Energy-Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Policy Options: Assisting Chinese Cities in Prioritizing and Choosing Strategies to Implement to Become a Sustainable Community
Myriad energy-efficiency and greenhouse gas mitigation policy options are available for urban communities to reduce energy use and emissions from buildings, transportation systems, industries, utilities, public lighting, water and wastewater, and solid waste disposal. This paper describes a methodology to assist urban community planners and policymakers in China to prioritize and choose strategies to implement for their particular situation. The methodology was developed for use in a dynamic decision-making tool, the Benchmarking and Energy-Saving Tool for Low Carbon Cities (BEST-Cities), which was specifically designed for urban communities in China but which could be used internationally. The methodology builds on concepts from other urban low-carbon planning tools, but augments them to address specific Chinese conditions and needs. The methodology starts by conducting a simple inventory of energy use by end-use sector, which is then converted by the tool into units of carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Next, Key Performance Indicators are calculated and the tool benchmarks the city to other cities, providing an indication of the energy saving and emissions reduction potential for each end-use sector as a first step for policy prioritization. Then the level of authority and capacity of the city in terms of financial and human resources and enforcement is self-assessed since these are also important inputs for policy prioritization. The tool then provides Chinese planners and policy-makers with a menu of policies and measures prioritized by sector based on the identified energy and emissions reduction potential and distinguished by speed of implementation, carbon savings potential, and first cost to the government. Planners and policymakers then prioritize the policy options based on their specific criteria and needs.