03 MAY 2011
SEOUL — Pressure from a growing middle class will encourage China's leaders to push ahead with cleaning up the environment, the European Union's climate action commissioner said Tuesday.
Beijing also acknowledges the need to combat climate change and sees big business opportunities in green energy projects, Connie Hedegaard told a briefing during a visit to South Korea.
China, the world's second largest economy, is the top producer of carbon emissions blamed for climate change. But it is also the world's green investment leader, according to a survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Hedegaard cited its latest five-year plan, which envisages major pilot projects to test market-based "cap and trade" emissions control systems.
"I believe China has realised there is a limit to how much it can grow its economy without taking into consideration energy considerations, environmental considerations, air pollution, water quality, things like that," she said.
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