Future Cities Advisory Outlook 2023

Advancing the realization of the “Dual Carbon” goals has become a global consensus. Approximately 120 countries have committed to achieving “carbon neutrality” by 2050, with some developed countries and small and medium-sized economies, mainly in the service sector, having already reached “carbon peak.” In November 2022, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) called for the transition of commitments into concrete actions to collectively address climate change challenges. However, the world still faces severe climate change challenges, including greenhouse gas emissions, rising sea levels, warnings about ocean conditions, impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, geopolitical issues, and energy crises affecting climate action. The challenge of achieving urban net-zero carbon is urgent, but global progress in energy transition is limited, and efforts in climate change adaptation planning and support are insufficient. The development of digital technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and 5G provides opportunities for countries worldwide to undergo digital transition, facilitating the advancement of the digital economy and governance models. The key to achieving the “Dual Carbon” goals lies in addressing the uncertainties in economic activities and emission reduction paths. Digital technology can overcome issues of information asymmetry, inadequate data, and insufficient predictive capabilities, providing full-cycle support for carbon optimization, management, and trading. It helps match supply and demand and ensures efficiency in supporting urban net-zero carbon transition. However, digital technology faces critical challenges in addressing climate change, including fragmented applications, lack of global coordination, digital divides, data privacy and security, and the high carbon emissions associated with digital infrastructure. Effectively promoting the transition and operation of net-zero carbon cities has become a crucial current issue.

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