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London meeting of 'Big Emitters' to set stage for Copenhagen

01 April 2009

China President Hu Jintao and US President Barack Obama will meet tomorrow on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in London. The meeting is the first time the current leaders of the world's two biggest emitting countries have met. Hammering out agreements on the economy and climate change will be central to discussions and the outcome may well determine the level of international ambition and pace of international co-operation ahead of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December.

"Political consensus between the US and China is absolutely central to all countries agreeing a fair and effective climate deal in Copenhagen or soon afterwards. Hence this is a crucial first meeting in a crucial year to secure global economic and environmental revival" said Mark Kenber, The Climate Group's International Policy Director and a climate adviser to Tony Blair.

Ahead of the meeting in London, positive signals were sent on Sunday when Todd Stern, US special envoy on climate change, told UN climate talks in Bonn (Germany) that "the Chinese are doing a lot already" to curb greenhouse gas emissions. "The Chinese have a lot of policies that they have put in place - energy intensity targets, significant renewable energy targets, they've got auto standards that are good, they've got efficiency standards for their top 1,000 enterprises," Stern said.

According to The Climate Group's Greater China director, Changhua Wu: "The US has said it will not only listen but also lead the international process, and it wants to work with China on climate change. Stern's comments have sent a positive signal from the White House and show China is winning international recognition for its efforts to fight climate change."

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