Projections suggest that cities have contributed to 75 percent of carbon emissions. To tackle climate change in cities, technology is not our only concern. Addressing this problem also entails cost accounting and a balance in governing patterns—it requires our efforts in both the economy and policy-making. As the world is still facing the macro environmental influence of fighting the virus, pursuing carbon neutrality can also be considered a path towards sustainable development and green recovery.

At the Leaders Summit on Climate in April 2021, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “The trillions of dollars needed for COVID-19 recovery is money we are borrowing from future generations. We cannot use these resources to lock in policies that burden them with a mountain of debt on a broken planet.” What does the goal of carbon neutrality really mean for economic development? Nobel Laureate in Economics William Nordhaus wrote in his paper at the Copenhagen Consensus on Climate 2009:

“Set forth a list of questions that should be factored in when formulating political and economic strategies on containing climate change:

  1. How will climate change affect both economic and non-economic market activities?
  2. Lower the cost.
  3. Map out the scale of emission reduction and the timing of implementing it while weighing profits and costs.
  4. Asymmetric risk and that of irreversible damage.
  5. Policy tools required for the above actions.”

Against such a background, we selected four articles that present visions and challenges in the journey toward carbon neutrality from the perspectives of global cities, the development of the economy, and policy innovation.


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