Bracing for climate change: NDRC launches the world’s largest climate change pilot scheme

With new commitment from NDRC, China's cities will lead climate change resilience

With new government commitment, 28 developing Chinese cities will lead climate change resilience and adaptation

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has named 28 cities from Hohhot to Haikou as pilot “Climate Adaptive Cities”, with a fast-paced agenda to bring climate change into the highest levels of urban policy and planning.

The pilot cities, covering a population of almost 100 million, will become, the NDRC hopes, replicable and international examples of climate resilience, developing expertise in weather forecasting, weather event monitoring and early warning and disaster mitigation, as well as more traditional “climate change” activities such as green buildings and transport planning.

“At present, the issue of adaptation to climate change has not yet been included in the agenda of the development of urban construction in China,” says the NDRC, admitting problems such as lack of knowledge, weak foundations and imperfect institutional mechanism. “China’s urban adaptation to climate change in general is still in the initial stage of exploration: there is an urgent need to strengthen from the national level, design skills, policy guidance and to encourage innovation.”

The 28 vanguard cities were selected according to climate type, regional characteristics and development stage: with an average population is around 3.4 million, the largest is Dalian and the smallest Korla City.

As pilot Climate Adaptive cities, climate change will now play a central role in the whole process of urban planning and management, according to the NDRC. The pilot scheme is ambitious in its timeframe, with the NDRC expecting significant results by 2020.

Key activities will include:

  1. innovation in urban planning and construction concepts to analyse the main problems and impacts of climate change; development of climate change risk assessment to modify and improve urban planning;
  2. development of weather monitoring and early warning systems, including meteorological disaster monitoring and early warning platform construction; also improve emergency response and social response
  3. city adaption: optimise the layout of urban infrastructure, design and construction for extreme weather such as heavy rainfall, high temperatures, drought, typhoons, freezing and haze. Respond to heat-island effects and flood risks; and develop passive ultra-low-energy-consumption green buildings; revitalise old districts; enhance urban green spaces, forests, lakes and wetlands; repair city river networks;
  4. create a policy test base, improve climate change finance and taxation; use Public Private Partnerships (PPP) and other models; and
  5. create an international cooperation platform, enhancing information with foreign advanced cities.

Pilot cities are required to report progress each December to the NDRC and other ministries.

The full policy document can be found here: Notice on the issuance of pilot work on climate – adaptive urban construction


About James Ockenden (300 Articles)
Writer, journalist and sustainability consultant with a passion for clean technology and public health. 25 years covering power and energy markets: former editor of Power Plant Technology, International Power Generation, Asian Electricity, Aircraft Economics, Energy Risk, Asia Risk, Benchmark; writer for South China Morning Post, Cathay Dragon's Silkroad, APlus, Veolia's "Planet", Hong Kong Tatler; founder of Blue Skies China. MSocSc in Corporate Environmental Governance, University of Hong Kong; BA & MA degree in Natural Sciences (major in Materials Science & Metallurgy), Cambridge University.
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