Wuxi – a Chinese City on its Way to a Low Carbon Future
Urbanization and climate change are amongst the greatest challenges of the 21st century. In the “Low Carbon Future Cities” project (LCFC), three important problem dimensions are analysed: current and future GHG emissions and their mitigation (up to 2050), resource use and material flows and vulnerability to climate change. The industrial city of Wuxi has been the Chinese pilot city of the project. To establish the pathway for a low carbon future, it is crucial to understand the current situation and possible future developments. The paper presents the key results of the status quo analysis and the future scenario analysis carried out for Wuxi. Two scenarios are outlined. The Current Policy Scenario (CPS) shows the current most likely development in the area of energy demand and GHG emissions until 2050. Whereas the extra low carbon scenario (ELCS) assumes a significantly more ambitious implementation, it combines a market introduction of best available technologies with substantial behavioural change. All scenarios are composed of sub-scenarios for the selected key sectors. Looking at the per capita emissions in Wuxi, the current levels are already high at around 12 tonnes CO2 per capita compared to Western European cities. Although Wuxi has developed a low carbon plan, the projected results under current policies (CPS) show that the total emissions would increase to 23.6 tonnes CO2 per capita by 2050. If the ELCS pathway was to be adopted, these CO2 emission levels could be reduced to 6.4 tonnes per capita by 2050. However, this is not a problem unique to Wuxi or China. A comprehensive rethink at global level on how to increase energy and resource efficiency and sustainability is required.