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EU-US-China climate partnerships can cut global emissions and boost economy and jobs

Date
12 February 2010

BRUSSELS:  Following the UN climate Summit in Copenhagen, The Centre and The Climate Group convened a high-level panel in Brussels this week (9 February 2010) to discuss how the EU and the US should engage China in a dialogue on climate change.

Speakers included, Jos Delbeke, Deputy DG, DG ENV, European Commission; Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group; Louis Bono, Counsellor for Energy and Environment, US Mission to the EU; and Ismael Aznar, Deputy Director for Carbon Markets, Spanish Office of Climate Change.

The discussion – held under Chatham House rules – noted that although the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference did not deliver the legally binding agreement the EU sought, it should not deter rapid and ambitious action from industrialized and developing economies towards a low carbon future.

Developed countries must act swiftly on their promises, for example on fast-start funding, to have legitimacy and trust for developing countries to up their ambition. Some emerging economies are already racing ahead.

China is undertaking its own clean revolution and has recently become the global leader in manufacturing of solar panels and wind turbines. In the global race to develop cleaner technology and in turn create millions of new jobs and trillions of dollars in revenue, the EU and US should not get left behind and should take advantage of their strong trade ties with China.

With the EU developing its low carbon development strategy and China working on its 12th Five Year Plan – both economies appreciate the ‘triple bottom line’ approach of achieving results through better economic performance, while protecting the environment and promoting social equality.

Changhua Wu, The Climate Group’s Greater China Director said “China recognizes the EU’s commitment on climate change and wants closer collaboration with the EU. Europe’s progress on low carbon solutions is well-received in China.”

The debate concluded that, the EU and China’s common interest in clean technology development should be capitalized on. There is real potential to create effective partnerships that benefit the environment, the global economy and geo-political relations. However, this would require greater EU and US collaboration with China on technology transfer (backed by an appropriate intellect property rights regime), capacity building, and financing the technology and infrastructure solutions required for a low carbon economy.

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