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Guangdong Special: Guangdong paves the way for low-carbon growth

Updated: 2014-05-22 07:02
By Zhan Lisheng ( China Daily)

The provincial government of Guangdong signed an agreement with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development in Guangzhou last year to turn Guangdong into the nation's first model province for developing a low-carbon economy and eco-cities by the year 2020.

Local officials said the agreement showed the province is on track to be the nation's pilot for sustainable development.

According to the agreement, the provincial government and the ministry will forge closer ties to upgrade urban and rural planning, improve urban infrastructure and carry out green programs.

 Guangdong Special: Guangdong paves the way for low-carbon growth

Guangdong has pooled hefty investment for green infrastructure construction in recent years. Provided to China Daily

Guangdong's move to develop low-carbon growth and eco-cities came in response to a call by the central government's urbanization work conference, which was held in Beijing at the end of 2013, to promote low-carbon, recyclable development.

The local government plans for Guangdong to outdo its counterparts in the low-carbon development and construction of eco-cities, especially in the quality of urbanization, energy efficiency and environmental protection.

"Actually, to help Guangdong become a model province we need to address today's emerging challenges," said Wang Peng, director-general of Guangdong's housing and urban-rural development department.

Wang said there were several challenges including the dwindling natural and ecological area and inefficient energy consumption.

Local legislators plan to develop an effective legal system for low-carbon and eco-city developments and governments at various levels are due to strengthen administration in these fields by including key environmental indicators in urban and rural planning, he said.

Wang said the indicators include quota of power consumption in production, the ratio of green areas in housing projects and the number of "green" facilities for the public.

The official said both the province and local-level governments would increase budgets for ecological restoration and improvement projects.

He said more than 20 billion yuan ($3.2 billion) from various levels of governments and other entities would be used to fund the sectors.

According to the official, Guangdong's recent development in the eco-city field was the construction of greenway.

Shaded by trees on both sides and designed for pedestrians and cyclists only, the greenway is part of the government's move towards a healthier, low-carbon and more natural lifestyle.

During the past few years, the province built 9,481 kilometers of greenway, which is the most in the nation, according to Wang.

To date, a total of 160 construction projects with floor space of about 16.6 million square meters have been officially recognized as "green", according to local statistics.

Guangzhou and Shenzhen were approved by the State Council as the nation's low-carbon pilot cities. The Guangming new district of Shenzhen entered the list of China's first ecological districts, according to Wang.

The official said the recent development of eco-cities in Guangdong won praise from international experts.

During his recent visit to Guangdong, Vincent Nadin, professor of planning at Delf University of Technology in the Netherlands, gave a thumbs-up to the province's innovative eco-city planning in urban and rural development.

The professor suggested that the province should learn from cross-border planning in Western Europe and keep the urban and rural planning in different regions well coordinated in the province.


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