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China and US Urged to Set Global Example

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Close cooperation in the clean energy sector between China and the United States will not only benefit both countries, but also help the two set an example to others across the world.


 Hillary Rodham Clinton visits the Taiyanggong Thermal Power Plant in Beijing in February 2009.

Hillary Rodham Clinton visits the Taiyanggong Thermal Power Plant in Beijing in February 2009. The plant is an efficient, low-emission power and heat generation project that uses US high-technology equipment. Clinton and Chinese officials agreed to focus their governments' efforts on stabilizing the battered global economy and jointly combating climate change. [China Daily]


The two countries are the major global energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases. Their close cooperation and joint efforts in developing and utilizing clean energy are of great importance, according to Han Wenke, co-chair of China-US Clean Energy Forum. Han is also director-general of the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission.

Assessing the scale of the problem, Han said China and the United States jointly consume more than 40 percent of the world's total energy, whilst their combined greenhouse emissions also account for more than 40 percent of the world's total.

He said: "In this regards, the stance the two countries adopt on clean energy development is highly significant."

He confessed himself "delighted" that the two countries had signed a joint statement during US President Obama's visit to China in mid-November. This memorandum saw the two agreeing that "the transition to a green and low-carbon economy is essential".

Han said: "Clean energy will play an active and essential role in the development of a green and low-carbon economy".

Han believes that both China and the United States should take a lead in shifting their energy production from a heavy reliance on fossil fuels to developing clean energy, especially renewable energy, such as wind power and solar energy. Their action, he said, will help promote the energy structure transition of the whole world and help combat climate change.

The two countries have enormous potential for such cooperation, as they both have large territories and rich renewable resources. They are also supplementary to one another, he said.

The United States has advanced clean energy technologies and strong R&D capabilities, whilst China has a potentially huge market and abundant business opportunities. The third generation nuclear power technology, developed by the American energy company, Westinghouse, was first deployed in China. The world's latest solar energy technology will also first see its first large-scale use in China.

Due to its continuous rapid economic growth and the strong support of the Chinese government, many American companies are now finding business opportunities in China.

However, Han believes, cooperation on clean energy between the two countries is still at an early stage and the road to cooperation may still prove bumpy.

At present, the United States has restrictions on exporting advanced technologies to China and has not opened its market to highly energy-efficient products from China.

China has now developed highly energy-efficient price competitive household-use air-conditioning products. The government has taken a number of measures to promote the use of such products in the domestic market. These products are now playing an active role in energy saving in the Chinese market.

In the United States, not all household air-conditioners are energy efficient, with many ageing air-conditioners actually consuming excess energy. If the United States opened this sector to Chinese products, Han believes it would help the two countries to further expand trade and the utilization of clean energy products and technologies. It would also help create more service jobs in the United States.

The China-US Clean Energy Forum is a non-governmental clean energy cooperation and exchange platform between the two countries. Since its establishment in 2008, the forum has successfully organized three main events, helping deepen the understanding and promoting cooperation in the clean energy sector between the two countries.

(China Daily December 6, 2009)