China and the United States have been urged to "greatly intensify and accelerate" their cooperation on climate change at a national level by a US special envoy for the environment.
"There are a great number of areas for collaboration we look forward to developing the real content for this partnership, which the two countries have agreed to at a very high level of governments," Todd Stern, special envoy on climate change, told China Daily in an exclusive interview in Beijing.
Stern, who was accompanying US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her trip to China, met with Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang yesterday.
Both sides agreed to further cooperation in "a broad range of areas", including clean coal technology, carbon capture and storage, hybrid and electric vehicles, energy efficiency and renewable energies, said Stern.
The two countries could even jointly set up pilot projects in these areas and work together on research and development, he said.
Lu Xuedu, deputy director of the global environmental affairs office at the ministry, said funding and technology transfer were still key elements for a substantial US-China cooperation.
"China is glad to see that the US has started to take concrete action. But without funding and technology, cooperation would end up as empty talk," Lu said.
Speaking of the US position regarding the climate talks in Copenhagen in December, Stern said the Barack Obama administration was committed to "a large-scale, far-reaching and mandatory plan" for clean technologies.
A deal is expected to be reached in the Denmark capital to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which limits the greenhouse gas emissions of 37 industrialized nations, when it expires in 2012.
Stern also urged China to make significant moves, with the country likely to continue to be one of the world's largest emitters in the future. "China has to make a substantial commitment, though I cannot say what exactly the nature of that commitment ought to be," he said.
However, Lu said China, as a developing country, had always kept its promises on combating climate change and had already made tremendous achievements.
And while Stern applauded China's efforts as "very impressive", he said the steps China had been taking needed to be better understood in the US.
(China Daily February 23, 2009)