Home>Portrait: Yunqing Bi, alumna


Portrait: Yunqing Bi, alumna

Yunqing graduated in 2017 with a Master in Governing the Large Metropolis, having previously studied GIS (Geographic Information Systems) at Zhejiang University in China. She is now a technical manager at C40 Cities in Beijing.

What is your current job?

I’m the technical manager of a climate action planning programme at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of 97 cities around the world that represents one twelfth of the world’s population and a quarter of the global economy.

My job is to help cities manage their climate policies, including both mitigation and adaptation plans. In terms of climate change mitigation, I work with our modelling team to help our member cities develop policy-based scenarios, so that they can better understand the potential for reducing carbon emissions at city level in various sectors, such as buildings, transport, and industry. In terms of adaptation, we have a set of tools that we use to assess climate risks and design adaptation strategies accordingly.

I also communicate with cities to assess the co-benefits of climate action through its social and economic aspects, among others. Finally, I help develop case studies on the best practices of cities, especially Chinese cities, for tackling climate change to extend their impact.

What do you like most about your job?

Climate change has become the most important and urgent challenge facing the world today and cities should be playing a more important role. Cities consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global carbon emissions, but many lack a clear implementation plan to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

What I like most about my work is that I can give cities more information and understanding and thereby increase their capacity and power to deal with climate change at city level. At present, many countries have announced their national carbon neutrality targets—for example, France aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 and China by 2060—yet few cities have done so. To accelerate the energy transition and other social and economic transitions, cities are on the front line but sometimes lack the adequate resources. I think that in the future, cities can be the solution to climate change, as long as they commit to making and implementing inclusive and comprehensive climate policies. I really enjoy this job because I can contribute my expertise in this area.

Can you tell us about your career path since graduation?

After graduating, I did an internship at the International Energy Agency (IEA), where I worked at the China Desk coordinating the work between some Chinese agencies and the IEA. During my internship, I discovered my interest in energy and climate policy, especially at the urban level. I noticed that most policies concern either the international or national level, without focusing on cities. So I decided to explore this area further.

Next, I worked at a German agency coordinating information and idea sharing on sustainable urban development between Germany and China. We covered a wide range of topics, including cycling, energy efficiency in buildings, urban renewal, energy transition and ecological restoration in both countries. I attended the Sino-German Mayors’ Forum in Essen in 2019, where again I noted the lack of resources that local governments have to deal with. I was also interested in how these cities were building their climate strategies; I wanted to look a bit further into the methodology and models they were using. That’s how I came to apply for my current position at C40.

I have also been involved in a few reports on the energy transition in cities. For example, I contributed to the Renewables in Cities 2021 Global Status Report produced by the REN21 network.

What did you gain from your education at Sciences Po?

First of all, the Master in Governing the Large Metropolis equipped me with knowledge and skills for policy analysis. In my current job, my experience at Sciences Po allows me to analyse a city’s policy from different angles and to propose various solutions for different actors.

The study trip to Dubai in our first year of the Master’s programme was an eye-opener and it gave me new ideas and perspectives on governance and culture. I had never been to the Middle East before that trip, so I found the visits and encounters really fascinating. It broadened my horizons about what a large metropolis is and the challenges they can face. I think that today, when there is a growing trend towards de-globalisation in some parts of the world, accompanied by populism and nationalism, it is really useful to allow students to have these study trips and see the world for themselves, to listen to different cultures, rather than just reading newspapers that might be biased or misinformed. For me, living in this hyper-connected but divided world, it is the most important thing our generation needs.

Finally, it was the Sciences Po network that enabled me to find my internship at the IEA. I met so many alumni in the agency and again in my current organisation, I feel like I never left Sciences Po. I am grateful for this alumni network that extends around the world, sharing information and helping each other as always.

Download our brochure

Virtual Graduate Open House day, October 2024

Graduate Open House Day

On 19 October 2024: meet faculty members, students and representatives and learn more about our 30 Master's programmes.