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German Expert Praises China's Will to Tackle Climate Change

China's newly-released white paper on climate change demonstrates that China has a strong "political will" to tackle global warming, said Miranda Schreurs, a German professor on climate policy.

"Developed countries have a historical responsibility for climate change and they should take the lead and I think that's actually pretty well accepted by Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States too, except that they have to do more," Schreurs, director of the Environmental Policy Research Center at the Free University of Berlin, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The white paper suggests that developed countries should spend at least 0.7 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on helping developing nations address climate change.

"It's probably a realistic number in terms of what needs to be done to tackle climate change," Schreurs said. "It's a good thing for the Chinese government to say that."

The difficulties lie in how to convince those developed countries to pay that amount of money, she said.

"China will have a much better chance of convincing other countries of this kind of target if it comes up with a very strong plan for how this can really help cut China's CO2 emissions," she said.

The expert also praised China's suggestion on establishing a mechanism for technology transfer as it is "very important" and the current system is "too small in scale, too slow and is troubled by bureaucracy problems."

Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, the world faces both challenges and opportunities to address climate change, she said.

One of the challenges is that there will not be "enough money and enough political will" to address climate change, she said.

On the other hand, the financial crisis is prompting rich people and institutions to look for areas with "safer, long-term growth" that include some sustainable sectors, such as wind energy, solar energy and energy efficiency improvement.

"The financial crisis will also make people pay more attention to energy efficiency, as improving energy efficiency can cut costs in the production process," she said.

China has made great progress in improving energy efficiency recently, but if China wants to become still more competitive, it needs to continue improving it, Schreurs said.

"This financial crisis provides a chance for China to strengthen investment in this area, as China has great reserves and a better performing economy than Western countries," she said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2008)

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