Breaking the Climate Deadlock: Tony Blair in China to Promote Initiative

18 March 2008

On 18 March 2008, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair visited China, a trip coordinated by The °Climate Group and a variety of private and public sector groups within the People's Republic. The visit was to promote his Breaking the Climate Deadlock initiative to ensure a successful successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

During the visit, the former prime minister met with Cheng Siwei, former Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, as well as with Prime Minister Wen Jiaobao.

Mr Blair also participated in a business forum facilitated by The °Climate Group's China Director Changhua Wu, an event that featured involvement of over 250 top CEOs, chairmen of the board and other senior leaders from China's largest companies.

"Based on the questions we got from the participants, we could tell that Mr Blair's message came across very clearly, that the audience was interested and engaged," commented Changhua Wu. "We really felt that people had taken on board this important information about the need to do something to address climate change."

A media event followed the business forum, which resulted in heavy coverage across major outlets in China, also carrying a clear message about China's important role in addressing the global challenge of climate change.

Mr Blair outlined his view that developing countries such as China must be allowed to pursue economic growth, but should seek ways to do so that will not exacerbate the climate change challenge.

"Without China's leadership and commitment, this problem cannot be solved," said Mr Blair. "And yet we know it has to be solved in way that still allows developing countries to lift their people out of poverty. So the deal has to be one that allows countries like China and India to grow, but to grow in a way that is sustainable."

"The shift to a low carbon economy also presents an enormous economic opportunity for rich and poor countries alike. There are clear synergies between energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions on the one hand and other strategic goals, for example, resource productivity, energy security, energy provision, water supplies, reduced air pollution. So there are real gains out of bold action."

The event also featured presentations from Mr. Wang Shi, President of Alxa SEE Association; Mr. Li Junfeng, Deputy Director of Energy Research Instiute, NDRC.

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