China and the UK Tuesday jointly launched a carbon sequestration project for coal-fired power plants in a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The Near Zero Emission Coal project aims to capture the carbon dioxide generated by coal combustion and then pump it deep underground, where it cannot contribute to climate change.
Sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the British government, the project should pave the way for the construction of a demonstration near-zero-emissions plant in China by 2014.
Two million pounds ($4 million) have been injected into the first phase of the project, which will involve building technology models and boosting the country's capacity for carbon dioxide storage during the next two years.
The second phase will involve research on capture and storage options, and plants will be built in the third phase.
"The technology for capturing and storing carbon safely and effectively is developing fast and will eventually become the standard for fossil fuels," Li Gao, director of the Center for China's Agenda 21, which is part of a UN program for sustainable development, said.
"The government will help fund R&D projects to capture and store carbon in the hope of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving efficient use of fossil fuels," Li said.
Barbara Woodward, Britain's deputy ambassador to China, said she welcomed China's desire to reduce the amount of energy it uses per unit of GDP by 20 percent from the 2005 level and pollution by 10 percent by 2010.
"Developed countries should take the lead in cutting emissions and build teamwork with developing countries to tackle climate change," she said at the project's launch ceremony.
Since coal is the dominant source of energy in China, carbon sequestration technology will allow the electrical power industry to develop in a way that does not harm the environment, Su Wenbin, president of Greengen Co, a leading clean energy company, said.