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Local level actions are crucial for achieving energy-saving and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Yet it is challenging to implement new policies and actions due to a lack of information, funding, and capacity. This is particularly the case in developing countries such as China. Even though national energy intensity and carbon intensity targets have been set, most local governments do not have the knowledge regarding actions to achieve the targets, the cost-effectiveness of policies, the possible impact of policies, or how to design and implement a climate action plan.
This paper describes a guidebook that was developed to motivate and provide local governments in China with information to create an action plan to tackle climate change and increase energy efficiency. It provides a simple step-by-step description of how action plans can be established and essential elements to be included—from preparing a GHG emission inventory to implementation of the plan. The guidebook also provides a comprehensive list of successful policies and best practices found internationally and in China to encourage low carbon development in industry, buildings, transportation, electric power generation, agriculture and forestry.
This paper also presents indicators that can be used to define low-carbon development, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken at an aggregated (city) level, and at a sectoral or end use level. The guidebook can also be used for low carbon development by local governments in other developing countries.