China Environmental News Digest

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Schwarzenegger eyes China clean energy coopSchwarzenegger eyes China clean energy cooperation

BEIJING (Reuters) - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, fresh from a stinging electoral defeat at home, said on Tuesday that China and his home state should work together to develop clean and renewable sources of energy.

The Austrian-born actor-turned-politician is leading a trade delegation to China this week, hoping to sell the world's most populous nation everything from oranges to software as well as hammering home his anti-piracy message.

But Schwarzenegger is hoping the trip, coming on the heels of a loss at the ballot box in which California voters rejected a raft of initiatives he had backed, will breathe new life into his governorship and help him a year ahead of his re-election bid, U.S. analysts have said.

Schwarzenegger's energy goals call for making renewable energy like solar and wind power 20 percent of the state's electricity resources by 2017 -- a plan that has run into legislative opposition.

China, home to 20 of the world's 30 most polluted cities and the world's second largest oil consumer, aims to get one-tenth of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

"China and California face the same challenges of providing clean, abundant, reliable, affordable energy that will sustain our economies and our environment," he told a forum in Beijing.

His China trip has so far mainly yielded only photo opportunities, though he is traveling with a delegation of 75 California companies.

Several major Chinese state-owned newspapers plastered pictures of a beaming Schwarzenegger hugging a girl at a Special Olympics event on their front pages on Tuesday, though they wrote little on what the governor is actually doing in China.

He is also scheduled to visit Shanghai, China's richest and most cosmopolitan city, where he will attend a premier for the latest "Harry Potter" movie, and the former British colony of Hong Kong.

He is accompanied by his wife Maria Shriver, niece of former Democratic President John F. Kennedy.

Schwarzenegger emerged bloodied earlier this month from a special election called to show the Democrat-dominated state legislature he could turn to the people and win if Sacramento did not pass his proposed legislation.

He lost his bet that California voters would enact measures that lawmakers would not.

(Additional reporting by Scott Hillis in San Francisco)

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