Economic growth in China and other Asian countries has had an enormous, positive effect on nearly all of its inhabitants. The downside of this, however, is the contribution it has made to the serious degradation of the environment. The World Bank has estimated pollution costs in China to be 7-8 percent of the GDP. It is clear that significant technological leaps forward are necessary to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
China must respond to this challenge and has therefore presented its first action plan for climate change and has established several targets for energy efficiency, renewable energies and carbon intensity of the economy. However, China and other Asian countries need contributions from developed countries to respond to the environmental challenges.
Sino–Norwegian environmental cooperation was established in 1995 and has involved a number of institutions and experts from both countries to the benefit of both sides. Earlier on the focus was on air and water pollution; in later years on climate change, hazardous substances and biodiversity, as well as cooperation to promote the development of environmental technologies and low-carbon economies.
Several Norwegian businesses and institutions have representatives working independently and in partnerships in China. Norway can offer China and other countries internationally competitive environmental technologies within shipping, offshore oil and gas, aquaculture and waste and water treatment. Norway is also well positioned in areas such as renewable energy, air pollution prevention and information and monitoring technologies. Norwegian companies have advanced knowledge within areas of management systems, industrial control, certification, etc.
It is a global problem that the environmental costs of pollution are not fully reflected through economic measures and regulations. For instance, climate change is the largest imperfection of the world economy, as stated in the Stern report. Therefore, the authorities have the challenging task of developing systems and constraints that reflect the environmental damage done. This is essential for promoting sustainable development and low-carbon economies, and will at the same time create a market for environmental technologies and thus stimulate development and trade in such technologies.
We aim to actively integrate environmental concerns into all Norwegian bilateral cooperations and contact with China and other Asian countries. In this context cooperation in research and development in the environmental field and in relation to environmental technologies will be further developed.
In the coming years we will further strengthen our cooperation with China, in particular in the field of climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energies and climate friendly technologies, as a follow-up to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s visit in March, 2007.
This summer the Norwegian Government adopted a new China strategy, where it is stated that Norway will “actively seek to exploit the cooperation in the field of energy and the environment, in sectors where Norway is in the forefront, such as environmental and energy technology and the maritime and marine sector.”