Experts call for ecological protection in urban planning

Updated 2016-12-28 14:12:36

Chinese architectural experts are calling for more ecological protection and pursuit of a green lifestyle in the process of urban planning in the face of incessant smoggy weather in major Chinese cities recently and worrying increased global warming.

Protecting and restoring the ecological system should run through the whole process of urban planning, said Wang Guangtao, former head of China's construction ministry, during the Urban Ecology and Energy Conservation Forum on Dec. 26.

"Only through weighing on whether [any aspect of urban planning] meets certain concepts or standards, can we really protect the ecological system while ensuring rapid urban development," said Wang, who is also chairman of the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee under the National People's Congress.

In mid-December, almost one-ninth of China's national territory was smothered by thick smog, with some cities' AQI running off the chart, meaning particulate matter concentration of PM 2.5 exceeding 500 micrograms per cubic meter. A total of 23 cities issued red alerts for smog last week.

Last September, the National People's Congress ratified the Paris climate change agreement, requiring a cut in carbon emissions by 60 to 65% per unit of GDP by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels), and boosting use of non-fossil fuels to account for 20% of energy consumption.

President Xi Jinping said China would continue to confront the causes of climate change and environmental degradation and vowed to close polluting coal mines and steel mills as part of that effort.

To reach the target, China needs to cut both the concentration and total amount of its energy consumption, said Jiang Yi, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineers.

With regard to urban planning, "China needs to promote a green lifestyle and efficient use of energy in buildings," he said.

In this regard, Wang Youwei, consulting chief engineer of China Academy of Building Research said green building had become the trend of urban development.

He called for strong adoption of the concept of green building and even "net zero building" in infrastructure development during his keynote speech.

The forum, held biannually in Beijing and Shanghai in rotation, aims to explore ways for urban development while ensuring ecological and environmental protection and provide a scientific decision-making basis for government agencies.

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