By: Sun Xiaohua and Jia Hepeng


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[BEIJING] In a move to strengthen its strategies to cope with climate change, China yesterday (14 June) released a scientific and technological action plan.

It clarifies the science and technology (S&T) aspects of China's recent climate change initiative (see China rejects emissions caps in climate plan).

"Science and technology is one of the basic and fundamental approaches to effectively address climate change," said science and technology minister Wan Gang at a press conference.

According to Wan, his ministry has spent US$600 million since 2006 on science and technology projects to combat global warming — almost twice that spent between 2001 and 2005 — though he did not specify any targets for spending in the coming years.

The total S&T budget will be bigger because money is also spent by the National Natural Science Foundation, the China Meteorology Administration and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Wan said the S&T projects in the climate plan focus on raising energy efficiency, developing renewable and clean energy, exploring clean coal technology, carbon capture and sequestration, absorbing carbon biologically and cutting greenhouse gas emissions through improved farming methods.

The projects will also support key policy issues related to climate change.

The country plans to operate pilot projects of climate change adaptation in key industries and vulnerable regions — such as agriculture and arid northwestern China — by 2010.

By 2020, China vows to have developed independently-owned and widely-applied technology to control greenhouse gas emissions. By then, the country hopes that the capacity of those key industries and regions to cope with climate change will be enhanced.

Zhang Chengyi, a leading scientist at the National Climate Centre, part of the China Meteorology Administration — welcomes the move.

"The increased funding for climate change science is definitely good news to encourage Chinese scientists to make more contributions to this area," says Zhang.

He told SciDev.Net that the increased funding should be spent more transparently and publicly, so that the most capable researchers can obtain it.