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Emissions: taking a collaborative lead will work better

The developing world is urging rich countries to take the lead in tackling climate change, as Jiahua Pan points out in his Opinion article (Nature 461, 1055; 2009). However, in doing so, they should not overlook opportunities for technological collaboration as a means to work towards achieving a global low-carbon economy.

Within the past few weeks, both the United States and China have announced targets to curb their carbon emissions. With the climate-change summit in Copenhagen this week, the world is expecting further dialogue and collaboration on climate change between the two biggest carbon emitters. Developed nations will benefit, in the long run, from technological cooperation with developing countries.

Many carbon-emission reduction technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, are still at an experimental stage, with the United States, Germany and Japan leading their research and development. These countries should expand the scope of their experiments to test commercial feasibility. Many new power plants will be constructed in developing nations, offering a good opportunity for cooperative projects with developed countries to apply new technologies, if agreements can be reached on clean-energy and emissions-reduction programmes.

Such fruitful collaborations on technical projects will increase the chances of successful implementation of practical approaches in addressing climate change.

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For more about the Copenhagen conference, see page 714 and

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Zhu, X. Emissions: taking a collaborative lead will work better. Nature 462, 720 (2009).

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