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Ministerial visit Learning from each other: China-Switzerland

Doris Leuthard spoke to Xuejun Zhou, the vice-minister for water management

(swissinfo.ch)

On an official visit to China, Swiss environment minister, Doris Leuthard, has applauded progress the Chinese are making to reduce air pollution.

Her three-day visit included meetings with the Chinese Vice-President Li Yuanchao and several ministers.

She made a stop in the south Chinese city of Shenzhen to see seven pilot projects that are part of an emissions trading scheme. A nationwide system is expected to be in place next year.

In an address at the Swiss embassy in Beijing, the Swiss minister said China could learn from Switzerland’s experience with sustainable energy, particularly Swiss knowledge of hydroelectricity.

She said China was still beset by traffic problems and air pollution, mentioning that the country was the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases. But when questioned by swissinfo.ch on what changes she had noticed from her previous visits she answered that air quality had improved.

Asked what Switzerland could learn from China, she said she was impressed by how quickly decisions are taken compared to the slow pace of change in Switzerland. “But the Chinese also make plans for the long-term, which I think is very good.”

swissinfo.ch and agencies with input from Xudong Yang in Beijing

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