EU hopes to strengthen cooperation with China on climate change

Updated: 2014-04-20 21:13


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BRUSSELS - The European Union (EU) and China should cooperate more closely to jointly curb global warming, the 28-member bloc's top climate official has said.

The two sides have been cooperating very intensively on climate change, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who will begin a visit to China Wednesday, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The EU's emissions trading system, which puts a price on carbon and caps emissions from 11,000 power stations and heavy industrial installations responsible for 40 percent of its member nations' total emissions, is similar to the one that China is currently setting up, Hedegaard said.

"We have started a cooperation project with the Chinese authorities on emissions trading this year and it is a very good example of how we can work together on climate change," she said.

During the upcoming visit, she will travel to the eastern Chinese cities of Zhenjiang and Shanghai to get first-hand information about China's efforts to reduce emissions through innovative policies.

Hedegaard also showed willingness to share Europe's experience in clean technology to tackle such climate issues as smog, which is plaguing many Chinese cities.

"As a result of our stringent environmental regulations, we are leading in innovation and production of green technologies. We are ready to share our experience and our solutions with other countries such as China that are facing environmental challenges now," she said.

Apart from cooperation on climate change, the commissioner stressed that the EU and China should see climate actions and the green sector as benefits rather than downward impacts for economic growth.

She also called economic benefits from the green sector a good business opportunity.

"Green growth is about maintaining and improving our quality of life while ensuring pollution does not undermine economic growth," she said. "The green sector is one of the fastest growing industries with millions of new jobs being created. China and Europe can benefit enormously from that."

According to Hedegaard, Europe's green sector created 180,000 jobs per year between 1999 and 2008. Most of these jobs were retained -- and many more created -- during the worst years of the global economic crisis.

She urged the EU and China to lead more ambitious climate actions for the whole world.

"China and the EU can prove to the world that green growth is not just a vague utopian vision; it is the smart answer to many of the challenges the world is facing... By leading the way, we can motivate others to move to more ambitious climate action," she said.