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British ambassador to China, tackling climate change is compatible with economic recovery - 7 Feb 09  

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Britain's ambassador to China said Friday that "tackling climate change is compatible with economic recovery".

The ambassador's comments come in the wake of the meeting earlier this week in London between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, at which they discussed environmental issues and plans for economic recovery.

Britain's ambassador William Ehrman wrote in an article entitled 'Why tackling climate change is an economic opportunity':"The perceived conflict between protecting economic growth (and jobs) and protecting the environment is being revealed as false."

"Through high-level meetings like the one that took place in London this week, and through the political statements emerging in the U.S., Europe, China and elsewhere, we are seeing the beginnings of an important shift, " said Ehrman, "We are learningthat tackling climate change is not merely compatible with economic recovery: it can actually help to unlock incentives for investment that will accelerate a global recovery and ease our dependence on oil."

According to Ehrman, when Premier Wen and Prime Minister Brownmet in London, they agreed on the importance of openness to free trade and co-ordinated macroeconomic policy responses to stimulate recovery, and used the occasion to reaffirm their commitment to tackling climate change through low carbon development in spite of the economic downturn."And that too is significant." Ehrman said.

"Tackling climate change will require leadership from all major countries in the world, but those countries that move first will be best placed to take full advantage of tomorrow's global economy. Many have already begun to respond."

"President Obama's Green Jobs package sets out new policies to put the U.S.A. on a low carbon path; the EU has already set ambitious targets to reduce our emissions by 60 percent by 2050, with the U.K. committing to do more."

"China too is taking a lead by announcing far reaching reforms to energy pricing policy as well as the inclusion of new money to promote energy efficiency in the fiscal stimulus package," stressed Ehrman in the article.

"Through all these interventions, the form of a sustainable, resilient recovery is becoming clear and its shape is low carbon, with an emphasis on major investment in energy efficiency, a fundamental shift towards renewables and nuclear power, a re-engineering of electricity grids to enable dynamic demand and supply, accelerated roll out of low carbon transport, increased research and development into new energy technologies, and up-graded investment in apprenticeships and science and engineering training programmes to ensure we have the skilled workforce that the low carbon economy will need," said Ehrman.

"Though a good beginning, these are just first steps," said Ehrman, the most recent scientific evidence presented a worsening picture of the sensitivity of the global climate to carbon emissions.

"In order to avert disaster we must, each one of us, redouble our effort," Ehrman stressed, "the U.K. will continue to work with China to achieve this and I am confident that through the collective action of governments, business, and of societies across the world, we can address this challenge."

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Source: Xinhua News Agency