China working with EU to cut carbon emissions

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One of the world’s largest economic powerhouses has reportedly struck a deal with the European Union to cut greenhouses gases.

According to Reuters, the European Commission has announced that China will partner with the EU to develop initiatives like Chinese emissions trading schemes.

China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. The EU and China have often reportedly clashed over climate policy. Beijing has scorned the EU law requiring all airlines using European airports to pay for their emissions through the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

But at the same time, Reuters reports that the two sides have maintained an uneasy dialogue, including an EU-China summit in Brussels this week.

The Commission reportedly wants partnerships with other emissions schemes as part of efforts to boost its own ETS, on which the price of carbon has sunk far below the levels required to spur green investments.

Last month, Reuters reports that it agreed to link its ETS with Australia’s scheme by 2018.

The news agency quotes EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. She says the Chinese financing deal is “an important step for an ever closer cooperation towards a robust international carbon market”.

“Needless to say that it makes a significant difference when now also China wants to use carbon markets to reduce emissions cost-effectively and boost low-carbon technologies,” she said in a statement.

The European Union says it will contribute 25 million euros ($33 million) and technical assistance over a four-year period to three carbon-reduction projects.

Apart from helping with the design and implementation of emissions trading schemes in China, Reuters notes that the other projects are designed to assist Chinese cities to become resource-efficient and to cut water and heavy-metal pollution.

There are reports that the EU’s decision to include aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme has drawn international criticism and threats of a trade war.

Reuters reports that the United States is debating blocking legislation that would shelter its airlines from respecting the EU law, although it has so far grudgingly complied. Meanwhile, China and India reportedly missed a deadline earlier this year to submit data.

All sides are reportedly looking to the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to come up with an alternative global scheme to curb airline emissions, which the EU says would enable it to drop its requirements.

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