United States-China Cooperation

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.

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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.

EPA Signs Memorandum of Cooperation with China to Build Capacity to Address Climate Change

Library File: 

Release date: 11/19/2009

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) have formalized a Memorandum of Cooperation to enhance capacity to address climate change. Signing the Memorandum were EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and NDRC Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua.

President Obama's China Trip: Final Thoughts

President Obama departed China today after quite a productive two days. The major accomplishments on the climate front were the series of agreements signed yesterday. While expectations for Copenhagen have been somewhat lowered – towards a “political” deal rather than completing all the work needed for the full-scale treaty – both Obama and Hu indicated they were working to get to a good deal.

DOE Fact Sheet: U.S.-China Shale Gas Resources Inititiative

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2009

Today, President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao announced the launch of a new U.S.-China Shale Gas Resource Initiative. This Initiative will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy security and create commercial opportunities for U.S. companies through:

  • Shale gas resource assessment: The Initiative will use experience gained in the United States to assess China’s shale gas potential and promote environmentally sustainable development of shale gas resources.
  • Technical cooperation: Through the Initiative, the United States and China will conduct joint technical studies to support accelerated development of shale gas resources in China.
  • Investment promotion: The Initiative will promote shale gas investment in China through the U.S.-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, study tours and workshops focused on shale gas development.

DOE Fact Sheet: U.S.-China Cooperation on 21st Century Coal

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2009

Today, President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao pledged to promote cooperation on cleaner uses of coal, including large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects. Through the new U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, the two countries are launching a program to bring teams of U.S. and Chinese scientists and engineers together in developing clean coal and CCS technologies. The two countries are also actively engaging industry, academia and civil society in advancing clean coal and CCS solutions.