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New chapter opens in EU-China Climate Change Partnership

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'Today, there's virtually no doubt that human-induced climate change is a fact.' It was with these words that the European Science Commissioner Janez Potocnik began his speech at the recent Forum on Climate Change and Science & Technology Innovation in Beijing.

It was also at the forum that the Commissioner outlined the next chapter in the EU-China Partnership on Climate Change, which focuses on developing clean energy production and renewable energies.

China's involvement in global sustainable cooperation is crucial if the World is to reduce greenhouse gasses. In recent years, rapid economic growth has seen a major lifestyle shift in the country, leading to the creation of new megalopolises, increased car ownership, and growing demand for energy. All this growth has therefore led to increased carbon emissions, emissions which the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change aims to curb.

The EU is leading the way in cutting CO2 emissions, and is working at a multilateral level with countries such as China to achieve a global response to the issue. In keeping with this, in 2005, the EU and China first began its partnership on climate change.

The partnership contains two concrete co-operation goals, to be achieved by 2020. The first is to develop and demonstrate, in China and the EU, advanced 'zero-emissions' coal technology. This technology will allow for the capture of CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants and its subsequent storage underground, for example in exploited oil or gas fields or in sealed geological strata, thereby avoiding CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

The second cooperation goal is to significantly reduce the cost of key energy technologies and promote their deployment and dissemination.

Together both sides have already initiated research projects in numerous areas, including climate monitoring, adaptation and mitigation strategies, sustainable energy management systems, fuel cells and clean urban transport.

Scientific cooperation will continue to play an important part in the next phase of the partnership, says Commissioner Potocnik. China is second only to Russia in the number of applications submitted so far to Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7). And one third of such participation is in the area of energy, environment and climate.

The Commissioner highlighted areas where future collaboration has been agreed upon. They include the development and demonstration of advanced zero emissions coal technology by 2020, based on carbon capture and storage and the setting up of a Sino-European clean energy centre, focusing on coal and energy savings in buildings.

Further collaboration is also expected on establishing the Euro-Chinese Institute for Clean and Renewable Energy, and the study of relations between Climate Change and Mega-Cities, as well as the climate impacts and adaptation in vulnerable regions and sectors.

'I sincerely believe that successful EU-China efforts in these fields will set an example for the rest of the world,' said Mr Potocnik. In closing, the Commissioner quoted the ancient Chinese philosopher and drew parallels with the crisis posed by climate change: 'It was the ancient Chinese philosopher that we call Confucius who said, 'If a man takes no thought about what is distant, he will find sorrow near at hand'. So it is - I believe - with climate change.'

The International Forum on Climate Change Science & Technology Innovation was a two-day event that brought together world leaders and experts in the area of green technology to discuss the challenge of climate change and the opportunities for innovative solutions.

Over 600 participants from 30 countries and over 10 international organisations attended the Forum, including senior state officials, renowned experts, and representatives of enterprises and non-governmental organisations.

EU-China cooperation

Source: Community R&D Information Service (CORDIS)


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