The World Bank said on Thursday that several cities in China hold the highest carbon emission rate worldwide and the country must follow a low-carbon growth path to reduce emissions.

Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin are among the cities that account for around 70 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, which is set to increase as China's population climbs to another 350 million in the next couple of decades, the international financial group said in a report.

In terms of carbon emission contributions, industries and power generation account for as much as 80 percent in total, while the remaining 20 percent is discharged from waste, buildings and transport services, the report said.

According to Reuters, carbon intensity has pared down in several European countries including the US, OECD and non-OECD nations since 2007. However, with China being one of the biggest and fastest growing economies in the world, the country is increasingly relying on fossil fuels and natural gas to feed its heavy industries, thus discharging heavy amounts of carbon into the environment. The news service did note that renewable energy was increasingly used since 2010 but only from a lower base.

For China to achieve its 12th Five-Year Plan target to reduce 17 percent carbon intensity, addressing cities' emission is crucial, Klaus Rohland, World Bank's Director for China, said in a statement on the press release.

In the report titled, Sustainable Low-Carbon City Development In China, the World Bank made it known that China will need to focus on multiple fronts in order to tackle the escalating levels of carbon and energy emissions. The nation is said to have committed to cutting back at least 40-45 percent of the carbon intensity in the course of the next 18 years.

The complex challenges facing China's cities require a comprehensive approach, with coordinated action from different levels of government as well as civil society, Axel Baeumler, World Bank Senior Infrastructure Economist, said in a statement on the press release.

For China to meet its energy and environmental goals, the World Bank encourages switching to renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, use of public transport and also recommends more coherent strategies in land-use, waste and water management. Other incentives include integration of administrative systems with market-based approaches for energy management, encouraging coordination between several sectors and jurisdictions, as well as adopting mitigation and adaption procedures.

By implementing these measures, upcoming cities in China will be deemed livable, efficient, competitive, and ultimately sustainable, the World bank press release said.