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Climate specialists urge aid for India & China

Jan '07
China and India reaffirmed their support for steps to reduce the effects of climate change, while a leading insurance executive urged transfer of clean-energy technologies to the world's two major emerging economies.

At a special session of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2007, China's Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice-Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, stressed that his country intends to follow the Kyoto Protocol, and urged speeding up negotiations and establishing concrete emission targets.

While China intends to try to keep its emissions low, Zhang said, cement and steel production in China is highly energy intensive, and only around half as efficient as technologies used in the west. To meet its targets, Zhang said, China would need help from the industrialized world.

Montek S. Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, reported that India is increasingly turning to nuclear power to cut its emissions, and that India's strategy is similar to that of China.

But India also expects to suffer from the effects of global warming, he said. “It's clear that business as usual is not going to work,” Ahluwalia declared. His formula: “We should work within the existing system and build on it.”

Jacques Aigrain, Chief Executive Officer of Swiss Re, noted that investments to control climate change are considerably less than the cost of risk-adjusted consequences. “Waiting and seeing because one element or another is not certain is not a valid answer,” said Aigrain. “No shareholders would tolerate this in business. Why should the people tolerate it from us?”

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