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August 21, 2009

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Blair lauds China on climate change

FORMER British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday in Beijing that China had made great progress in fighting climate change, and called for more international cooperation on the issue.

Blair, also initiator of the Climate Group, a British-based non-governmental environmental organization, made the remarks at a news briefing, where the group issued a report entitled "China's Clean Revolution II: Opportunities for A Low Carbon Future."

"A major part of the solution to tackle climate change and make the necessary reductions in carbon emissions will be achieved through new technologies," Blair told reporters. "China is already playing an important role in producing and consuming those technologies."

According to the report, China is among the top producers of electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels and energy-efficient appliances, which are boosted by ambitious government policies and a new breed of entrepreneurs.

The Chinese government's 4-trillion-yuan (US$585 billion) economic stimulus package put a strong emphasis on clean development, which is also supported by many new laws and policies encouraging the development of low-carbon technologies, it said.

According to government statistics, 580 billion yuan of the stimulus spending would go to green projects like energy-efficient and pollution-control programs as well as ecological approaches and technological innovations to fight climate change.

"I think the single most important thing is to understand China's developing plan, in other words, how the Chinese economy grows in the coming years, low-carbon growth is at the heart of its plan," Blair said.

Last week, China's State Council, or the Cabinet, required all provincial and local governments to consider climate change initiatives in their economic and social development policies.

In early June, Premier Wen Jiabao said China would put in place carbon emission reduction targets in national development programs.

China has set a target to cut energy consumption for every 10,000 yuan of gross domestic product by 20 percent from 2006 to 2010.


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