Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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BEIJING – China and the US agreed ambitious greenhouse gas emission targets on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement, with Beijing setting a goal for its emissions to peak “around 2030”.

It is the first time China — the world’s biggest polluter — has set a date, even approximate, for its emissions to stop increasing, and the White House said China would “try to peak early”.

At the same time the US set a goal to cut its own emissions of the gases blamed for climate change by 26-28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

The declaration came as President Barack Obama met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for talks in Beijing.

China will look to “increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20 percent by 2030”, the White House said. The proportion stood at 10 percent last year, Chinese officials have previously said.

Scientists argue that drastic measures must be taken if the world is to limit global warming to the UN’s target of two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels, and failing to do so could have disastrous results.

China and the US, which together produce around 45 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide, will be key to ensuring that a global deal on reducing emissions after 2020 is reached in Paris next year.

The two countries have long been at loggerheads over global targets, with each saying the other should bear more responsibility for cutting emissions of gases blamed for heating up the atmosphere.

Wednesday’s promises are equally fraught with challenges.

While the US — which never ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change — has pledged to cut emissions in the past, goals have shifted or been missed altogether.

Its greenhouse gas emissions increased last year, despite Washington setting emissions reduction goals during a climate summit in 2009.

The deadline for Obama’s new pledge is in more than a decade’s time but he only has two years left in his presidency and faces a Congress controlled by opposition Republicans in both houses, which will make passing crucial environmental legislation more difficult.

Much of his action on climate change so far has been done with executive orders rather than co-operation from an often confrontational legislature.

While it was the first time China agreed to a target date for emissions to peak — officials have previously only spoken of doing so “as soon as possible” — the commitment was qualified, leaving considerable room for manoeuvre.

China has trumpeted its efforts to reduce dependence on coal and oil in the past, and is the world’s largest hydropower producer, with a growing nuclear sector.

But economic growth remains a vitally important priority and has seen demand for energy soar.

The European Union pledged last month to reduce emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.

But efforts to make meaningful progress on climate change will by stymied unless the US sets “a concrete and ambitious” goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, Connie Hedegaard, EU climate commissioner, said in October.

The EU accounts for 11 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 16 percent for the United States and 29 percent for China.

Rail deal with China

Posted by pakin On November - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

CHINA HAS agreed to help Thailand build dual-track railway lines and medium-speed train projects via government-to-government deals, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.

The deal was reached when Prayut met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Beijing.

The project was discussed in the context of the Beijing-sponsored land and maritime “Silk Road” to expand trade routes from China throughout the region and to Europe, he said.

“Chinese leaders said Thailand and China should cooperate on the project to have regional physical links, since we already have the routes, so we just [need to] upgrade and improve them,” Prayut told reporters.

“China agreed to cooperate and fully support the development of double 1.435-metre standard-gauge [rail lines] to complete the linkage between China and Asean.”

Prayut said his government had plans to build many rail lines and China agreed to support the construction of routes from Bangkok to Nong Khai and from Bangkok to Map Ta Phut, as well as a sub-route from Kaeng Khoi to Map Ta Phut on the Eastern Seaboard.

Prayut guaranteed transparency of the project, saying it was a deal between the two governments without private-sector involvement.

“Of course, many countries are interested in development of rail projects but in other routes, not this one.

“We have to talk to them later,” he said.

“What we have to do for the rail system is to increase the length of the rail [lines] and speed of the trains. The single light rail [line], as used currently, must be upgraded to standard gauge and the speed should be 160km/h; for the high-speed trains – 250km/h – we need further study about its viability,” he said.

While in Beijing, Prayut also met executives of three Chinese private firms – C&G, China Northern Locomotive, and China Medical Equipment – to exchange views on investment in Thailand.

The three Chinese conglomerates showed considerable interest, while the Thai prime minister said they must ensure fair benefits for Thais and environment protection.

He said he ordered Thai government agencies such as the Board of Investment to study rules, regulations and laws to facilitate investment by the Chinese firms, based on fair practice.

C&G – a leading waste-to-energy investor and operator in China – told Prayut the company wanted to set up a waste-processing plant in Thailand but it faced restrictions on investment capital.

Initially, the firm wanted to invest Bt3 billion in setting up a plant in the Rojana Industrial Estate or Navanakorn Industrial Estate. However, Thailand has a law that restricts investment capital to Bt2 billion.

Prayut said his regime was amending investment-related law for joint-venture firms, so the Chinese firm could wait for the law to be amended soon. He also called for C&G to consider carefully the health of people and environmental impact on nearby areas.

China Northern Locomotive, which has already sold rolling stock to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, also wants to join the Thailand’s high-speed-rail project.

Prayut said this project had been negotiated under a government-to-government contract, so China Northern should talk with its government.

China Medical Equipment, meanwhile, said it wanted to build a plant in Thailand in the near future to use as a manufacturing base for exports to third countries. So far, this company has only shipped products to Thailand.

Prayut makes investment pitch

Posted by pakin On November - 11 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has proposed what he calls the “Thai Plus One” investment policy to attract foreign direct investment, particularly from China, to the country.

Under the policy, foreigners who invest in Thailand will be offered the chance to invest in a neighbouring country as well.

The government would provide them with investment information and support.

Gen Prayut introduced the policy during a meeting with executives of Thai businesses investing in China and Thailand’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Business Advisory Council Monday in Beijing ahead of the 22nd Apec leader’s summit to be held Tuesday.

Speaking after the meeting, government spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp said Gen Prayut told the business groups the government hoped to boost foreign investment with the Thai Plus One policy.

“We plan to establish five special economic areas along the borders and have seven more in the next phase. As we hold talks with Asean members about transport connectivity, we will also help foreign investors expand their investments to our neighbours if they decide to invest here,” Mr Yongyuth said.

A source said Thailand is the manufacturing base for numerous products exported to developed countries while neighbouring countries, particularly Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, have the potential to meet the supply chain development needs of investors in this region.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayut held a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang on Sunday evening.

Mr Li reaffirmed close ties with Thailand and vowed to support the government and Thais in moving in a political direction which conforms with Thai society and culture, according to Mr Yongyuth.

“The two premiers also agreed in principle to promote three aspects of cooperation, covering Thai-Chinese connectivity, regional connectivity and cooperation in trade and investment, especially agricultural products,” he said.

Also on Monday, Gen Prayut held bilateral talks with Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill and Philippine President Benigno Aquino on economic cooperation, during which they pledged to deepen trade and investment ties.

Gen Prayut on Sunday also met Thai businessmen and students in Beijing, saying the coup was aimed at solving the country’s problems and undertaking reform.

“I intend to resolve the rift among Thais while enforcing the law with fairness to return our country to a peaceful state,” he said.

“We have met some obstacles as I have been accused of being a brutal person and seeking power. However, I have remained patient because I was taught to do everything for the sake of the nation,” Gen Prayut said.

PM backs China’s road and rail plans

Posted by pakin On November - 10 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

In meeting with president xi, prayut promises cooperation for dual-track railway project

THAILAND is more than ready to cooperate with China to develop the road-transport network that is part of the economic quadrangle linking Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told China’s President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing yesterday.

Prayut, who arrived in this Chinese capital yesterday to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, met Xi and told him that Thailand appreciated China’s strategies in developing the R3A route – which when constructed could become one of the world’s prominent economic routes. China has been hailed for initiating the land and sea ‘Silk Roads’. The route would link China and Thailand through Laos.

Route R3A is part of the so-called North-South Economic Corridor that will link Thailand with Laos and China. The road route from China’s Kunming will cross the Mekong River at Huay Xai in Laos at the Friendship Bridge and enter Thailand at Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai province.

Government Spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp quoted Prayut as referring to a proposed railway project, that Bangkok was ready to cooperate with China in developing the dual-track rail link that would connect Thailand, China and other countries.

Prayut also thanked Beijing for continuously importing Thai agricultural products particularly fruit, jasmine rice, and rubber, the spokesman said. Both leaders agreed to hold further talks in a bid to alleviate problems and obstacles in bilateral trade of agricultural products between the nations.

Beijing was told that Bangkok backed its policy to use of the yuan as a common currency of Asia, the spokesman said, adding China would support business transactions in yuan to decrease currency exchange risks and costs. “They also hope the agreement on the Chinese Yuan and the Thai Baht Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement which will expire next month, could be extended.”

Referring to the education cooperation between the countries, the spokesman said Thailand and China agreed to expand cooperation on science, technology, research and innovation because China had advanced technology and a forum could be held so scientists from both countries could work and study together more closely.

China also wanted to support the development of Thailand’s vocational education.

Prayut also invited his Chinese counterpart to attend the Great Mekong Sub-region Summit to be held in Thailand on December 19-20, the spokesman said.

At the summit, Thailand is expected to push for the development of transport corridors to be considered economic corridors and border special economic zones. It is also expected to raise the human trafficking issue in the region. Prayut and other leaders kick off the Apec Summit today, during which they are expected to boost trade cooperation between member countries.

Meanwhile, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said yesterday that there would be no “major announcement” on a Washington-backed Asia-Pacific free-trade deal during a meeting of leaders from the region in Beijing this week.

Few expected that a deal on the ambitious 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could be reached this year, largely because of a deadlock between the pact’s two biggest economies, the US and Japan, over how widely Japan will open its doors to farm exports. Business leaders, however, have been looking for indications of momentum on TPP talks at Apec’s minister meetings held on Friday and Saturday.

“There certainly will not be a final agreement, an agreement, a major announcement,” Froman told reporters during an Apec briefing when asked about the TPP talks.

“This is an opportunity when we have leaders altogether in one place for them to take stock of where they are and give political impetus to complete the rest of the negotiations.”