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Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change, delivers a speech at the China Pavilion during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn on Nov. 13. [Photo by Li Xiaohua / China.org.cn]

An eastern Chinese city is now taking the lead in the country in combating climate change.

Zhenjiang, an hour's drive from metropolitan Shanghai, became the first city in China in 2012 to set the goal of a peak in carbon emissions by 2020. This is 10 years earlier than the national target of 2030.

Zhenjiang uses big data and a cloud computing platform to monitor and manage carbon emission in real time, explained Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change, speaking during the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Bonn on Nov. 13.

The city, one of China's pilot low-carbon cities and one of the fastest growing urban centers in Jiangsu Province, provides a model for its peers, Xie added.

Ms. Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a recent visitor to Zhenjiang, described the city's low-carbon efforts as "incredible".

"Zhenjiang is an inspiring example of what is possible when local and regional action is in line with an ambitious national climate cause. The lesson learned in Zhenjiang cannot stay [there], or even in China, but must be brought out to the wider world, so that all cities can achieve a low carbon environment," she said.

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Ms. Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, delivers a speech at China Pavilion during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn on Nov. 13. [Photo by Li Xiaohua / China.org.cn]