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Chinese and U.S. Cities Collaborate to Advance Climate-Smart Low-Carbon City Development

June 7th, 2016, Beijing – Local climate leaders from the Chinese province of Hunan and the city of Qingdao are collaborating with their U.S peers to advance low-carbon city development. This collaboration is made possible by a new Climate-Smart, Low-Carbon Cities (CSLCC) project implemented by the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) in China. Having signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation today at the U.S-China Climate Leaders Summit in Beijing, Hunan and Qingdao became the first two local Chinese government partners to CSLCC.

In response to growing urbanization and increasingly significant greenhouse gas emissions from cities and recognizing the potential for local leaders to undertake significant climate action, the United States and China have established this new bilateral initiative on Climate-Smart/Low-Carbon Cities under the U.S.–China Joint Agreement on Climate Change. The project is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and builds on USAID’s work reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developing Asia.

CSLCC is implemented by ISC under the oversight of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The China National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC) is the key Chinese partner of the project. CSLCC focuses on connecting and supporting local city leaders from China and the U.S who are committed to advancing climate-smart low-carbon development and achieving lasting GHG reductions in both countries.

ISC and Chinese partner NCSC worked together to conduct a city selection process and will ultimately select four Chinese urban regions that are poised to accelerate local low-carbon development. Participants include provinces as well as cities, though all implementation will be focused at the city-scale. Cities were considered in accordance withtheir will for low-carbon development, development targets, capacity status, replication ability, and assistance needed from CSLCC. In Hunan province, CSLCC will cooperate with the provincial Development and Reform Committee (DRC) to develop a city cluster low-carbon development plan to support the Hunan Provincial Low Carbon Development Five-Year Action Plan (2016-2020), while in Qingdao the CSLCC team will work together with the city DRC to develop a roadmap for City-Level GHG Emission Peaking by the end of 2020.

The great initiative shown by these Chinese local leaders is motivated and echoed by the Chinese central government. China announced its progressive GHG reduction targets two years ago through the U.S-China Joint Presidential Announcement on Climate Change, and has initiated several low-carbon cities pilot plans since then. Local leaders and practitioners must achieve swift results in guiding their unprecedented regional urbanization into climate-smart, low-carbon pathways.

To support these local climate leaders to achieve their goals, after the selection of four city partners, the CSLCC project team will then work together with local practitioners to assess key objectives and capacity needs of each city in relation to their low-carbon plans. The CLSCC project will provide an international exchange platform to connect local leaders with their international peers with similar low-carbon agendas and experiences. In 18 months, the CSLCC project will facilitate technical assistance, peer-to-peer learning, and capacity building support on GHG inventory development, low-carbon action plan development, low-carbon transportation system development, and sustainable energy management for the local climate leaders in accordance with their needs.


NCSC is an institution directly affiliated with NDRC, and is a focal point for national strategy study and international cooperation on climate change. NCSC provides policy and technical support for decision-making of the Government of China on addressing climate change, and climate-related international negotiation and cooperation.


ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. The organization’s mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build better communities. ICMA identifies leading practices to address the needs of local governments and professionals serving communities globally.


An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 25 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. ISC’s programs are designed to facilitate peer learning and engagement among local leaders charged with the work of making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led 103 projects in 30 countries, and currently works in China, India, Bangladesh and the United States.


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. USAID is an independent government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. Leveraging India’s growing financial and human resources, USAID is harnessing the strengths and capabilities of both countries to tackle development challenges not only in India, but worldwide. In all sectors of its activities, USAID builds private sector partnerships to foster in-country sustainability and ownership, with a focus on issues such as health, urban water and sanitation, food security, climate change, early grade reading, and women’s empowerment as a cross-cutting issue.