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Blair praises China's efforts in tackling climate change
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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in Beijing Thursday that China had made great progress in fighting climate change, and called for more international cooperation on the issue.

Tony Blair, former British prime minister and a partner of the environmental organisation The Climate Group, listens to a question during a media conference in Beijing August 20, 2009.

Tony Blair, former British prime minister and a partner of the environmental organisation The Climate Group, listens to a question during a media conference in Beijing August 20, 2009. Blair said that after meeting Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday he was convinced China was committed to forging an agreement in Copenhagen in December.

Blair, also initiator of the Climate Group, a British-based non-governmental environmental organization, made the remarks at a news briefing, where the group issued a report entitled "China's Clean Revolution II: Opportunities for A Low Carbon Future".

"A major part of the solution to tackle climate change and make the necessary reductions in carbon emissions will be achieved through new technologies," he said. "China is already playing an important role in producing and consuming those technologies."

According to the report, China is among the top producers of electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and energy-efficient appliances, boosted by ambitious government policies and a new breed of entrepreneurs.

The Chinese government's 4-trillion-yuan (585 billion U.S. dollars) economic stimulus package put a strong emphasis on clean development, which is also supported by many new laws and policies encouraging the development of low-carbon technologies, it said.

According to governmental statistics, 580 billion yuan of the massive spending would go to green projects like energy-efficient and pollution-control programs, ecological approach and technological innovations to fight climate change.

"I think the single most important thing is to understand China's developing plan, in other words, how the Chinese economy grows in the coming years, low-carbon growth is at the heart of its plan," Blair said.

Last week, China's State Council, the Cabinet, required all provincial and local governments to consider climate change initiatives in their economic and social development policies.

In early June, Premier Wen Jiabao affirmed that China would put in place carbon emission reduction targets in national development programs.

China has set a target to cut energy consumption for every 10,000 yuan of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent from 2006 to 2010.

"China has demonstrated that it has the capacity and determination needed to achieve a rapid, large-scale transformation to low carbon ways of building, producing and consuming," said Blair.

"Achieving such a transformation would take continued leadership from China's government and the support of a global deal on climate change," he said. "The benefits, in terms of avoiding climate change as well as economic development and energy security, will be tremendous."

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2009)

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