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UK and China speed up collaboration on energy and low carbon

UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey visits Beijing.

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The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey
The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Edward Davey

The UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey has arrived in Beijing for a series of high-level dialogues with China’s top decision makers to consolidate the two countries partnership on low carbon and energy.

During his two-day visit, he will pave the way for stronger bilateral cooperation in offshore wind energy, carbon capture and storage technologies, and a wide range of common areas to drive low carbon growth and reduce green gas emissions. This cooperation will deepen and strengthen the existing relationship between China and the UK on climate change and energy.

This visit comes as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is due to release its landmark fifth assessment report on Friday. The report is expected to provide the world with scientific consensus that urgent action must be taken to tackle the real and immediate threat of climate change.

The Secretary of State said:

One of the main reasons for my visit is to celebrate and deepen the partnership our two countries have forged on tackling climate change. China and the UK face similar challenges and we are both committed to addressing climate change. We need to transform our economies so that they are low carbon and environmentally sustainable, and we must move our energy systems away from dependence on fossil fuels. Working together, we can achieve these transformations more quickly and efficiently.

Existing cooperation includes extensive joint work supporting the development of carbon markets in China; working in support of China’s low carbon pilot cities on policy development, standards and capacity building; joint energy research in cutting edge renewable energy technologies; and UK supported work to help China and other developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

This afternoon, Davey and his Chinese counterpart, Wu XinXiong, Head of the National Energy Administration, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on offshore wind power, the first of its kind that China has ever signed with another country.

The agreement will help remove the technological and market barriers for both countries to accelerate wind power development and unleash significant investment potential for industries. The UK, now the world’s leader in harnessing wind energy, will help China to increase its offshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatt by 2020, which will make China the world’s largest offshore wind market. The UK also welcomes Chinese investment in its offshore wind farms that will need £7 billion by 2020.

Earlier this week, the Secretary of State also announced that the UK has committed up to £35 million of finance from the International Climate Fund to support Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development in Asia with a focus on China and Indonesia. CCS is a critical ‘transformative’ technology to combat climate change. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that on a least cost basis, CCS will be required to deliver 14% of the CO2 savings required by 2050 to enable us to keep global temperature rise at or below 2 °C.

In his visit to Beijing, the Secretary of State will also meet some of China’s top-level green policy makers, legislators, scientists and other stakeholders to discuss collaborative efforts to harness low carbon as a new engine of economic growth.

Beijing is the last stop of the Minister’s week-long visit to China starting from 23 September. In his visits to Chongqing and Shanghai, the Secretary of State focused on bilateral cooperation in green buildings, carbon trading as well as on the science of climate change.

Published 26 September 2013