The European Union plans to provide another €40 million ($52 million) of funds to expand cooperation and research with China in energy and the environment.
The funding will go mainly into projects that focus on climate change and the environment, the EU ambassador to China, Serge Abou, said at a briefing in Beijing today. The EU and China are already working on a €20 million energy and environment project, he said, without providing more details. China, the world's biggest energy user after the US, wants to revise energy pricing policy to ensure consumption costs are high enough to encourage conservation and deter waste.
China aims to cut the amount of fuel used to produce each unit of gross domestic product by 20% in five years. It failed to meet the target set for last year. The projects „will touch on the three elements of technology transfer, people awareness and good regulations,” Abou said. For China „the long march was started by one step, one step was very important as in political decision. We see progress.”
The EU also proposed setting up a European energy technology center in China to foster exchange of research and technologies including clean coal, energy savings and renewables, Abou said. China and the EU last February sign an agreement to develop underground storage of carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's coal-fired power stations.
Storing carbon dioxide in liquid form in underground tanks, as is done in the US and Europe, would earn Chinese power producers carbon credits that can be traded. The plan may help cut pollution prompted by the jump in oil and coal use that has accompanied China's economic expansion. Work on the project started in November and will run for three years, according to a statement today by the delegation of the European Commission to China.
Economic development in China has boosted demand for energy products and raw materials. The nation's gross domestic product grew by 10.7% last year, the fastest among the world's major economies. The EU is also working with China to build a coal-fired power plant with „near-zero” carbon emissions and is now studying the feasibility of the project, Abou said.
„The challenges are immense in China,” he said. „In China, we've not seen results in terms of energy efficiency, but we have to mobilize everybody. The mobilization has not yet taken its full speed.” (Bloomberg)