A bilateral agreement to "encourage and develop" the capture and storage of CO2 from coal-fired power stations will take centre stage at the 6th EU-China Energy conference in Shanghai.

China’s coal use and its effects on the environment and the global economy Technologies to fight climate change - Clean coal technologies are set to take centre stage in Shanghai on 20-21 February when policy makers and industrialists meet for the 6th EU-China Energy conference.

On the margins of the conference, the European Commission will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese government to encourage the development of technology using capture and underground storage of carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power stations.

"By reducing the environmental impact of coal, it will remain a viable part of our energy mix for some time," said EU energy Commission Andris Piebalgs. According to the Commission, coal currently accounts for 70% of China's energy consumption, a proportion which is likely to remain high as China has few reserves of oil and natural gas. China is the second largest world consumer of energy after the United States. Other issues to be addressed at the conference include: security of energy supplies; promoting renewable energy; increasing energy efficiency; strengthening nuclear safety; the interaction between energy, research and environment.

China and the EU have signed a partnership on climate change in September last year at the conclusion of a bilateral summit in Beijing (EurActiv, 5 Sept. 2005). The two agreed to build a demonstration near-zero emissions coal-fired power plant by the year 2020 as well as to cooperate to reduce the cost of key energy technologies.