Friday, June 26, 2009

EU-China Climate Change Cooperation

A few weeks ago, at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing, Ken Lieberthal, an expert on China's domestic policy, cited demonstration projects on carbon capture and sequestration(CCS) as a way for the US and China to develop a stronger bilateral relationship on climate change.

Well, the EU beat the US to the punch. The AFP reports:

The European Commission announced Wednesday that it would provide financing up to 50 million euros (70 million dollars) to help China build a coal-fired power plant equipped with new technology to give it near-zero emissions

The total cost of a single plant to be built and operated over 25 years is estimated by the European Commission to be between 330-550 million euros. This €50 million investment is a substantial investment. The European Commission's press release even announces that:

The Commission will work closely with China, Member States, other European Economic Area (EEA) countries and industry to secure the additional financing required...This investment scheme could serve as a model for other technology cooperation activities between developed countries and emerging/developing countries in the context of a post-2012 climate change agreement. (italics mine)

Clearly, the EU is seeking to take a leadership role in developing CCS technology internationally giving it greater power to shape international norms as well as provide a breakthroughs into a new potential market. The US Department of Commerce has a report back in 2007 that says:

In light of predicted increases in coal use for electricity production worldwide between 2003 and 2030, as well as overall U.S. competitiveness in emissions abatement equipment and advanced coal-fired power plants, China, India, and South Korea present the greatest value of U.S. exports of CCT in this study, representing approximately $26 billion, $3.5 billion, and $3.2 billion, respectively.

In an effort to halt climate change as well as improve economic relations, the EU, China and India are all taking advantage of climate change as an economic and political opportunity to make profit developing and eventually exporting green technology. This agreement is just another example of states looking at climate change as an incentive for new economic growth and cooperation rather than a zero sum game.

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