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Crisis won't deter fight against climate change
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Nicholas Stern, former UK government advisor famous for his climate report, said a low-carbon infrastructure also represents huge investment opportunities. The International Energy Agency estimates that world energy infrastructure investments are likely to be around $1 trillion every year over the next two decades.

"If the majority of this is low carbon, it will be an outstanding source of investment demand," said Stern. "That's an opportunity both for China and the rest of the world."

How to turn the investment potential into reality? Chinese companies should set up "joint ventures" with technology groups in developed nations to pursue its aim of developing a "low-carbon" economy, Stern suggested, despite the fact that under the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developed countries are obliged to provide financial support and transfer technology to developing countries on favorable terms.

But the developed countries, which have held more than 90 percent of the advanced technology related to climate change, are reluctant to provide it to developing countries out of concern for losing their competitiveness.

And many developed countries are blamed for failing to deliver on commitments made on funding and technology transfer to help developing countries combat global warming.

Currently, many developing countries, including China, have reached the consensus to develop their economy by using low-carbon technologies but the developed countries have required high transfer fees. And the high technology transfer fees have blocked many countries from using the advanced technologies.

Meanwhile, the weekly average oil prices of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) dropped to $61.53 per barrel last week, the lowest price since the end of March 2007.

This may decrease incentives for the oil users to take measures to save energy and dampen the industry's enthusiasm in investing in developing renewable energy, which may not become cost-competitive and economical.

Facing the new changes, it will become a demanding negotiation between developing countries, including China, and rich countries, to set up an effective mechanism to facilitate technology transfer from industrialized countries.

At the strategic level, the gesture China made yesterday is vital. But from the point view of its implementation, more efforts and negotiations are along the way.

(China Daily October 30, 2008)

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