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Low Carbon Technology: A Framework for EU-China Dialogue

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Low Carbon Technology: A Framework for EU-China Dialogue

Accelerating the innovation and diffusion of new technology is critical for achieving low carbon and climate resilient development. Europe and China both have a crucial role to play in meeting this global challenge and have been exploring opportunities for closer bilateral cooperation in areas such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Both parties have also been participating actively in negotiations on a possible technology cooperation mechanism under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and in dialogue on innovation and technology in other international fora such as the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change.

To help inform this ongoing international debate, E3G has prepared a new paper, “Low Carbon Technology Cooperation: A Framework for EU-China Dialogue”. The paper explores China’s low carbon technology priorities and provides a conceptual framework for identifying potential areas for closer EU-China cooperation. It also draws lessons and insights from case studies of public and private sector technology initiatives in Europe and China.

Executive Summary

International cooperation for developing and diffusing low carbon technologies is a core element of the global effort to mitigate climate change. As both a leading supplier and user of low carbon technologies, the EU has an important stake in this process. China equally has a crucial role to play as an important emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) as well as being a manufacturing hub and an emerging technology provider and driver of cost reduction.

This paper focuses on the opportunities for technology cooperation between the EU and China, specifically in the area of low carbon technologies for mitigation. The frameworks and approach defined in this paper can also be applied to the development and diffusion of technologies for adaptation. Furthermore, while the discussion focuses on the EU-China relationship, the findings of this paper can inform the broader debate on technology cooperation in the international climate change negotiations.

The focus in the international negotiations is on technology transfer from developed to developing countries. Europe remains at the cutting of edge of innovation and diffusion of many low carbon technologies and much of the analysis in this paper focuses on opportunities to share best practice with China. However it must be recognised that China is ahead of Europe in some areas (e.g. local diffusion of solar water heaters) and catching up fast in others. The future will increasingly be about a two-way flow of ideas and investment and joint R&D of new technologies.

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