Sat, February 21, 2009
China > China & World > Hillary Clinton kicks off Asian tour

Clinton to China: Avoid our mistakes in climate

2009-02-21 11:12:48 GMT2009-02-21 19:12:48 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2nd R) chats with Mark Norbom, President and CEO of General Electric (GE) Greater China, as US Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern (L) and GE President and Regional Executive Jack Wen (R) looks on, during a visit to the Beijing Taiyanggong Gas-fired Thermal Power Plant in Beijing February 21, 2009.[Asianewsphoto/by Xu Jingxing]

BEIJING -- Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed forward a US-China partnership on fighting the global warming here on Saturday, as environmental deterioration has become a security issue for the world.

"The United States, certainly the Obama administration, we want China to grow," Clinton told an audience of dozens of university students and scholars on environment and foreign relations when visiting China's largest gas-fired cogeneration plant.

"What we hope is you don't make the same mistake we made, because I don't think either Chinese and the world can afford that," she noted, referring to the price the industrialized world has paid on environmental deterioration.

Fighting global warming jointly with China is a top issue for Clinton during her 40-hour-long Beijing visit.

In her earlier joint news briefing with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday morning, Clinton had said that they agreed on the need to develop clean energy technology that would use renewable sources and safely store the dirty emissions from burning coal.

During her speech at the Beijing Taiyanggong Gas-fired Thermal Power Plant, Clinton said neither her home country nor the Europe "didn't know any better" to protect the environment during industrialization and growing.

"Now we are smart enough to figure out how to have the right type of growth, sustainable growth, clean energy driven growth."

China and the US are the world's two largest emitters of carbon dioxide, together emitting more than 40 per cent of the world's total.

"I heard a Chinese proverb recently that says 'dig the well before you are thirsty'," Clinton said, urging the two countries joint their hands to fight climate change.

"The 21st century is testing us to determine whether we are smart enough to follow that advice. I think we are," she added, noting President Barack Obama's administration is ready to cooperate on the "thirst for tremendous cooperation with China".

Chinese environmental experts said the Obama administration, compared to its predecessor, are more pragmatic in dealing with the global problem.

"The Obama administration is … trying to take concrete action on environmental protection," Peking University Professor Zhang Haibin who specialized in environmental politics told China Daily.

Zhang suggested China should learn from the US, particularly in research.

Similarly, Clinton also said experts and university students will have "a big role to play" in the US-China future partnership for clean energy.

"I know that your future depends on what decisions we will make now," Clinton told her audience, most of who are young students.

She also said that at the strategic and economic dialogue that the two nations have agreed on in principle, the clean energy issue will be at the center.

The one-year-old Taiyanggong Thermal Power Plant is an efficient, low-emission power and heat generation project that uses US high-technology equipment - General Electric (GE) generators and advanced super-critical gas turbines.

The plant is also China's first gas-fired tri-generation facility in the city centre, providing both electricity and steam for heating in winter and cooling of air-conditioning in summer. Its efficiency is 13 percent higher than the most advanced coal-fired power plant in the world, as media report.

Commenting on the plant, US Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern, who is accompanying Clinton's China visit, said: "This is exactly the kind of thing the US and China should do more together."

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