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Sino-EU Energy Ties Strengthened

China and the European Union will strengthen cooperation and exchanges in the energy sector, including clean coal technology, renewable energy and nuclear power, top officials said at a high-level conference.


China's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the European Commission yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on near-zero emission power generation technology in an effort to jointly fight against global climate change.


As the major source of power generation, coal consumption has continued to increase to meet the rapid economic development in China. Statistics show that China consumed some 34 percent of the coal used worldwide in 2004.


Due to technical barriers, the coal is used with low efficiency, and carbon dioxide emission has also led to environmental pollution.


Under the MOU, the Chinese Government and the EU will jointly conduct research and promote the technology of near-zero emission power generation.


It includes capturing carbon dioxide emitted from coal power stations and then storing them underground, instead of being emitted directly into the environment.


"China has been seeking more ways to protect the climate, such as this" said Ma Songde, vice-minister of MOST.


Promoting the new technology was a good environmental and energy policy, he added.


The feasibility study of the project will be finished by the end of 2008, according to the MOU.


Andris Piebalgs, Energy Commissioner for the EU, said it will invest 5 million euros (US$5.95 million) for the first stage of the cooperation, following an equal amount of investment from the UK.


China will allocate resources to support the project and seek more financial resources together with the EU.


China aims to establish an energy research and development regime centering on the talents and funding resources of the business community and universities, according to Ma.


Piebalgs also called on enterprises to shoulder responsibilities for protecting the environment.


The cooperation marks a further step in the energy sector between China and the EU. Since 1981, a remarkable amount of cooperation has been achieved, including a clean coal action plan, an energy efficiency program and a renewable energy program.


The conference attracted about 250 top energy policy makers and industrialists.


Representatives discussed topics including energy security, increasing energy efficiency, nuclear energy and security, and interactions between energy and environmental policies.


(China Daily February 21, 2006)


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