US president Barack Obama and China's president Hu Jintao yesterday announced several agreements for cooperation on clean energy. The deals could clear the way to a larger agreement on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the two countries, which have been seen to be dragging their feet on climate change measures in general and commitments to cut greenhouse emissions.
Analysts say it is crucial to get China on board if goals for averting dangerous climate change are to be met and the way forward would be to share with it the latest technology and especially the technology for making cleaner power plants. The agreements seem to be the first step in that direction.
A particularly promising deal is the one that calls for cooperation from both countries on developing cleaner coal plants through a new US-China Clean Energy Research Center, which will receive joint funding of $150 million.
Already, a number of US and Chinese corporations have agreed to cooperate including Peabody Energy, which will support a project called GreenGen and GE Energy, which will help with coal gasification. Both projects could deliver cleaner coal plants that could be help capture and sequester carbon dioxide.
Other important agreements include one to develop natural gas resources to cut greenhouse gas emissions as burning natural gas releases about half the carbon dioxide as burning coal, while another aims to improve the efficiency of buildings, industry and consumer appliances. To cut the growing emissions from vehicles both countries will undertake joint efforts to establish standards and roadmaps for the development of electric vehicles.
The agreements also include a new US-China Energy Efficiency Action Plan which will see the two countries make joint efforts to increase the energy efficiency of buildings, industrial facilities and appliances.