Work continues on adapting cities to climate change

The Chinese government is calling for further applications to become “climate-adaptive pilot cities”, according to a 25 August notice released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), and seven other departments.

The notice aims to promote the development of cities resilient to climate change. It also urges the 28 existing pilot cities to elevate their status to “advanced pilots”. This means renewing their current adaptation strategies and consolidating lessons learned.

Following the initial release of its National Climate Adaptation Strategy (NCAS) in 2013, the central government devised the Urban Climate Adaptation Action Programme in 2016, and introduced the first batch of 28 climate-adaptive pilot cities in 2017. 

June 2022 saw the release of the revamped National Climate Adaptation Strategy (NCAS 2035), soon followed by guidelines for provinces to craft adaptation plans. More than two-thirds of provinces will have finalised their plans by the end of 2023, while the others will finish in the first quarter of next year, reports Caixin.  

Building on these policy and guidance steps, the government is now selecting the second batch of pilot cities. Compared to the first batch, which were given quite general adaptation guidance, the recent notice provides more details. 

It outlines 10 pivotal tasks for the pilot cities, five of which are mandatory. These are to: improve the city governance system; better assess climate impacts and risks; upgrade the capabilities for urban climate adaptation; refine systems for extreme weather monitoring, early warning and emergency response; and better arrange adaptation actions in different spaces of city.

The notice doesn’t specify the target number of pilot cities for this batch. But it does mention expanding to around 100 pilot cities by 2030. It also aims for every city at or above the prefecture level to be considered climate-adaptive by 2035, aligning with the time frame of NCAS 2035.

Read China Dialogue’s article on improving China’s extreme weather response.