Transition to green economy essential, says China, US

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beijing - China and the United States (US) have signed a joint statement agreeing that the transition to a green and low-carbon economy is essential.

This comes after talks between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his US counterpart Barack Obama on Monday.

Both China and the United States believe the clean energy industry will provide vast opportunities for citizens of both countries in the years ahead, said the statement signed during Obama's first visit to China since taking office in January.

According to the statement, the two sides welcomed significant steps forward to advance policy dialogue and practical cooperation on climate change, energy and the environment, building on the China-US Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy and Environment announced at the first round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues in July and formally signed during Obama's visit.

The statement said both sides recognised the importance of the Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation (TYF) and were committed to strengthening cooperation in promoting clean air, water, transportation, electricity and resources conservation.

Through a new China-US Energy Efficiency Action Plan under the TYF, both countries "will work together to achieve cost-effective energy efficiency improvement in industry, buildings and consumer products through technical cooperation, demonstration and policy exchanges," said the statement.

Noting both countries' significant investment in energy efficiency, the two Presidents underscored the enormous opportunities to create jobs and enhance economic growth brought by energy savings.

The two countries welcomed the signing of the Protocol between the Ministry of Science and Technology, National Energy Administration of the People's Republic of China and the Department of Energy of the United States of America on a Clean Energy Research Centre, according to the document.

The centre will facilitate joint research and development on clean energy by scientists and engineers from both countries. It will have one headquarters in each country, with public and private funding of at least US$150 million over five years split evenly between the two countries.

Priority topics to be addressed will include energy efficiency in buildings, clean coal (including carbon capture and sequestration), and clean vehicles.

The two sides welcomed the launch of China-US Electric Vehicles Initiative designed to put millions of electric vehicles on the roads of both countries in the years ahead.

Building on significant investments in electric vehicles in both the US and China, the two governments announced a program of joint demonstration projects in more than a dozen cities, along with work to develop common technical standards to facilitate rapid scale-up of the industry, the statement said, adding that the two sides agreed that their countries share a strong common interest in the rapid deployment of clean vehicles.

Regarding 21st century coal technologies, the two countries agreed to promote cooperation on large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) demonstrations projects and begin work immediately on the development, deployment, diffusion and transfer of CCS technology.

The two sides further welcomed recent agreements between Chinese and US companies, universities and research institutions to cooperate on CCS and more efficient coal technologies.

With regard to joint efforts on tackling the climate change, the two sides welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the National Development and Reform Commission of China and Environmental Protection Agency of the United States to Build Capacity to Address Climate Change.

The statement said the two sides welcomed the launch of a China-US Renewable Energy Partnership, through which the two countries will chart a pathway to wide-scale deployment of wind, solar, advanced bio-fuels and a modern electric power grid in both countries and cooperate in designing and implementing the policy and technical tools necessary to make that vision possible.