In light of the urgency to combat climate change, the British Government has implemented a Strategic Program Fund (SPF) focusing on assisting major developing economies on the implementation of low carbon, high growth strategies to help enable them to meet the increasing global challenges of climate change. 

In China, the SPF is looking to fund a range of low carbon, high growth initiatives that can serve as new development models for China and beyond. 

ERM’s China based team provided a report to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) that developed environmental baselines and identified low carbon development opportunities in the city of Cixi in Zhejiang Province, China. 

Our Approach

The report included:

  • Phase I: an initial high level review of Cixi City; and
  • Phase II: a more detailed review of Cixi’s industrial sector and an overview of the government approval levels that might relate to the adoption of low carbon, high growth initiatives.

It is clear from the review work that Cixi, in a number of respects, is not typical of many cities in China.  Cixi is one of China’s wealthier cities with a per capita GDP more than RMB 58,000, compared with about RMB 21,600 for China as a whole.  Its car ownership per 1000 persons is 50-60 compared with the current 24 overall for China and its transport systems currently favor those with cars.

Located at the southern end of the world’s longest ocean crossing bridge (36 km long), from May 2008 it has linked it with Shanghai, China’s largest city, premier commercial centre and largest port.  Significant funding for the bridge was raised from the private sector operating in the province, another indication of the wealth of the region in which Cixi is located.

However, even though Cixi might not be a completely typical city within the context of the whole of China, it is more likely to be able to take on new approaches that will lead to lower carbon emissions, compared with less affluent cities that may not have the capacity or expertise to develop such approaches.  It should also be possible to develop low carbon, high growth scenarios for Cixi on the basis that they will be replicable elsewhere in China.

The Cixi Government is already developing initiatives that could align with a low carbon, high growth strategy including the development of the first phase of what will be a 100MW wind-farm and experimenting with novel localized wind and photovoltaic power generation systems for street lighting and the illumination of street signs.

Benefits and Value

The report helped the FCO understand the energy and environmental challenges in the context of a rapidly developing Chinese city. The report also helped the FCO identify the best ways to spend its grant money to accelerate low carbon growth in China.