United States-China Cooperation

Solar Hops: US-China Cooperation; Provinces Get Going; Suntech Shining Strong

Its been a while since we've had an extensive discussion of China's solar market. Here, we catch up with some of the major the developments in this space over the past half year or so -- A new US-China dynamic highlighted by two-large scale projects, policy action by provincial-level governments, and lots of activity by Chinese solar poster child Suntech, and more!

Key Opportunities for U.S.-China Cooperation on Coal and CCS

A December 2009 report on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Coal in the United States and China, published by the Brookings Institution’s John L. Thorton China Center, authored by ChinaFAQs expert Kelly Sims Gallagher, Associate Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at The Fletcher School, Tufts University.

Overview:
One of the most striking commonalities between China and the United States is that both countries are blessed with large coal reserves,and naturally, both rely heavily on coal for their primary energy supply. U.S. coal reserves are estimated at 243 billion tons (29% of world total), and Chinese at 115 billion tons (14% of world total). China’s reserves-to-production ratio, however,is much shorter than that of the United States with only 41 years of currently-estimated economically recoverable coal compared with 224 years in the United States at current production rates (BP Statistical Review 2009). As the most abundant fossil energy resource in both countries, it is virtually certain that both will continue to rely heavily on coal due to its relatively low cost and the energy security benefits related to not having to import substantial foreign supplies of primary energy. The utilization of coal will be increasingly limited by the climate change problem, however, unless advanced coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies can be developed, demonstrated, and rendered cost-effective within the next 5-15 years.

Big New Deals in China for U.S. Renewable Energy Companies

Investing Big in Concentrating Solar

If you’d asked us a few weeks ago, we might have said that China was charging ahead in wind and in solar photovoltaics, but was not a big player in the emerging technology of concentrating solar power. That has now changed dramatically. Last week U.S. company eSolar announced a $5 billion, 2 GW deal with Chinese company China Shandong Penglai Electric Power Equipment Manufacturing Co. If eSolar and partners succeed this will be the largest set of concentrating solar plants anywhere in the world.

E&E News: COPENHAGEN: U.S., China may be near 'transparency' compromise

COPENHAGEN – There’s talk here today of a possible U.S.-China compromise over the transparency of developing countries’ emissions data.

Chinese and U.S. officials this afternoon homed in on what many are calling an obvious solution to a tortured problem: developing new guidelines through the reports that China and other countries already submit to the U.N. climate regime.

“I think the issue now is to work out the exact language,” said Ailun Yang, climate director for Greenpeace China. “I’m very confident that this can be resolved.”

The possible solution comes just hours after Sen.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Your ChinaFAQs team has been in the swirling currents of the Copenhagen climate change negotiations for over a week, attending press conferences and listening in the corridors, but now the negotiators are running out of time. Before dawn today, the BBC World News led with the story that the sticking point in the negotiations is whether China will allow intrusive review of its progress on slowing the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, the media can’t resist a food fight, and all week the press has been filled with reports of verbal missiles supposedly being hurled by American and Chinese negotiators. We’ve also seen exaggerated portrayals of the supposedly-huge chasm separating the U.S. and China on questions like whether the U.S. will provide funds to China for clean technology and the extent of monitoring and review of China’s action.

WRI: Comparison of Chinese and U.S. Energy Statistics

Today, each Chinese citizen produces only one fifth the GHG emissions of an average American consumer, and China still has many unmet energy needs. Most Chinese have a much lower standard of living than the average American. Half the Chinese population has no access to winter heating, and most have limited access to motorized transportation. Therefore, the challenge for China in the short term is to reduce the rate of growth of its GHG emissions as it strives to meet the growing energy demands of its people.

"Breaking the Climate Impasse with China", a New Publication by ChinaFAQs Expert Kelly Sims Gallagher

ChinaFAQs Expert Kelly Sims Gallagher has just published a new discussion paper entitled “Breaking the Climate Impasse with China: A Global Solution” in the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements Discussion Paper Series.

Overview:
International climate negotiations are at an impasse because the world’s two largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, the United States and China, are unwilling to accept binding emission-reduction commitments. At the same time, each blames the other for its inaction. This paper proposes a global “deal” for breaking the deadlock in a way that reconciles both countries’ economic concerns with the imperative of reducing emissions. The deal has two core elements: (1) All major emitting countries agree to reduce GHG emissions by implementing significant, mutually agreeable, domestic policies and (2) The largest industrialized-country emitters agree to establish a global Carbon Mitigation Fund that would finance the incremental cost of adopting low-carbon technologies in developing countries.

Download the full paper at: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/19698/breaking_the_climate_impasse_with_china.html.

Isabel Hilton

Isabel Hilton is the editor of Chinadialogue, an independent, non-commercial, bilingual website devoted to the publication of high quality information and debate on the environment. She has an MA (hons) in Chinese from Edinburgh University and, after two years postgraduate work in Edinburgh, studied in China for two years, first at the Beijing Foreign Language and Culture University and then at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Contact Info: 

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(+44) (0)20 7324 4767

Provocative Article on Chinadialogue on the Importance of U.S.-China Climate Collaboration

From Chinadialogue:

“US president Barack Obama’s first state visit to China and his joint announcement with Chinese president Hu Jintao have renewed hopes for international climate talks, as both countries reaffirmed their commitment to a successful outcome in Copenhagen. This is a welcome development as the talks had fallen into political pessimism following the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, when APEC leaders said they would not seek a binding deal at negotiations this December in Copenhagen, but would work towards a political framework that could eventually lead to a deal.

The world needs a legally binding global deal in Copenhagen if it wants to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. What we need now is political will and a demonstration of leadership, particularly from the United States and China. The key to reaching this lies in fostering cooperation in areas like clean energy and low-carbon technology between the two countries, with an ultimate goal of setting long-term emissions reduction targets that are more concrete.”

Read the full article at: http://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/3323-Can-the-US-match-China-s-efforts-

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and China Sign Memorandum of Cooperation on Greenhouse Gas Inventories

There is finally a story on page A12 of the Washington Post on what is probably one of the most important agreements signed during the President’s recent visit to China — an agreement for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and specifically NDRC’s Energy Research Institute (ERI) on greenhouse gas inventories.