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Expert: China, EU leading Third Industrial Revolution
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China and the European Union (EU) are leading a Third Industrial Revolution, paving the way to a sustainable economic era in the 21st century, a world renowned expert said Tuesday.

"There are three essential pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution which must be simultaneously developed and fully integrated for any one of these components to fully realized its potential and for the new economic paradigm to become operational: renewable energy, storage technology, and smart power grids," Jereny Rifkin, adviser to EU and U.S. governments and Fortune 500 companies, said at the CHINA NOW Sustainability Conference held in London.

Looking to the future, every government will need to explore new energy paths and establish new economic models with the goal of achieving as close to zero carbon emissions as possible, said Rifkin who is the author of 17 books on environmental, energy and economic related issues.

The EU has begun the journey toward a Third Industrial Revolution by making a binding commitment that 20 percent of all EU energy be generated by renewable sources of energy of 2020 while China pledged in its 11th Five-Year Plan to have renewable energy rise to 15 percent in energy consumption by 2020.

The EU and China are both engaged in developing technologies to store intermittent forms of renewable energy and creating intelligent utility networks to allow distributed forms of renewable energy, he said.

For the EU and China to lead, "cooperative partnership between China and the EU is important", Rifkin said.

Sustainability and climate change in particular are key issues across the globe and a prominent topic of discussion at the conference, jointly hosted by CHINA NOW, which is organizing Britain's largest ever festival of Chinese culture, and international legal practice Norton Rose LLP.

The conference is one of CHINA NOW's more than 800 events across Britain to celebrate China as a vibrant, dynamic and fast evolving nation.

(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2008)

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