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China at carbon frontier

BRITISH scientists at the Shanghai Expo are calling on the scientific community to help China reduce carbon emissions through developing carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

The appeal was made by founders of the UK National Center for Carbon Capture and Storage (NCCCS), who announced the launch of the research facility into CCS technology at the London ZED Pavilion yesterday.

Heads of the NCCCS said the Shanghai Expo was chosen as the launchpad for the UK-based institute to highlight the significance of helping China combat the threat posed by greenhouse gases through more international cooperation in developing climate change technology.

"It wasn't a hard decision for us to come here," said Professor Mike Stephenson, director of the NCCCS, in his speech at the Expo.

"To put it bluntly, China is going to need to burn coal in quite staggering quantities if it is to sustain its current economic growth during the decades ahead," said Stephenson, also head of science (energy) at the British Geological Survey, the UK center for earth science information and expertise founded in 1835.

In the long run, to maintain steady economic growth without irreparably damaging the environment would require China to use technology designed to arrest the rising carbon dioxide levels, Stephenson said.

"We hope to establish firm links with Chinese academic institutions, government organizations and leading industry figures in CCS," said Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, the NCCCS's chief scientific officer.

Maroto-Valer, also director of the University of Nottingham's Center for Innovation in CCS, said: "If the fight against climate change is to be won, then China, more so than any nation, will have to harness all the available potential of CCS technology.

"We believe that on every level - environmental, economic and scientific - it is in the interests of the rest of the world to assist in any way it can."

British scientists are already supporting a three-stage project, funded by the European Union and the UK's Department for Energy and Climate Change, to run a full-scale CCS demonstration in China by 2020, Stephenson said.

CCS technology has the potential to bring about a 90 percent reduction in emissions from power stations and other industrial sources of carbon dioxide, according to a report by the International Panel on Climate Change.


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