Green and low-carbon represent the trend of the times and currently, all countries in the world are seeking sustainable development. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Central Committee has placed the construction of ecological civilization in a strategic position in the “Five-in-One” overall layout for socialism with Chinese characteristics and made the significant decision for building a beautiful China. The Party Committee and Municipal Government of Shenzhen has conscientiously implemented the decisions and arrangements of the Central Committee and Guangdong Provincial Committee on strengthening the construction of ecological civilization, made efforts to construct the green and low-carbon economic system and comprehensively promote green transport, green buildings and green life to constantly improve the green content of development. During the “12th Five-Year” period, while maintaining its economic growth at medium and high speed and making its economic aggregate break through RMB1.75 trillion, Shenzhen accumulatively reduced its energy and water consumption per RMB10,000 GDP by 19.5% and 44.7%. Its intensity of energy and water consumption was about 60% and one ninth of the national level, and its emissions of COD, ammonia nitrogen, SO2 and oxynitrides accumulatively dropped by 45.8%, 37%, 43.5% and 23.8%. In 2016, it further reduced the energy and water consumption per RMB10,000 GDP by 4.1% and 8.9%, its emissions of COD, ammonia nitrogen, SO2 and oxynitrides respectively dropped by 8.6%, 5.2%, 10.2% and 3.4%, and its mean concentration of PM2.5 was 27 micrograms/m3, a drop of 10%. In these aspects, Shenzhen continued taking the lead among domestic cities and accomplished the “dual improvement” in economic quality and ecological quality.
During 2005-2015, Shenzhen’s low-carbon development mode was transformed from the “mode of giving priority to energy structure adjustment and cyclic economy” during the “11th Five-Year” period to the mode of “promoting joint emissions at both supply and demand ends through innovation” during the “12th Five-Year” period. Such change coincided with the international background and national situation at that time. Guided by the “mode of promoting joint emissions at both supply and demand ends through innovation”, Shenzhen had gradually formed more clear-cut and reliable path of green and low-carbon development and carried out pioneering practice in all the fields: taking the system as the low-carbon cornerstone, following the top-level design of urban low-carbon planning and intensified land use and relying on clean energy as low-carbon guarantee, respectively cut down the energy demand of the troika, i.e. industry, transport and architecture, carry out environmental governance to produce coordinative effect, mainly conduct the pilot of pioneering low-carbon demonstration, flexibly use the market mechanism and improve the market behaviors, and publicize the low-carbon concept to guide the general public’s involvement and foster the low-carbon atmosphere among all the people.
Guided by the above mode and path, Shenzhen took the lead in exploring green and low carbon and has made outstanding achievements. Shenzhen has issued the Medium and Long-Term Plan of Shenzhen for Low-Carbon Development (2011-2020), delimited China’s first ecological control line and launched China’s first carbon trading market. It is one of the Chinese cities with the highest economic output per unit area and with the most powerful capability of innovation and entrepreneurship, and it is also China’s largest and most powerful city in terms of the scale and clustering of the emerging industries of strategic importance. Its carbon emission per RMB10,000 GDP is of the lowest level among China’s big cities, its per capita carbon emission intensity has been lower than that of Singapore and Taiwan and its air quality has steadily kept the best among the 19 cities at vice-provincial and above levels. “Shenzhen Blue” has become its beautiful green card.
Picture 1: Shenzhen’s Blue Sky, Sea and Greenbelt
I. The pioneering system has become the low-carbon cornerstone. Shenzhen has persisted in making laws first and successively issued 18 rules and regulations including the Regulations of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on Promoting Cyclic Economy, the Regulations of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on Building Energy Efficiency and Some Provisions of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone on the Management of Carbon Emissions, which cover city planning, economic and industrial development, architecture, transport, waste, water resources, ecological environment, carbon emissions and carbon trading and form a set of well-established regulatory system for promoting low-carbon development.
II. Taking the compact and clustered style of city planning and intensified land use as the top-level design. Shenzhen has stuck to the compact city planning, clustered layout and low-impact development and classified one half of its land as basic ecological control line (area). In 2016, its forest coverage was 40.92% and its per capita area of public green space was 16.45 square meters, and all its indicators ranked on the front among the medium and big cities in China. Shenzhen has made more efforts to mine the potential of the inventory land and realized the intensified and compact use of land. Its GDP per unit land area increased by 293% from RMB249 million/km2 in 2005 to RMB978 million/km2 in 2016, and its general public budget revenue per unit land area increased by 660% from RMB21 million/km2 in 2005 to RMB157 million/km2 in 2016.
Picture 2: Realistic Picture of the Renovated Caiwuwei
(Shenzhen Central Financial District)
III. Clean energy providing convoy for low-carbon development. During the “12th Five-Year” period, Shenzhen further reinforced the introduction of natural gas, external power and other clean energy, accelerated the development of new and renewable energy sources, comprehensively carried out the project of “changing oil to gas” for the original oil-fed generators, and accumulatively shut down 1.758 million kilowatts of small oil-fed generator units. Since the “11th Five-Year” period, Shenzhen has shut down about 2.88 million kilowatts of thermal power units, overfulfilling the shutdown task given by the state.
In 2010-2015, in the structure of primary energy consumption, coal and oil consumption continued dropping, the proportion of clean energy such as natural gas and electric power increased by 6.7%, and Shenzhen’s energy consumption structure had been continuously optimized. By the end of 2015, Shenzhen had newly constructed about 5 million kilowatts of clean energy such as nuclear and gas power and its total installed capacity had been up to 13.06 million kilowatts, in which the installed capacity of nuclear and gas power accounted for over 85%. The proportion of clean power supply drastically increased to 90.5% of all the power consumption in Shenzhen, doubling the average level nationwide.
IV. Making efforts to develop low-carbon industries. In 2016, Shenzhen’s added value of the primary industry was RMB629 million, a drop of 3.7%; its added value of the secondary industry was RMB770.043 billion, a growth of 7.0%; and its added value of the tertiary industry was RMB1178.588 billion, a growth of 10.4%. In the recent 5 years, it has eliminated and transformed more than 16,000 low-end backward enterprises. In 2016, Shenzhen realized the added value of RMB784.77 billion in the emerging industries of strategic importance, a growth of 10.6% and accounting for 40.3% of its GDP, and it has become the largest and most powerful city in terms of the scale and clustering of the emerging industries of strategic importance. The energy consumption per unit industrial added value was 0.598 tons of standard coal in 2005, 0.492 tons of standard coal in 2010, and 0.241 tons of standard coal in 2015, showing a steady downtrend. The proportion of such decline had accumulatively been up to 59.70%, which was higher than the decline of energy consumption per RMB10, 000 GDP and illustrated that Shenzhen had made notable achievements in the development of the low-carbon industry as a whole.
V. Vigorously constructing the low-carbon traffic network. The share ratio of public transport motorization increased from 44.30% in 2010 to 56.10% in 2015 in Shenzhen, an increase of 26.64%. Since 2010, the overage of bus stops within 500 meters inside the original SEZ has been 100% and the coverage of bus stops within 500 meters outside the original SEZ had increased from 81% in 2010 to 94.96% in 2015, an increase of 17.23%. In 2016, Shenzhen successively opened and put into operation Subway Lines 7, 9 and 11, and its daily average passenger capacity of rail transit was about 3.54 million person-times in 2016, an increase of 15.3% on a yearly basis.
As one of the first demonstration cities for the application and promotion of new-energy automobiles, Shenzhen has become the city with the highest ownership and use volume of new-energy automobiles in the world and in 2014, won the “Global Urban Traffic Leader Award in the“C40 & Siemens City Climate Leader Award”. As at July 31, 2017, Shenzhen has accumulatively promoted 14695 purely electric buses, representing a purely electric rate of 90%. Except for a small number of non-purely electric buses serving for emergency transport capacity, it is predicted that 100% of buses in Shenzhen will be purely electric in September 2017. Shenzhen has constructed a total of 176 public transport charging stations and 3354 charging piles, and 1265 charging piles are under construction, and it has set up the Shenzhen Demonstration Base for Application of New-Energy Automobiles in the Public Transport Industry at the bus charging station of Futian transport junction. Shenzhen has promoted 7030 electric taxis, accounting for 30.58% of the total number of taxies operating in Shenzhen, and by the end of 2020, all the taxes will be updated as electric automobiles.
Shenzhen has taken the lead in the construction of green port. As at August 31, 2016, all the 429 gantry cranes at the Port of Shenzhen had been driven with electric power or hybrid power, which thoroughly changed the situation of high oil consumption and high pollution from RTG. Shekou Container Wharf has become the first global port that promotes the use of purely electric automobiles at the port area.
Picture 3: Real Electric Taxis
Picture 4: Real Electric Buses
VI. Promoting the regional and scale development of green buildings. Shenzhen is a pioneering city in green buildings in China. By the end of March 2017, it had accumulatively constructed more than 13,500 m2 of green buildings, its total area of green buildings had exceeded 58 million m2, and accounting for about 10% 1 of China’s total area of green buildings, and its 8 projects had won the National Green Building Innovation Award. Currently, Shenzhen is one of the Chinese cities with the largest construction scale and density of green buildings and winning the largest number of green building evaluation identifier projects and green building innovation awards. Pingshan Leibo Industrial Plant, the first industrial green building of Shenzhen, won the national two-star Green Building Evaluation Identifier, thus making the “breakthrough of zero” in its industrial green building projects.
Picture 5: Longyueju—the First Affordable Residential Area Constructed according to Green Building Standards in Shenzhen
Picture 6: Shenzhen’s First Green Industrial Building—Pingshan Leibo Industrial Plant
As at May 2017, Shenzhen has applied for 187 energy performance contracting projects for energy-saving renovation of public buildings, and has completed 167 of them and renovated an area of more than 8.62 million m2. The area of buildings using solar hot water has exceeded 24 million m2, and the solar photovoltaic installed capacity has been up to 48 megawatts in Shenzhen.
VII. The coordinative effect of ecological environment becoming notable. In 2005-2016, the daily mean values o f SO2, NO2 and inhalable particles in the air of Shenzhen had presented a downtrend on the whole. Its air quality had been at the best level among the big cities in the Chinese mainland, and Shenzhen blue had become a normal. In 2016, the mean concentration of inhalable particles (PM10) and fine particles (PM2.5) in the air of Shenzhen was respectively 42 micrograms/m3 and 27 micrograms/m3. The number of days when its air quality index (AQI) was up to National Grade I (excellent) and Grade II (good) was 354, with the excellent and good rate being 96.7%. The number of the dust-haze days continuously dropped, and it was 27 days in 2016, a drop of 160 days than in 2004, representing a drop rate of 85.6%.
VIII. The demonstration effect of low-carbon pilot becoming prominent. As the flagship project for China-Europe sustainable urbanization cooperation, Shenzhen International Low-Carbon City (ILCC) was officially launched in 2012. In 2014, Shenzhen ILCC became one of ten models for China’s new-type urbanization and won the “2014 Sustainable Development Planning Project Award” jointly sponsored by China Center for International Economic Exchanges and the US Paulson Institute. It became the only project that won this Award. With the advantages in its low-carbon development mode and due to its replicability and generalizabilty, the project has got recognized in the field of low-carbon ecological city (district) planning. In 2015, Shenzhen ILCC was selected as one of the first national pilot low-carbon cities (towns) and ranked No.1 among the 8 pilot cities (towns). Since 2013, Shenzhen ILCC Forum been has consecutively held for five sessions and aroused great echoes at home and abroad.
Picture 7: Bird’s Eye View of Shenzhen ILCC Convention Center
IX. The carbon trading market being highly active and innovative. After 4 years of construction and development as the pilot, Shenzhen Carbon Trading Market has created many China’s firsts: China’s first carbon market, China’s first construction center for carbon market capability, China’s first issuance of “carbon bond”, China’s first carbon trading platform open to overseas investors, the launching of China’s first private carbon fund, China’s first green structural deposit, the number of enterprises performing contract in the carbon market ranking the first among China’s pilot carbon trading provinces (cities), and China’s first carbon market with gross turnover exceeding RMB one trillion. As at June 30, 2017, Shenzhen Carbon Market had a total volume of 20.56 million tons and a gross turnover of RMB6.58 billion, respectively accounting for 15.5% and 23.38% of the 7 pilot carbon markets. Shenzhen ranked the second in the accumulative turnover among those 7 pilot carbon markets, next only to Hubei. In 2017, its performance rate was 99% and the number of the units controlling the performance ranked the first among pilot provinces and cities. This has been close or equal to the performance rate in the international mature carbon market, which is beyond expectations.
X. Preliminarily fostering the low-carbon atmosphere among all the people. Shenzhen has many organizations related to low carbon. In November 2016, Shenzhen Green Building Association held the Green Building Exhibition themed with “Green Guidance and Innovative Construction” at the 18th China International High-Technology Achievements Fair. In October 2016, Shenzhen Carbon Emission Right Exchange and other institutions held the Second National “Two-Innovation” Week for low-carbon public good publicity activities and the low-carbon public good event themed with “Carbon Road for All People”. The urban residents participating in the “Carbon Road for All People” could obtain low-carbon credits through low-carbon actions and ways such as travelling by public transport or on foot. In March 2017, the Green & Low-Carbon Development Foundation together with Shenzhen Human Settlements and Environment Commission, Shenzhen Education Bureau and Shenzhen Committee of China Communist Youth League jointly held the “2017 Environmental Protection Festival for Teenagers”, which attracted the involvement of about 1200 persons. This event set up many environmental protection publicity projects to convey the low-carbon life concept by combining education with recreation.
Picture 8: Scene of the Green Building Exhibition at the 18th China International High-Technology Achievements Fair
Picture 9: Public Good Event of “Carbon Road for All People”
Picture 10: Low-Carbon Food Exhibition
at 2017 Environmental Protection Festival for Teenagers