China and EU take low-carbon step

China and the EU have agreed a partnership that should see both parties develop and demonstrate "zero emissions" coal technology by 2020. CO2 would be captured from coal-fired power plants and stored in exhausted oil or gas fields or geological strata.

BP and Scottish and Southern Energy have already announced plans for a carbon capture project in Scotland, and another is planned in Germany.

The agreement also aims to promote new energy technologies and reduce their cost, helping China achieve its goal to halve energy intensity by 2020.

Without that shift, China's emissions from coal use are expected to double by 2030. The country is already the world's second largest emitter of CO2 after the USA, and is set to build up to 50,000MW of new power capacity each year.

The deal follows an Asian-US agreement promoting low-carbon technologies - seen by some as a threat to the Kyoto Protocol (ENDS Report, 367, p49). However, the EU and China have agreed to promote action under the Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism.

WWF said the deal was "firmly placed in the context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and future international climate negotiations."

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