Low-carbon programs foster links with EU

Updated: 2011-03-17 11:08

By Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)

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LONDON - The green goals in China's new five-year plan present opportunities for European and Chinese businesses.

"With China pushing low-carbon growth up the political and business agenda, there are considerable opportunities for UK businesses with low-carbon knowledge, capability, and commercial expertise," said Susan Haird, acting chief executive of UK Trade & Investment, in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

"It is important that we continue to increase two-way investment between our countries in low-carbon goods and services, as this will lead to the increased growth of a global low-carbon economy," Haird said.

China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) seeks to achieve a more balanced approach to growth and development, focusing greater attention on the environment and sustainable development.

The green and low-carbon sectors have been identified as the core of a new industrial strategy and an important pillar for growth. The plan was approved by the National People's Congress at its annual session on Monday.

"The UK and China must continue to collaborate in development to ensure both our countries' future economic prosperity and environmental security," Haird said.

China and Scotland sealed a major green-energy deal when Vice-Premier Li Keqiang visited the United Kingdom in January.

The agreement, worth 6.4 million ($10.3 million), will see technology pioneered in Scotland used at a new renewable-energy conversion plant in China.

The licensing deal was reached between the Sino-Scottish company Shanghai Huanuan Boiler and Vessel Co/Cochran and the Scotland-based W2E Engineering, which specializes in generating electricity from domestic refuse.

Like the UK, some European countries' current leadership in low-carbon technologies means that they can be first in line to benefit from the growth in China's green markets.

China and Germany signed a deal to cooperate on low-carbon product certification in October 2009, the first such foreign cooperative program undertaken by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Stephen Phillips, CEO of the China-Britain Business Council, said China needs to develop an effective eco-cities and green building program, and in recent years the Chinese government has taken a number of policy initiatives in this area with the active engagement and support of European organizations and companies.

"The priority placed on these areas in the new five-year plan, therefore, means that the scale of the opportunities for Europe and European businesses are very significant," Phillips said.

Under the 12th Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government will introduce hard environmental targets. Europe will benefit from China's contribution to curbing greenhouse-gas emissions globally.

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Regarding ways that Europe and China can cooperate in developing low-carbon technology, Martin Townsend, director of BRE Environmental Assessment Method, mentioned that "shared research to ensure that we are increasing the innovation cycles for the technologies that we need to put in place."

BRE is an independent research-based consultancy and training organization that offers expertise in environmental assessment of buildings and associated industries.

"Low-carbon development presents a number of technological challenges and it will require a great deal of effort to overcome these and see the gains of reduced carbon-dioxide emissions," said Peter Madigan, head of Renewable UK.

Business leaders also agree that Chinese renewable-energy companies will benefit from these overseas investments because new innovative technologies will be generated for use back in the domestic market.

According to Haird, an example of this is the deepwater offshore wind energy development taking place off the UK coast. This massive project requires substantial research and development (R&D).

Joint collaboration on this R&D will produce technology that can be used in the development of the Chinese offshore wind industry in the future, said Haird.

Many UK multinational corporations are already supporting China's low-carbon development through investment and trade. They are working with provincial and city authorities on low-carbon urban infrastructure and planning.


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