by Maria Vasileiou
THE HAGUE, May 31 (Xinhua) --- The Netherlands looks forward to closer cooperation among world nations on accelerating the global energy transition to combat climate change, Dutch economy affairs minister Henk Kamp said in an interview with Xinhua.
"Countries around the world must work together to accelerate global energy transition. Clean energy is one of the most direct ways to deal with climate change," Kamp said ahead of a visit to China to attend the eighth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM-8) and Second Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI-2) meetings in Beijing on June 6 and 8.
"Climate change is a global issue. Each country has its own starting point but we all share the same goal," said the Dutch minister who is also responsible for the country's energy portfolio.
He expects the meetings in Beijing to help "strengthen government and business leaders' commitment to accelerate global energy transition."
The CEM, the only regular meeting of energy ministers to discuss clean energy, comes at a critical moment. A G7 meeting earlier this month ended without U.S. commitment on the landmark Paris agreement, the first ever legally binding global climate accord pledging to keep world temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius.
"The meeting is a clear signal that countries realize the importance of a joint global effort to combat climate change," said Kamp.
He hailed China's efforts to decrease the share of coal in its energy mix "earlier than expected" and become the world's largest investor in renewable energy.
"Clean energy technologies are now economically affordable. If we use the right energy policies and learn from each other's experiences, we can afford to be ambitious regarding energy transition," he said.
Kamp plans to put forward how the Netherlands, which regards tackling climate change as a central element of its policy, will contribute to actions implemented by the CEM and MI, while seeking to broaden Dutch cooperation with participating countries on various fields, including wind energy.
"As a densely populated country with a highly developed energy system and infrastructure, the Netherlands can be regarded as a living lab for smart energy solutions," he said.
The Netherlands recently joined the CEM as an observer and will decide on full membership in one year.
During his visit, Kamp also plans to discuss cooperation in the fields of energy, innovation, and aerospace.
For example, "China is speeding up construction of offshore wind farms," he said, calling it an opportunity to cooperate closer because "offshore wind is an area in which Dutch companies are excelling."
The Netherlands also seeks to play a role in forming favorable market conditions both in the Netherlands and in the EU to encourage further investments.
"An open market with a clear regulatory framework helps stimulate needed innovations in a cost efficient way," said the minister.