VILNIUS (AFP) – The European Union said Wednesday that China, the world's largest carbon emitter, was willing to cooperate more closely to address climate change worldwide ahead of a key global pact due in 2015.
Following talks with China's top climate negotiator Xie Zhenhua, EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said Beijing understood the competitive advantage of shifting to a low carbon economy.
"(Xie) said very clearly that to go low carbon, that spells opportunity, that is the way we must have growth in the 21st century," she told reporters.
The meeting, also attended by EU environment ministers, took place in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius. The Baltic state took over the rotating half-year EU presidency this month.
In an effort to curb global warming, the world community hopes to draw up a new, universal climate pact by 2015, which would take effect by 2020.
China and the United States agreed in April to establish a joint working group on climate change, saying they agree on the "increasing dangers" of global warming.
Hedegaard said Wednesday that Brussels was ready to share its experience with China, which has been accelerating efforts to tackle the issue.
"We are putting a lot of emphasis on ... specific cooperation: what do we do with the emissions trading scheme, how can we help them build that in China," she said.
Lithuanian Environment Minister Valentinas Mazuronis, who chaired the talks, told reporters the meeting was "an important step" towards deeper ties.
"(Xie) said clearly that China is ready for constructive and active cooperation with EU countries in dealing with climate change."