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Green talks bring EU, China closer
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By Wang Ke
China.org.cn staff reporter

Addressing climate change is the main priority of the Swedish Presidency of EU. The Swedish government will initiate a series talks on green issues between EU and China, an official said in Beijing on Wednesday.

Mikael Lindström, Sweden's ambassador to China, told China.org.cn that next Monday and Tuesday, higher officials from EU, Sweden and Spain will meet Chinese leaders on environmental protection and green businesses. The meetings include Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, Vice Chairmen Xie Zhenhua of National Development and Reform Commission, and Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian.

"We will initiate discussions on how economic instruments can best be utilized in climate policy," Amb. Lindström said. "The EU and China have great potential on green industries, such as biomass fuels, wind farms, solar panels, carbon capture and storage technologies and so forth."

The current economic crisis has made many countries reluctant to make large investments in green technology, fearing that such a use of scarce funds will not bring returns.

"I would argue the contrary. They cannot afford to keep their current costly energy sources," Amb. Lindström told China.org.cn.

He believes that in addition to the benefit of having cleaner air, improved health and reduced risk of natural disasters, countries would even improve their public finances by addressing climate changes. He called it a "win-win" solution.

According to statistics from Mckinsey, a management consulting firm, global greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by about 40 percent by 2030 at a cost of less than half of one percent of global GDP.

The initial investments are steep for many developing countries like China and India. Serge Abou, ambassador of the European Commission delegation in China, stressed that the EU has therefore stated its readiness to take on its fair share in the framework of an agreement in Copenhagen.

"The developed countries must fulfill our own duties," he said. "If not, we can hardly expect the developing countries to contribute according to their responsibilities and capabilities."

He said the global economic crisis and the continuously worsening climate change situation are issues that need to be resolved in a responsible way by the EU, China and other major global actors.

"At the same time, these issues also provide opportunities for countries, such as the EU and China, to be part of forming our common future in a new, innovative and sustainable way," he continued.

Stakeholders like government, industry, academia, organizations and media can all play a vital role, he said.

Under the heading EU-China Partnership for a Sustainable Future, the Swedish EU-Presidency and the EU will cooperate with relevant Chinese partners to arrange a series of activities that will manifest the strong commitment on both sides.

In addition, a conference of EU-China Business Day on Responsible Competitiveness will be held in Hangzhou City of Zhejiang Province next month. Climate change workshops will also be launched in September and October, featuring environment protection and technology transfer initiatives.

(China.org.cn July 9, 2009)

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