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Climate co-op highlight of China-US ties: official

Updated: 2014-07-09 20:13
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Climate change is the highlight of the "new model of major-country relationships" between China and the United States, a top economic planner said on Wednesday.

Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, made the remarks at a climate change session during the ongoing China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing.

Both sides have strengthened policy dialogue and experts have exchanged ideas, said Xie, calling the session an important vehicle for February's China-U.S. statement on climate change.

Xie also noted progress in China-U.S. climate cooperation in the past year, including defining major areas of cooperation and clarifying over 30 projects for the next three years.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, also attending, said China and the U.S. faced an important opportunity for a complementary approach to climate change.

In recent years, the world's two largest carbon emitters have improved their cooperative mechanisms. In April 2013 during U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to China, a climate change working group was initiated, headed by Xie and Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change. Companies and research institutes from both sides signed eight partnership agreements on Tuesday covering areas from carbon capture to low-carbon cities.

"In the last couple of years the two sides have tied the knot on 24 green partnerships, and there will be six more tomorrow," said Xie at Wednesday's session.

China actively contributes to the global battle against climate change. Wang Yang noted on Wednesday that the government has climate change high on its agenda and was moving to meet voluntary emission targets with "unprecedented effort".

China's interim climate change goals for 2020 include reducing carbon per unit of GDP, increasing the percentage of non-fossil energy and expanding forests.

By the end of last year, carbon per unit GDP had been cut by 28.5 percent from the 2005 level, equal to 2.5 billion tonnes of emissions. In 2013, 46 percent of the world increase in renewable energy plant took place in China.

On domestic issues such as air pollution, Xie said the U.S. side has the experience and technology to deal with severe smog, and cooperation would be welcomed.