Friends of the Earth has welcomed the announcement of a new EU and China Partnership on Climate Change.

The deal, announced at the bilateral summit in Beijing, China, includes concrete targets on the development and deployment of clean energy technology, and a commitment to the objectives and framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Partnership includes an agreement on the development of “zero emissions” coal technology based on carbon dioxide capture and storage, as well as co-operation on promoting energy efficiency, energy conservation and new and renewable energy. Friends of the Earth said that the deal was a welcome step forward and acknowledged that given China’s growing energy requirements, the use of clean coal technology may be a necessary, if short-term solution.

But it added that internationally agreed criteria on storage standards and site selection were needed before carbon storage could go ahead. The environmental campaign group also said more emphasis should be given to the development and promotion of renewable energies. Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Tony Juniper said: “This deal is a welcome step forward in international measures to tackle climate change and could bring about real positive action in tackling carbon dioxide emissions in China and the EU.

China’s growing energy use and heavy reliance on coal mean that clean coal technology may be a necessary short-term solution. But greater assistance in developing renewable technologies is essential in the long term. “The EU and China must now use this progress as an important stepping stone to take forward negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol in Montreal this December. With EU help, China is in a prime position to develop a low carbon economy and set a model for future development for the rest of the world.”

The environmental campaign group added that it was crucial for Tony Blair to also take action at home to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to introduce a legal framework for annual cuts in carbon dioxide emissions as part of the Big Ask Campaign.