Australia and China Partner to Address Global Warming

CANBERRA, Australia, September 6, 2005 (ENS) - The Australian government is encouraging corporations to enter the Chinese renewable energy market under more than A$1 million dollars worth of new projects announced Monday by Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell.

Four new joint projects between Australia and China have been formally agreed under Australia’s Bilateral Climate Change Partnerships Programme.

Campbell

Australian Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell (Photo courtesy Office of the Minister)
“These projects are particularly important, given that China is the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and is predicted to become the largest emitter within 20 years,” Senator Campbell said.

The funding annoucement was timed to coincide with the 21st Century Forum for China being held in Beijing this week.

President of the Australian Conservation Foundation Professor Ian Lowe, today encouraged China to embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency and reject the myth that nuclear power is a clean alternative to coal.

"China's dream of modernization can be based on a new approach to energy," Professor Lowe said in an address this morning to a sustainable development conference in Beijing, that he is attending at the invitation of the Chinese government.

"Oil and gas are limited resources," Professor Lowe said. "Wasteful use of these fuels and the burning of coal are the main causes of global warming."

The 21st Century Forum for China is held by the Chinese government leadership every five years to discuss policy options for the next five years and long-term planning for the following decade.

This Forum is considering sustainable development for China and the world, while the last examined the impact of globalization on China and Asia.

Lowe

Emeritus professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University in Brisbane, Ian Lowe heads the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences. (Photo courtesy Queensland Academy)
Lowe commended the official Chinese position not to follow the U.S. model of development, which he said involves consuming a disproportionate share of the world's resources to fuel economic growth.

"But China cannot be complacent," Lowe said. "In the last year its GDP grew nine percent, but energy use increased 15 percent and oil consumption grew almost 20 percent."

Lowe, who has received the Prime Minister's Environmental Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement and has served as a referee for the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, warned China against increasing reliance on imported oil and "the dangerous myth that nuclear energy is a clean alternative."

The government of China announced earlier this year that it will construct 39 new nuclear power plants within the next 15 years.

At the same time, China has committed itself to renewable energy development. With the passage of China's Renewable Energy Law in March, the government imposed a national renewable energy requirement could boost the use of renewable energy to 10 percent by the year 2020.

The Australian government is funding four cleaner energy projects with China. One project aims to to reduce excessive fertilizer use while maintaining production with economic, environmental and greenhouse benefits applicable to both countries.

s The Australian government is contributing A$687,500 for the greenhouse component of this $3 million project which, by reducing unnecessary fertilizer use, decreases the potential associated emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with 310 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

The project is being undertaken by the University of Melbourne and a number of Chinese agricultural research organizations, with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, the Australian Agency for International Development and the Australian Greenhouse Office.

Another project will develop a comprehensive guide for companies, called "Pursuing Renewable Energy Business In China." It aims to improve market opportunities for the Australian renewable energy industry in China, and to increase the current capacity of Australian industry to take advantage of opportunities in the Chinese renewable energy sector.

windfarm

A wind energy consulting company based in Canberra, WindLab Systems Pty Ltd, provides turnkey wind energy solutions from two former CSIRO government scientists. (Photo courtesy CSIRO)
Subject to final acceptance of the grant conditions, the project will be implemented by the Australian Business Council for Sustainable Energy and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, with an Australian government grant of $138,000.

A third project aims to improve the representation of the Chinese energy sector, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, in the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) Global Trade and Environment Model.

Implemented by ABARE and the Chinese Energy Research Institute, with an Australian government grant of $100,000, these enhancements to the model’s Chinese energy and emissions database will improve the model’s accuracy, increasing its value as a tool for international climate change policy analysis.

The last project will develop a five-year renewable energy training framework to provide China with a workforce, trained to international standards to meet their expanding demands for renewable energy.

The training framework will be developed by Australian company Global Sustainable Energy Solutions and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, and is supported by an Australian government grant of $96,000.

“These joint projects, focusing on renewable energy and greenhouse emissions from agriculture, aim to enhance both countries’ capacity to take action on climate change, while also providing business opportunities for Australian companies,” Senator Campbell said.

In addition to work with China, Australia has active bilateral climate change partnerships with the United States, Japan, New Zealand and the European Union.

wind farm

China's Nanao wind farm in Guangdong province is one of 43 wind farms in the country. (Photo courtesy Greenpeace)
Campbell encouraged Australian companies to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by the bilateral partnerships. As an example, he said the Pursuing Renewable Energy Business In China project would guide Australian businesses in entering the Chinese renewable energy market.

“The government understands the response to climate change provides significant opportunities for Australian businesses, so I encourage companies with good project ideas to apply to the Australian Greenhouse Office for support under the Bilateral Climate Change Partnerships Program,” the minister said.

Professor Lowe welcomed the Asia-Pacific Partnership, which involves Australia and China as well as the United States and several other countries, as overdue recognition of the need to take climate change seriously, but warned that a focus on technological solutions was no substitute for real targets to cut emissions.

"Under the current arrangement, it does not tackle the urgent task of cutting greenhouse pollution," he said.

"The science shows we need to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050. This is a global challenge," said Lowe. "China has to take it seriously, but so do Australia and the USA, both of which are still acting unacceptably and promoting needless greenhouse pollution."

For more information on Australia’s bilateral climate change partnerships, see: www.greenhouse.gov.au/international/partnerships