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China, US 'crucial for agreement' at Copenhagen
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The key to success for the Copenhagen conference on global warming will be having the world's two biggest emitters - the United States and China - on board, said the Swedish ambassador to China.

Mikael Lindstrom said Sweden, which will take over the half-year rotating EU presidency from the Czech Republic in July, hopes the Copenhagen conference in December will achieve a new "regime" to address global warming.

Lindstrom told China Daily that combating climate change will be one of his country's priorities during its presidency.

"Copenhagen is an extremely important occasion for the world to find ways to tackle the causes of climate change," he said.

"As for the new regime, if I can call it the 'Copenhagen regime', the US should be there and China should be there," he said, alluding to the Kyoto Protocol, which Washington failed to sign.

The Kyoto Protocol will expire in 2012 and the Copenhagen conference will allow the world to find a new set of targets.

US climate change envoy Todd Stern is in Beijing this week, talking to China about the role the two countries might play.

Stern said last week he envisioned a bilateral partnership with China to address clean energy and global warming.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator John Kerry also recently met Chinese leaders and reached a consensus that the countries will work on clean energy and climate change.

But Zhang Haibin, an expert on environmental politics at Peking University, told reporters: "Reaching an agreement at Copenhagen should be relatively easy, because nobody wants outright failure. But reaching an effective agreement will be more difficult."

Lindstrom said he understands China needs to balance economic growth with environmental protection, noting that his country has experience that might support China.

Lindstrom said Sweden has some useful environmental technology but, more than that, it has developed a wide range of non-technical measures to fight global warming.

He said Sweden started introducing "a whole array of economic instruments" to make people aware of the real cost of energy back in 1973, when international oil supplies were threatened.

"These are not very hi-tech measures but ones that each nation has at its disposal," Lindstrom said.

And he said China is making "a very important contribution, more than many realize", referring to the country's goal of reducing energy consumption per GDP by 20 percent from the 2005 levels by 2010.

"But that's not enough", he said.

He said it was a "very unfortunate situation" that some countries seem to be waiting for other countries to act before cutting emissions themselves.

"That's a catastrophic way of analyzing the situation We need to get beyond that," he said. "The Copenhagen conference is not far away and we now really need to get down to the details of what commitments everyone needs to make."

(China Daily June 9, 2009)

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