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UK-China MoU on low-carbon energy

The UK and China have entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop partnership schemes for promoting low-carbon growth in China.

By Renewable Energy Focus staff

The low-carbon MoU builds on the agreement reached during last year’s UK-China Summit.

UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, says: “Making green growth a reality for both countries will be crucial for prosperity, the environment and for our energy security. Today’s agreement demonstrates that the UK and China want to accelerate this shift to low-carbon and are committed to greater collaboration on energy markets and low-carbon technology.”

The UK-China Low Carbon Co-operation (LLC) will focus on:

  • Low-carbon planning;
  • The use of market mechanisms, including emissions accounting and trading, and wider low-carbon policy frameworks and analysis to encourage low-carbon development and energy efficiency; and
  • Low-carbon standards, low-carbon labelling and procurement to bring about low-carbon consumption.

Initially, the LLC will focus on co-operation between the UK and the following low-carbon pilots in China, which have a total population of 180 million people:

  • Chongqing
  • Guangdong
  • Hubei

The UK and China will work towards establishing a UK-China Low Carbon Co-operation Committee and Action Plan this spring.

Huge impact

Chris Stubbs, Director at environmental consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, comments: “The prospect of the UK and China working together to encourage low-carbon growth is an exciting one. Large economies like China and the US hold the greatest potential for energy demand reduction and decarbonisation. Their overall emissions are simply so large that even a 1% reduction can be huge.”

He continues: “Energy and carbon market transformation requires new technology and expert support for energy users, and this could represent a lucrative opportunity for investors and service providers. If China really starts to get to grips with energy demand reduction and decarbonisation there will be a huge requirement for deployable technology – metering, insulation, low-flow taps, higher efficiency heating, renewable heating and power generation technology – everything involved in delivering the desired outcome.”

WSP’s Global Director of Energy & Sustainability Services, Peter Sharratt, adds: “In the past it’s proved a lot harder than we all imagined to turn global low-carbon initiatives into real action, but there is a new sense that China really means business when it comes to sustainability.

“Both countries have a lot to gain – helping China create a domestic market for sustainable consumption will create a growth export market for UK expertise, while we need China to produce the affordable low-carbon technologies that we need to drive down our own emissions. What’s new about the LLC initiative is the emphasis on getting the policy right as essential to stimulating sustainable growth.”

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