Gathering for the first time in Chongqing, China, members of the World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities were joined by a comprehensive range of industry experts, businesses, and others interested in the development of low-carbon and sustainability focused technologies, services, and research. This marked the Alliance’s 10th bi-annual forum and its first in 2016. The forum was themed “City Innovation and Cooperation”, directing attention to the evolving role of the world’s urban environments in combating climate change as the rising tide of urbanization threatens to lead to ever higher peaks in emissions levels.
The forum explored the impacts and relevance of this theme in the context of five crucial areas for sustainability: Health and retirement services, Renewable and new energy, Urban development, Smart and green manufacturing, Logistics and networks. Building on the two days of insightful lectures and discussions that took place at the forum, the Alliance’s Co-Vice-Chairman Dr. Johan Wallin delivered the forum’s closing address. In his address, Dr. Wallin brought together some of the core ideas expressed through these various perspectives, suggesting what the Alliance can learn from them in planning how it best influence future development. Dr. Wallin summed up the various ideas along three key groups of activities: Top Level Design, Pilots and Demonstrations, and Speeding up Learning and Disseminating Results.
The development of the world’s cities fuels vast investments in new infrastructure and design projects, including national directives such as China’s “One Belt, One Road” program and the development of core elements of our societies, such as health care and public transport systems, to establishing new low-carbon building standards, and reforming our manufacturing industries. In this interest, Wallin suggested the Alliance should work actively with institutions involved in these projects, offering its support as an advisor and a source of expert information. Bringing about the changes necessary to achieve emissions reductions requires extensive research and testing. Practical pilots and demonstrations are a crucial step in this process, Dr. Wallin sees a key role for the Alliance in helping realize these projects by partnering with the central organization to drive the pilot and orchestrate the ecosystem. Among the key areas for piloting and demonstrations, Dr. Wallin mentioned carbon trading (with pilots in seven cities), developing Public-Private-Partnership models, models for taxi services, carbon sink index cities, supporting citizen engaging, and continuing electric vehicle pilots.
Finally, Dr. Wallin closed by emphasizing the significance of the Alliance’s own role in facilitating learning and the dissemination of novel research results. Dr. Wallin believed the Alliance must make an active effort to raise its profile, finding ways in which to better serve its members and the research and business communities as well as societies at large. The key tools and means of achieving this influence includes the Alliance bi-annual world forums, project with individual members, dialogues with its Diamond members, its communication platforms (newsletters, websites, etc.), research projects and published reports, as well as through other public appearances. Dr. Wallin and the Alliance’s other Vice Chairmen Professor Kong Ying will work out a plan for realizing these goals and present it at the Alliance’s upcoming autumn forum in Turku, Finland, October 5-6.