Global warming has been a big issue of concern affecting from the local level to the internal level. Global warming has posed a significant threat to both humans and biodiversity therefore, global warming has been a polarizing issue that needs urgent and efficient intervention. Greenhouse gases emission has been identified to be the major causes of global warming and the need to mitigate these greenhouse gases emission is critical (Un-Habitat, 2011). China has become one of the largest greenhouse gas producers worldwide. Specifically, Beijing Municipality has been one of the contributors to global warming and the efforts to mitigate global warming have intensified within Beijing Municipality. Therefore, this paper analyzes the municipal level strategies to mitigate global warming in Beijing Municipality.
Global warming mitigation responses in Beijing Municipality
Policies and regulations
The debate on global warming mitigation responses in Beijing Municipality has been based on a political perspective. It is therefore reported that focus has been placed on minimizing greenhouse gas emissions through climate governance and policy by directly working hand in hand with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Beijing Municipal Development and also with the Reform Commission (BMDRC) which are the main city government agencies in charge of global warming-associated policies and response actions involving energy intensity reduction initiatives (Teng & Gu, 2007). They have come up with programs to increase energy efficiency such as The Green Lighting Programme which provides energy-efficient and saving lighting systems in Beijing Municipality. This is a good initiative that helps in minimizing greenhouse gases emission. However, such programs do not efficiently solve the issue of global warming. They only minimize the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. Global warming has become a big threat and there is a significant need to stop it fully rather than just minimizing its impacts (Zhang et al., 2015). These urgencies should instead restructure the programs to focus on zero greenhouse gases emission.
However, the strength of Beijing Municipality towards mitigating global warming is through the establishment of the 2007 Beijing Council for Promoting Environmental Protection and Energy Saving aimed at assisting energy intensity industries through the provision of training, assessment of energy-saving technologies as well as offering support to the transfer of innovative technology (Li & Song, 2016). The greatest weakness of Beijing Municipality is that, despite having all these agencies and programs or initiatives as their strategy to address the issue of global warming, they do not have specific policies focused on global warming. Instead, these programs and agencies are guided by policies which are focused on improving energy efficiency, promoting the use of renewable energy, encouraging a recycling economy as well as ensuring sustainable development. To ensure effective mitigation of global warming, policies solely focused on global warming ought to have been established.
Shifting energy usage to renewable energy
Another dominant trend in global warming research supports that shifting energy usage to using renewable energy is a working strategy that significantly helps in mitigating global warming and the Beijing Municipality has adopted and applied this strategy (Li & Song, 2016). Beijing Municipality has already tried to its energy system through the reduction of coal usage and substituting it with cleaner energies like natural gas, wind energy, geothermal energy as well as district heating networks. Beijing has been importing natural gas from other provinces such as Shanxi and Ningxia and the use of natural gas has significantly increased. A significant strength that Beijing Municipality has in ensuring the shift to natural gas and energy consumption as a way of combating global warming is facilitated by the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau which actually started a ten-year program for controlling coal-fired equipment in order to minimize air pollution (Wan, Li, Pan, & Lam, 2012). This project has spearheaded the efforts of shifting from coal energy use to renewable energy thus helping in mitigating global warming. However, mobilizing the public to shift from coal-energy use to renewable energy tends not to be that effective. As the bureau controls coal-fired equipment it needs to provide alternative equipment for the public to use. Essentially, in China, renewable energy use accounts for a smaller percentage of energy use in Beijing. The public themselves may have difficulty of accessing or exploiting renewable energy such as geothermal energy. Rather than just mobilizing people to shift to renewable energy, the Beijing municipality should increase the development of clean and renewable energy sources. Availability and easy access to renewable energy will significantly help in mitigating global warming.
Increase energy efficiency
Certain experts Li and Song found the increase in energy efficiency to be Beijing municipal’s main strategy in dealing with energy shortage as well as local environmental pollution. It was determined to be the most effective strategy in reducing greenhouse gases in Beijing in the transport, building and industrial sectors. One strength that Beijing Municipality has is by acting as an example by beginning with government offices in the energy conservation initiative in 2005 whereby fifty-four governmental departments minimized their consumption by approximately eleven per cent by means of energy-saving behaviour as well as renovating buildings (Li & Song, 2016). By beginning with the government in applying this strategy, it contributes to its success. Moreover, the municipality has established a “Green Lighting Programme” which has been existing for a long aimed at promoting a lighting system that is more efficient and energy-saving for the whole city (Li & Song, 2016). Normal lights were replaced with energy-efficient light.
It is determined that industrial energy conservation tends to be an essential sector for alleviating energy efficiency as well as promoting carbon reduction. Therefore, Beijing has undertaken several activities entailing shutting down companies with high energy consumption rate and also restricting those businesses being developed that have high energy consumption and eradication of outdated and old equipment which consume high a lot of energy (The demand for global and local environmental protection, 2018). As much as this strategy and measure made seem to be lucrative, adequate and precise policies to enforce these strategies and initiatives. Specifically, the eradication of old and outdated equipment strategy tends to be less practical and effective. It is difficult to eradicate all outdated equipment entirely. Therefore, a systematic approach to follow in order to ensure that all old and outdated equipment is removed and replaced with new and energy-efficient equipment. However, some old equipment may be unreplaceable and therefore may end up not being removed from society.
Notably, another sector of energy saving is the transportation sector, by conforming to strict vehicle fuel efficiency standards, promotes clean vehicle technologies as well as advanced urban transportation infrastructure. For instance, to enhance air quality as well as to minimize the traffic during the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing Municipality obtained rapid bus transit systems as well as eight subway lines (Zhang et al., 2015). Use of public transport increased significantly thus minimising air pollution from a high number of vehicles. Additionally, Beijing Municipality also encourages small vehicles that are energy efficient by minimizing their national consumption tax rates. This approach is appropriate and effective since people tend to prefer purchasing such cars mainly because they are affordable to purchase and maintain and at the same time minimise the rate of air pollution.
Public education and awareness
Another significant area of global warming research has emphasized the significance of public education and awareness in order to effectively mitigate global warming challenges. Beijing Municipality has been focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions so as to mitigate global warming. It is reported that one of the greatest actions to mitigation of global warming in Beijing is public education awareness. Mostly, non-governmental organizations have taken this course and effectively educate and inform the public about global warming and ways to overcome it (Teng & Gu, 2007). A notable strength of NGOs is through conducting numerous campaigns such as ‘Friends of Nature’ have been initiated focusing on traits of people’s behaviours that contribute to carbon reduction. However, some people think that public education and awareness is not an effective way to achieve effective mitigation of global warming suppose it lacks mentorship and role models, for instance, the Municipal Council of Beijing who acts as a good example in reducing greenhouse gases.
Public education can also be ineffective due to a lack of public will or even due to political rivalry between the citizens against the ruling political party in government. Despite the NGOs having been given the mandate to conduct public education in Beijing Municipality, they have a limited role in influencing climate global warming policies and initiatives (Wan et al., 2012). This is a setback to public education since the NGOs are not included in climate change and global warming policies. NGOs and those undertaking public education get firsthand information and experiences of the people which are important in facilitating the establishment of proper and effective policies that will help in mitigating global warming.
To sum up, based on the analysis above, it is evident that Beijing Municipality is making massive intense energy reduction efforts as it strives to mitigate global warming. Beijing municipality seems to focus more on energy efficiency enhancement, energy structure alteration as well as the development of energy. In terms of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, Beijing should continue investing in renewable energy, public education aimed at changing human behaviour and also public transport infrastructure. Additionally, environmental conservation policies need to be restructured to focus more on solving the global warming issue.