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China, Norway Agree on Climate Change Cooperation
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In its fight against climate change, China will adopt on-the-ground strategies supported financially and technologically from Norway.

Further strengthening their relationship yesterday, the two countries signed agreements in Beijing, witnessed by Premier Wen Jiabao and Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, during the latter's four-day official visit to China.

The three pacts include one addressing climate change, and will be jointly conducted by Norway, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and China.

Details of the agreement were not immediately released, but a statement from the UNDP announced that the programs would aid risk assessment by Chinese provincial governments in terms of climate change and needed responses.

"The presence of the countries' top leaders proves the strong commitment being made by both governments to respond to climate change," Khalid Malik, the UNDP representative in China, said.

The US$2 million project will be funded by Norway and will start by the middle of the year under the supervision of the National Coordination Committee on Climate Change with the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planning agency, and the UNDP.

Targeting two provinces in particular, the project will seek to slash greenhouse gas emissions in Shanxi Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region by improving regional industry efficiency.

A further goal will be the observation of glacial melting in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to provide local governments with a solution package.

During one-hour official talks prior to the signing of the pacts, the two leaders agreed to further develop to work out a framework agreement on environmental protection to help future cooperation.

Wen said China supported the Kyoto Protocol, noting that although "the protocol gave no stipulations on the reduction of emissions for developing countries, the Chinese government would adopt a responsible attitude and seriously fulfill its obligations."

China's work with the international community, including Norway, will continue unabated in fighting climate change, improving energy efficiency, developing clean energy sources and bringing greenhouse gas emissions to heel, he said.

Stoltenberg also placed global environmental problems at the door of industrialization by developed countries, adding that these nations are responsible for ensuring emission reductions among developing countries.

In a direct application of his call, he announced that Norway would help China reach its emission reduction goal through more investment and sharing of technologies.

Also yesterday, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding that sees Norway officially recognize China's full market economy status.

Further negotiations between Wen and Stoltenberg saw them agree to optimize the bilateral trade structure, encourage more two-way investments and expand cooperation in terms of clean energy, energy saving, fishery and forestry.

A pledge was also made to soon begin feasibility studies in establishing a free trade agreement between China and Norway.

Norway is the 69th country in the world to grant China complete market economy status, but China's biggest trade partners the US, the EU and Japan remain off this list.

(China Daily March 27, 2007)

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