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EU, China Agree on Climate Change Cooperation

The European Union and China should strengthen cooperation in the fight against climate change, but they still differ on binding caps on greenhouse gas emissions, said a European Parliament official on Wednesday.

Guido Sacconi, chairman of the parliament's Temporary Committee on Climate Change, said at the European Union's embassy in Beijing that he found after talks that China was ready to engage in the reduction of emissions of global warming gases, energy-saving, and energy-efficiency.

"One critical issue remains, however," said Sacconi. "The fact that, at this stage, China still considers that the current structure of the Kyoto Protocol should be maintained and developing countries, including emerging economies, should have no quantitative commitments."

Sacconi headed the committee delegation that discussed with Chinese officials an international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012 as well as other climate change issues.

Sacconi said China "acknowledges the importance of cooperation with industrialized countries on technology and technology transfer and the need for financial assistance in this field".

A smart energy technology center would be established in Beijing by the European Union, Sacconi added.

Committee rapporteur Karl-Heinz Florenz said, "I got the impression that the Chinese authorities are adopting and implementing legislation to successfully start the fight against climate change."

Florenz said this year and next were "decisive" for climate change negotiations. "In view of the UN Climate Change Convention Conference in Bali next December, I was happy to learn that for China the United Nations is the forum for the international negotiations on climate change.

"It is in our mutual interest to succeed in the fight against climate change."

The delegation, which arrived on Monday, left China on Wednesday after talks with Chinese officials from the National Reform and Development Commission, Ministry of Science and Technology, Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of the National People Congress, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

(Xinhua News Agency November 8, 2007)

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