[holding answer 18 May 2007]: We are making progress, but there is still a long way to go. The spring European Council showed significant developments at the European level and real leadership by the EU. The EU committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2020 as part of an international agreement and agreed an independent commitment to cut emissions by at least 20 per cent.
In the G8, we are continuing to work with the German presidency to achieve our climate change objectives, which we began to set out at Gleneagles in 2005. We are aiming for the Heiligendamm summit in June to send a clear signal to the UN climate change conference in Bali in December on the need to launch negotiations on a global and comprehensive post-2012 agreement, to be completed by 2009.
In parallel, we are working, both bilaterally and through the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC), to engage countries in order to raise the level of global ambition to respond to the threat of global warming, as set out in the recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change. For example, we are working with South Africa to explore what a post-2012 agreement could look like.
A key international objective for the UK is to ensure that Chinese engagement helps enhance efforts towards making the transition to a sustainable low carbon economy globally as well as shaping an effective international regime to tackle climate change.
In order to do this we are engaged with China through a number of channels including:
(i) The sustainable development dialogue(SDD). Examples of joint working, include a workshop on sustainable consumption and production, establishment of a joint working group on sustainable forestry, discussions with the Chinese Ministry of Construction on sustainable urban development and a project at provincial level to share the UK’s experience on waste management and resource efficiency.
(ii) The UK-China working group on climate change. This is helping by feeding into discussions and activities under the Gleneagles Dialogue, the EU-China Partnership on climate change and the United Nations framework convention on climate change.
(iii) The near-zero emissions coal (nZEC) project which aims to demonstrate coal fired power generation with carbon dioxide capture and storage technology in China by 2020.
(iv) The UK is working with China on a bilateral project on climate change impacts. It has already gone some way towards revealing the effect of climate change on Chinese agriculture;
(v) The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), a multi-country initiative that covers China, India, the whole G7, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. REEEP delivers projects on the ground that demonstrate the potential for reform of energy policy and financing frameworks in a sustainable way.