First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China


Holistic planning approach to green growth in Hefei is paying dividends, with economic growth and emissions decoupling.

Since receiving the status of a low-carbon pilot city in early 2017, Hefei is putting into action 170 programs to stimulate green growth beginning in 2018. Worth CNY371 billion, the programs cover seven emerging industries and three traditional sectors, from manufacturing to artificial intelligence. The city will use improved carbon data management and improved financing options to target green building, smart transport, pollution control, among others.


The Hefei High Tech Zone is at the heart of the city’s low-carbon ambitions. One example of a smart initiative here is the integrated pipe gallery project, that improves water management in the area. This is one of the many projects that have contributed to Hefei’s recently awarded status as an “adaptive city with resilience.” In this coal-rich region of the PRC, Hefei has been shifting towards renewable energy production, with a 6.4% increase from 2010 to 2015. In addition to this, Hefei’s economic blueprint has placed emphasis on reducing carbon emissions, and 14.4% of the city’s energy consumption is now clean energy, 6.4% higher than in 2010.

Climate_Hefei new energy auto - using robot
Hefei is a pioneer city in promoting seven strategic emerging industries and in retrofitting three pillared traditional sectors: electric appliances, automotive, and machinery (photo by Ant Financial).

The Challenge

With a fast-growing population and economic growth, Hefei, like many other PRC cities, faces risks from environmental damage and high energy and resource use. By including carbon as a restraint to economic development, and championing data management, the city is on a track towards more sustainable growth.


Economic Hefei has jumped on the opportunities presented by the low-carbon industry, significantly reducing carbon emissions and energy intensity while increasing GDP.

Environment  Pollution control is central to the retrofitting of traditional industry in Hefei’s strategy, and reduced energy intensity is decreasing the demand for coal-fired power in the region.

Social The Chao Lake area of the city, which has many struggling communities, is one focus area of the strategy, bringing more sustainable jobs to workers.