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IFC Report Finds Smart Policy, Innovation Can Unlock Climate Investment Opportunities in Chinese Cities and Beyond

Beijing, November 29, 2018 —Smart Policy, innovation can unlock climate investment opportunities in Chinese cities and beyond, according to a new report by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
Climate Investment Opportunities in Cities analyzes cities’ climate-related targets and action plans in the six regions, identifying opportunities in priority sectors such as green buildings, public transportation, electric vehicles, waste, water, and renewable energy. It highlights innovative approaches that cities are already using—such as green bonds and public-private partnerships—to attract private capital and build urban resilience.
With more than half of the world’s population currently living in urban areas, cities consume over two- thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. How cities address climate change will be critical to efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) .
“There’s a great urgency to address climate change – we must take meaningful action now,” said IFC CEO Philippe Le Houérou. “Cities are the next frontier for climate investments, with trillions of dollars in untapped opportunities. To deliver on the promise of climate-smart cities, the public sector needs to enact reforms that are aimed at attracting more private sector financing.”
The report marks that Chinese cities are leading in the electrification of the transport sector, with support from national government policies and incentives for the electrification of public fleets that help manufacturers achieve economies of scale to make the production of private electric vehicles economically viable.
“By 2030, three in 100 people in China are expected to own a private electric vehicle, creating significant opportunities in China and the region,” said Randall Riopelle, IFC Country Manager for China, Mongolia and South Korea, “Smart policies could help cities attract private investment and build resilience. We are keen to promote such solutions, stimulating climate investments in China and other parts of the world.”
The report also highlights the adoption of innovative approaches in Chinese cities. For example, the dockless bike services have grown rapidly from Beijing, resulting in 50 million bike journeys a day and fewer cars on the road. In Shenzhen, the city adopted of the “sponge city” concept and successfully transformed itself into a water supply catchment area.
Globally, green buildings will account for $24.7 trillion of cities’ climate investment opportunities. Significant investment potential exists in low-carbon transportation solutions such as energy-efficient public transport ($1 trillion) and electric vehicles ($1.6 trillion). At the same time, clean energy ($842 billion), water ($1 trillion) and waste ($200 billion) remain essential components of sustainable urban development.
Addressing climate change is a strategic priority for IFC. Since 2005, IFC has invested $22.2 billion in long-term financing from its own account and mobilized another $15.7 billion through partnerships with investors for climate-related projects. The latest report is part of the Climate Investment Opportunities report series initiated by IFC in 2016.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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