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UK's Brown hails environmental work with China

SHANGHAI, China- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed a new era of environmental cooperation between Britain and China on Saturday and called for a renewed drive for a world trade deal.Brown visited a highly efficient gas-fired power station in Beijing and studied the plans for an environmentally friendly town to be built near Shanghai to underline his keenness to cooperate with China on fighting global warming.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown addresses the media during a news conference in Shanghai Urban Planning museum January 19, 2008. Brown hailed a new era of environmental cooperation between Britain and China on Saturday and called for a renewed drive for a world trade deal. (REUTERS/ Nir Elias)

"We now enter this new era of environmental cooperation," Brown told a news conference in Shanghai after listening to a presentation on Dongtan, billed as the world's first eco-city.

Construction is due to start early this year at Dongtan, designed by British engineering firm Arup. It will use renewable energy and will not allow gasoline-fuelled cars.

It is the first of a number of low-carbon eco-towns being planned by both Britain and China, the second biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the United States.

Brown, who flies to India on Sunday, pleaded for progress in slow-moving talks on a new world trade agreement.

"I would like the talks which have now been stalled for some months to resume," he said.

All sides would have to compromise to reach a deal but the differences can be bridged, Brown said.

"In the next few weeks I will ... talk to all the potential players as I've done with the Chinese government, as I will do tomorrow with the Indian government, (about) the importance of us moving forward to a trade agreement as soon as possible."

The talks have been held up by disputes between rich and poor countries over the speed of opening up their markets.


"The worst thing that could happen to the global economy, facing the turbulence that it has over the last few months, is for people to feel it is going to retreat into a new protectionism...," Brown said.

Brown said on Friday that Britain would welcome more trade and investment from China, including from its new $200 billion sovereign wealth fund, a state-run investment agency.

Britain and British companies are already working with China on clean energy initiatives and agreements signed by China and Britain during Brown's visit aim to increase that cooperation.

One agreement commits Britain to provide at least 50 million pounds ($100 million) to support investment in energy efficiency and clean energy projects in China. Under a second accord, the two countries will collaborate on developing low carbon cities.

Brown's government has proposed the world's first climate change law which requires Britain to cut climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

Major developing countries such as China have been loath to agree to firm targets for emissions cuts that could hold back their rapid economic growth.

But last month U.N.-led talks in Bali approved a roadmap for negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol that would widen the treaty to the United States, China and India.

Brown also visited the 91,000-seat Bird's Nest National Stadium, a centrepiece of this year's Beijing Olympics.

Brown, accompanied by his wife, Sarah, and British double gold medal-winning athlete Kelly Holmes, was given a 20-minute tour of the $400 million stadium complex.

"This is going to be one of the greatest Olympic Games ever," said Brown.

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