With healthcare, the economy, Tiger Woods, and Conan O’Brien at the center of most media attention in the end of 2009 and beginning of 2010, coverage of the latest international efforts to reverse the effects of climate change has been drowned out.
While the result of the Copenhagen summit may have been disappointing, there is promising progress with an agreement with China. Considering China and US are two of the largest eco footprints an agreement could have huge effects.
In November 2009, President Obama traveled to China and met with President Hu Jintao. The two leaders announced an ambitious and sweeping plan to increase cooperation between the United States and China in developing and incorporating clean energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the Chinese agreement has seven primary components:
- Both nations will invest a combined total of $150 million in the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, a facility that will coordinate and integrate the research of scientists from both China and the United States in their efforts to engineer new and more efficient clean energy technologies.
- The U.S.-China Electric Vehicles Initiative will lead to the development of joint standards for electric autos in both countries as part of a commitment to accelerate the release of commercial electric vehicles.
- Under the new U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Action Plan, the two countries “will work together to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, industrial facilities, and consumer appliances.”
- The U.S.-China Renewable Energy Partnership will lead to the coordinated planning of extensive renewable energy plans in both countries.
- The United States and China will work together to promote the development of new and more efficient uses for clean coal.
- The two presidents announced a joint initiative to explore the potential use of China’s shale gas resources, a hydrocarbon-rich formation that can be made into natural gas.
- The U.S.-China Energy Cooperation Program “will leverage private sector resources for project development work in China across a broad array of clean energy projects, to the benefit of both nations.”
Overall, the agreement is an encouraging step in the right direction toward meaningful international collaboration to find sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. It is aggressive, comprehensive, and demonstrates a shared will to reduce carbon pollution and create new green energy jobs.
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