Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Groups Say U.S.-China Energy & Climate Deals Are Significant

Jan 22: Both the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Center for American Progress (CAP) are saying that the recent "deals" announced by China's President Hu and President Obama on Hu's visit to the United States represent significant progress on global energy and climate issues [See WIMS 1/21/11].
    In a blog posting analyzing the recent events, NRDC said, "Significant steps have been taken in establishing meaningful, concrete clean energy cooperation projects since President Obama's visit to Beijing in November 2009, when a number of important US-China clean energy agreements were signed. In their joint statement, both countries 'applauded the progress made in clean energy and energy security since the launch of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, Renewable Energy Partnership, U.S.-China Joint Statement on Energy Security Cooperation, and Energy Cooperation Program.' And they agreed to work together to support the implementation of the Cancun Agreements and support efforts to achieve a positive outcome at the December 2011 climate change conference in South Africa."
    In a similar analysis CAP said, "What shouldn't be missed about Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States this week are the deals cut on clean energy among U.S. and Chinese companies and continuing collaboration between the two countries. Cooperation on clean energy between the world's two largest economies represents a win-win for the two countries. The clean energy agreements on technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration and natural gas provide billions of dollars in sales and export content. They benefit large and small U.S. companies while helping China grow in a more sustainable manner."

    NRDC highlights several announcements on US-China clean energy cooperation during the state visit which they say demonstrate progress on new and continuing programs. They highlight the following specifically:
  • The three US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) consortia finalized their work plans on building efficiency, advanced coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS), and clean vehicles.
  • The announcement of two new Ecopartnerships: "The City of Charlotte, the State of North Carolina, and Duke Energy will form a three-tiered EcoPartnership with the City of Langfang, Hebei Province, and ENN/Xin'ao Group to exchange policy best practices (e.g., renewable portfolio standards), carry out joint demonstration projects (e.g., residential building efficiency demonstrations), and conduct trials for innovative clean energy technologies (e.g., exploring more effective ways to deploy smart meters). . . .  Case Western Reserve University will cooperate with the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation to research new energy efficiency techniques and new methods of lowering greenhouse gas emissions." (See Duke Energy's announcement, Case Western's news release and the list of existing Ecopartnerships.) 
  • An agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Development and Reform Commission, and other Chinese agencies to cooperate on next generation aviation biofuels, congestion and multimodal transportation planning, and livable communities.   
  • A Statement of Intent between US DOE and China's Ministry of Science and Technology on data sharing for electric vehicle demonstrations projects between the cities of Los Angeles and Shanghai that will accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles.
  • Announcement of a joint U.S.-China Eco-city Initiative between the U.S. DOE and China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, under which both sides will develop guidelines and policies to support the integration of energy efficiency and renewable energy into city design and operation.
    CAP cautions however, "While this collaboration is undoubtedly good, the United States is slowly losing its competitive edge in clean energy technology. HSBC bank projects that the global low-carbon market will triple to $2.2 trillion by 2020 as investor uncertainty is replaced with optimism that governments around the world will seriously begin to tackle climate change. But it points to the United States as a "significant outlier" in establishing low-carbon growth policies because of its failure to pass clean energy and climate legislation amid conservative attacks in Congress, which threaten to roll back existing authority to limit pollutants through the Clean Air Act."

    CAP continues saying, "Lack of U.S. clean energy policies and threats to rollback existing regulations increase investor uncertainty and reduce domestic demand for these technologies. This threatens clean energy technology innovation in our country -- to the extent that we may well miss this next industrial revolution. The United States can't afford to fall behind in innovation and lose job-creating opportunities. We must strengthen and enact clean energy policies to drive demand and innovation so that we can remain competitive in this emerging worldwide market and boost domestic economic growth. China, Germany, and other countries are surging ahead in the clean energy race."

    NRDC concludes, "The announcements this week during President Hu's visit remind us that China and the United States have much to benefit by cooperating on clean energy and climate, and that both bring enormous talents and resources to these endeavors.  While there are bound to be some differences between the countries on climate and energy issues in the future, the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, Ecopartnerships, and the many other public and private clean energy initiatives between our two countries make clear how much we each have to offer the other in the fight to address climate change and to secure a cleaner, more secure and healthier future for our people. These agreements will lead to tangible deployment of low-carbon technologies in both countries which will benefit not only the US and China, but also the world."

    Access the detailed posting from NRDC with many links to specifics (click here). Access the detailed posting from CAP with many links to specifics (click here). Also access a World Resources Institute posting analyzing U.S.-China Clean Energy Cooperation and CCS with many details and links (click here).

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