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Global Warming 'Golden Opportunity'
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China and the UK have a golden opportunity to embrace and benefit from the challenges posed by global warming, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said over the weekend.

Beckett was in town as part of a whirlwind three-city tour, itself part of a wider Asian tour, to talk about the future of the world's environment and spearhead the first stage of a new era of closer economic, political and technological cooperation between the two countries, to help preserve that environment.

"China and Britain are two of the world's leading economies and we believe that both countries can continue to grow without destroying the resources required for future growth," Beckett said.

"We see a strategy partnership between the UK and China and Chinese cities, Guangzhou especially, as the way to tackle the many issues we face, and by working together we can make the most of the opportunities of the future.

"We don't believe we need to penalize ourselves while tackling the issues of climate change. Effective solutions will help save money as well as make money.

"That is why accompanying me on this trip is a delegation of business leaders from the financial and technology sectors - the types of companies that are an important part of the fight and with whom Chinese companies can form close relationships.

"The economic record of Guangdong Province is outstanding and has gone from strength to strength and we believe Guangdong companies and UK companies can form close partnerships where addressing climate change is a major goal," she said.

Since the release last year of a review of the impact of climate change on the global economy by UK's leading economist, Sir Nicholas Stern, pressure has been building on the world's leading economies to take action, especially the US, and also those experiencing rapid growth, namely China and India.

For its part, the UK will pursue policies that will move it toward becoming a low-carbon economy, Beckett said.

"Two early tools that we can adopt, and that we believe a city with a strong economy like Guangzhou has potential in following, are greater energy efficiency and diversifying sources of energy."

On a wider front, new foreign policies will need to reflect the importance of dealing now with future problems that will threaten countries around the world, she said.

"At the heart of every country's foreign policy is the security and peaceful occupation of its homeland. Access to water, the need for food supplies and land have always been a source of conflict throughout history, and if nothing is done, we can see that global warming will be the source of such conflicts in the future," the foreign secretary said.

(China Daily May 21, 2007))

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