.
  • Put the low-carbon development action plans into practice by application and popularizing of clean energy, smart grid, low-carbon transportation, clean energy vehicles, green building and low-carbon communities, and strive to promote international and regional cooperation.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions by 2030.
  • Adjust and optimize the industrial structure; accelerate the development of the tourism as the leader of the modern service industry; promote the strategic reform of energy structure with emphasis on the development of clean energy; implement the “ecological province” strategy and strengthen the ecological environment protection. Carry out a province-wide pilot demonstration of low-carbon development.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions by 2022.
  • Develop and implement low-carbon plans and the roadmap; adjust energy structure and promote the use of clean energy; control the emissions of traffic and buildings; promote new energy vehicles; boost massively green buildings; improve carbon emissions trading mechanism.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions by the end of 2020.
  • Make detailed action plan of GHG control in 2020; adjusting energy structure, controlling the total amount of energy consumption, exploring renewable energy, greatly increasing energy efficiency, promoting green buildings, constructing low-carbon transportation systems, promoting the recycle and reuse of resources, implementing emissions trading, and prioritizing the development of low carbon technology and related industries.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2022.
  • Adjust the industrial structure, improve energy mix, develop green transportation, promote green buildings, promote low-carbon consumption, and promote carbon emission trading.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions in the year 2025.
  • Accelerate the establishment of a big data oriented modern industrial system. Develop low-carbon transport, low-carbon building and low-carbon communities.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions in 2020.
  • Establishing a completed and comprehensive city-carbon managing system layered into city and suburban level, industry and enterprise level, and project level. Implement carbon managing mechanisms for enterprises. Implement carbon emission assessment.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions before 2025.
  • Develop the resource-saving and environment-friendly society; increase the scale of forest carbon sink, advocating green consumption and the low-carbon lifestyle.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions before 2029.
  • Accelerate industrial structure adjustment. Improve energy utilization efficiency; change the structure of energy consumption; promote low-carbon key projects; develop new low carbon zone.



  • To achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions before 2025.
  • Promote low-carbon energy utilization; promote the upgrade and restructuring of key industries to reduce carbon footprint, with a strong focus on technological development and energy savings in sectors; develop smart transportation systems to improve organization and coordination of transportation; promote green building techniques.


By Mike Szabo –

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