China Pledges To Strengthen Efforts To Combat Global Warming

China is world's largest producer and consumer of coal.

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel promoted Europe's ambitious plans to combat climate change in talks with China's premier, who pledged that his country would increase its own efforts, Merkel's office said Tuesday.

Merkel - whose country chairs both the European Union and the Group of Eight - spoke by telephone on Monday with Premier Wen Jiabao and set out this month's decisions by an EU summit, her office said.

Wen ''promised strengthened efforts of (China's) own to protect the climate and constructive cooperation with the German G-8 presidency with a view to the summit in Heiligendamm,'' in Germany this June, the statement said.

China is the world's biggest consumer and producer of coal, and is expected to surpass the U.S. as the world's No. 1 greenhouse gas emitter in the next decade, making it a critical part of any global effort to reduce the effects of climate change.

The German leader has expressed hope that the EU's moves will inspire action by others - particularly the United States and China.

Beijing's position could be key in hopes to win over the U.S., since Washington rejected the Kyoto Protocol aimed at limiting greenhouse gases because it did not include developing countries - and economic competitors - such as China and India.

Merkel has said she hopes to achieve more progress on global warming at the G-8 summit. China is one of the key developing countries that the G-8 is working with under Germany's presidency.

EU leaders this month agreed that the bloc's greenhouse gas emissions would be cut by at least 20 percent from 1990 levels over the next 13 years - and said they could fall by 30 percent if other countries join.

They pledged that a fifth of the 27-nation bloc's energy would come from renewable sources by 2020.

Merkel's office did not say what steps China might take.

Last month, a top Chinese government scientist said Beijing was concerned about global warming but lacked the money and technology to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions significantly.

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