Climate change and environmental protection will form a large part of discussions at the European Union (EU)-China Summit, which starts in Beijing Wednesday.
Major areas of cooperation between the two sides, including efforts to combat climate change by setting up a clean-energy research center, will be high on the agenda of the annual meeting.
The discussions come at a crucial time, as next month will see about 180 countries' environmental leaders meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to revisit post-Kyoto Protocol issues and decide on joint efforts to reduce global warming.
China and the EU are expected to play influential roles at the negotiation table then.
Environmental experts also believe that a cooperation agreement mapped out at the ongoing summit will usher both sides into a new era of environmental development.
Cooperation on climate change and environmental protection between the two sides has a long history, which has in turn helped China - a fast-developing country facing many environmental challenges - move forward on a green and sustainable track.
The country's rapid economic growth and energy-related challenges impact directly on climate change, energy security, air pollution and the environment in general - both locally and globally.
Over the last decade, China and EU have been working together closely on environmental and energy issues through established ministerial-level dialogues, high-level working groups, joint workshops or conferences, and through the Sino-EU cooperation program.
The 2005 EU-China Summit in Beijing also established a firm partnership on fighting climate change.
Bilateral cooperation in the environment and sustainable development sectors will continue to cover a wide range of topics - from biodiversity protection, water management and waste management, to energy saving and climate change.
Major projects include:
-- The 2007-2013 EU Country Strategy Paper for China and the 2007-2010 China Multi-annual Indicative Program. The program defines areas of focus for EU-China cooperation on the environment and energy.
The EU will further support China in addressing environmental and energy-related challenges as outlined in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) and beyond.
-- EU-China Energy and Environment Program, starting in 2003 with a total budget of 42.9 million (US$63.7 million). It aims to increase the use of sustainable energy, strengthen the security of energy supply and foster cooperation between Chinese and EU industries in China's energy markets.
-- EU-China Natural Forest Management Project, commenced in 2003 with a total budget of 22.5 million. The project is under the umbrella of the Natural Forest Protection Program of the State Forest Administration.
-- EU-China Biodiversity Program, with a total budget reaching 51.4 million. It will strengthen sound biodiversity management in all sectors.
-- EU-China River Basin Management Program, with a total budget of 186.5 million. The program aims to establish environmentally sustainable integrated river basin management practices - in the Yellow River basin focusing on water pollution, and in the Yangtze River basin emphasizing soil conservation measures.
All About Global warming, Climate change(China Daily November 28, 2007)